Life ebbs and flows. Things are always changing. In most cases, if you don’t do something today, the option will still be there tomorrow. When you make a mistake, you can usually go back and get a do over. So generally speaking, your decisions are not that critical. However, there are three things that you can’t get back: time, opportunity, and your words. When it comes to these, be wise.
We all have the same 24 hours in each day. If we give it to one person or project, it becomes unavailable to another. This makes time one of the most precious things that we have. So why do so many of us waste time on things that don’t matter? Why do we give it to things we don’t care about?
When you start thinking about time as an investment, it may help you to change the way you spend your time. Exercising, taking a hot bath, socializing, laughing and connecting become things that I do for myself because it feeds my soul. It makes me healthier. So I am more willing to engage in it and be present while I am doing those things. Little things like doing the dishes, getting ready for work, and reading a book become purposeful. My life feels like more of a reflection of my self.
If I think about time as an investment, it makes it a lot harder to sit in front of the computer looking at social media instead of working. Perhaps I will get up and do something that is a worthwhile use of my time instead. When time is an investment, it is harder for me to give my time to someone who wants to waste it with gossip, blaming or complaining. I am less likely to spend it in worry.
The other thing about time is that it doesn’t stand still. While I may be able to go to school or fishing today or tomorrow, I won’t be the same person at the same place today and tomorrow. My situation won’t be the same. Finishing high school as a teenager is not the same as getting a GED as an adult. Sometimes it is better to spend time learning or doing something now. Other times it is wiser to wait.
The word “investment” gives time value. Since you can’t get your time back, this seems like a useful change to adopt.
There are lots of sayings about opportunity. Most go something like this:
- “When opportunity knocks, open the door!”
- “Opportunity only knocks once.”
- “Opportunity is missed by most people because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like hard work.” ~Thomas Edison
- “Opportunties are like sunrises. If you wait to long, you miss them.” ~William Arthur Ward
- “Nothing is more expensive than a missed opportunity.” ~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
Mark Twain said, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did so. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” He seems to have understood the transience and value of opportunity.
Opportunities come in big and small sizes. Invest in building your life and work skills so that when opportunities arrive, you are at a time in your life where it’s easy to say yes.
And get clear on what you want. Not all good opportunities are good for you. Say yes to what you want and no to what you don’t want. If you are sitting on your hands waiting for something “better” to come along, that day may not come. And the opportunity you are holding off on may not be there when you decide you’re ready for it.
Have you ever been in a fight where someone you care for thoughtlessly hurls hurtful words towards you? You may kiss and make up after that. He may say he didn’t mean it, but do you ever forget his words? Do you ever forget the way that you felt? No. Words are powerful. Words are energy.
It’s not just the words you say that is important. It’s also the words you don’t say. Have you ever looked back on your life with the benefit of hindsight and said to yourself, “I wish I would have said…” Sometimes your words won’t change the outcome, but creating an understanding and sharing what you feel leaves you feeling more complete.
When you understand the power of words, your speech becomes more conscious. You take the chance to be understood. You choose words that send energy into the world that is affirming and positive. Your words become the mirror to your soul that they were always intended to be.
Here is a cheat to help you with this if you’re still mastering this. When something or someone provokes you, pause. Think about your position overnight. You may decide that no comment is necessary. If you still have to speak about it, think about how your words will land first, then speak from your heart and let go of trying to control the outcome.
Life is so forgiving and flexible. It gives us many do overs. However, there are exceptions. When you are mindful about the three things that you can’t get back, you will get through life with fewer regrets and greater happiness.