Everybody has them. Everybody uses them differently. We make thousands of choices every day about how we’re going to spend them. But are you aware which are your most precious resources?
Most people will probably tell time, and they would be correct. But let’s look at which others are also important in order to live a full and meaningful life.
In short, the quality of our lives depends on how we allocate these few resources:
Unlike skills such as self-discipline, confidence, or the ability to work under pressure, resources are depleted when used. That’s why we need to use them wisely and carefully.
Time is our most precious resource.
Once lost, it can never be recovered. In 2020, the average human life expectancy in First World countries is around 2.5 billion seconds or 78.93 years. In Third World countries, the situation is even worse. Imagine time as a large hourglass where each second is represented by one grain of sand. That would mean the average human has around 2.5 billion grains of sand in the hourglass of his life. And it’s dripping one second at a time.
All of us, regardless if we’re rich or poor, young or old, bankers or farmers, have the same 24 hours at our disposal each day. We could say that time is the only resource that is given to every human being equally. Whether you’re president of a country, CEO of a company, or representative of the church, you won’t get an extra hour for your contribution to the world.
It’s how we use the time that matters. H.J.Brown Jr. said: “Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.” Success in life is hidden in the correct use of it. Those who spend it on important and meaningful work are more successful than those who don’t use it effectively.
People often ask me: “Why do you spend so much time writing? Don’t you have anything more important to do?” I am aware, that ‘sitting like a lunatic at 6 am day by day, typing and telling people who I love the most to shut up because I can’t focus’ is not everyone’s ‘cup of tea’, but for me, this is the best way to add value to someone else’s life and offer valuable tips on changing it and optimizing. “So no, I don’t think I’m wasting time”, is my usual response to them.
I know that time is the most precious resource, and I say it often on this small part of the internet, but I believe that chasing our dreams is the wisest use of our time. Remember: Time won’t stand still for anyone. All we can do is to go along with it. So, go and spend your time wisely.
French novelist Marc Levy carved some beautiful words about the importance of time that I want to share with you.
Energy is our most precious resource.
Energy is defined as the amount of effort we can put into a task. It’s a combination of creative and cognitive abilities, enthusiasm, stamina, and motivation. If we work on a task with high energy, we might finish it in 30 minutes, but if our energy levels are very low, something mundane and trivial could take hours. Therefore, energy, even more than time, needs careful management if we want to be productive.
We all have one big battery in our brain and every morning we start with 100%. But as the day goes by, as decisions need to be made, our battery slowly drains. That’s why most people feel energetic in the morning and sleepy and lethargic by the end of the day. The amount of energy we have depends on our age, what we eat, how long we sleep, how many decisions we need to make throughout the day, and what we do. That’s why we need to be conscious of our daily tasks and priorities.
We can put our energy into things that move us forward, like doing something valuable we’re proud of, or we can put it in things that move us backward, like plotting revenge against the people who hurt us.
We can put it in things that will enable us to live the best possible life, or we can put it in all injustices, broken hearts, and negative emotions towards people who have done us some harm.
We can invest it in nurturing good relationships with our loved ones, or we can neglect those relationships and let them slowly die.
We can incorporate it into our health by taking care of what we eat, how long we sleep, and how much we exercise. Or we can invest it in watching TV, playing games, drinking alcohol, and eating junk food.
Over time, actions of our energy direction will compound and the results will be obvious.
Put your energy towards accomplishing the wildest dreams you have and make them come true. You’re the only one responsible for it. Use it wisely and make your life meaningful.
Attention is our most precious resource.
Attention is defined as what we choose to focus on and what we decide to ignore. No one, not Elon Musk, not Jeff Bezos, not Bill Gates, nor any other titan of the industry could ever accomplish something significant if their attention were diverted to 100 things. The human brain has a limited capacity to focus, so we need to divert our attention to the things that matter most in our lives.
Every day we wake up with a limited amount of attention. We can spend it on sources of distraction such as social media, emails, text messages, TV, video games, and so on, or we can use it to transform our lives. If you think there is something more important right now than reading this blog, close the tab and go do it. I won’t be offended. It will be a compliment because my words inspired you to take action to change your life.
The ability to manage our attention will transform the quality of our lives more than anything else. If we want to improve it, we need to reduce competition for it. If it’s not relevant for the task at hand, remove it. Unsubscribe, mute, and walk away from anything that doesn’t add value to your life. Instead, pay attention to the things and people you care about. Be ruthless with everything else.
Let me prove to you that your attention is a precious commodity. Billions of $ are spent on advertising each year, and companies pay millions for top behavior experts. The main purpose these people have is to divide your attention and then grab it with some stupid knick-knack you will never need. This is the shortest route to your checking account. For that reason, attention management ability needs to be the key skill we need to learn and teach our kids in the 21st century. In the end, our life is a product of how we pay our attention.
Health is our most precious resource.
Health – one thing that connects it all – your time, your energy, and your attention. Our health is our life. Literally, every other part relies on having it.
It is directly related to time. It’s said: If you don’t make time for your health, you will be forced to make time for your illness. We can say that our health is important to us, but if we’re too busy to spend some time on exercise and nutrition, one can just question how truthful we are to ourselves.
Physical and emotional health plays a huge role in our energy levels. Consistent exercise, proper diet, and enough sleep can have a big impact on energy levels throughout the day. Paying attention to good health must be a top priority in our lives. However, when we have it, little attention is dedicated to preserving it, and when we lose it, all our attention is directed towards it.
Remember, if you lose your health, then your energy and attention disappear with it, and you will spend all your available time on getting it back. Invest your energy and attention in a healthy lifestyle, and over a long enough timeline, it will compound, giving you a chance to be the best possible version of yourself. P.S.: A healthy man has a thousand wishes, but a sick one, only one.
I challenge you to think about how you could improve the use of the resources above. They are finite, after all. Measuring and planning how we’ll use them is one way to ensure wise and correct utilization of it. That way we can keep track and improve what doesn’t work. The old adage that says whatever is measured can be improved holds true in this case. Manage these precious resources well and get the most out of your life.
For the end, I will butcher a quote from John Wimber, and adjust it for the purpose of this article. “Show me where you spend your time,
money, energy, and attention and I’ll tell you what you worship.”
P.S.: You can see the money appears in the quote, but I decided to cross it off.
I’m not saying money is not important, it undoubtedly is, because it can improve our lives in myriad ways, but compared to our time, energy, attention, and health, it definitely pales in comparison.
Think about how you spend your most precious resources and let me know down in the comments.
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