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Time, the Great Equalizer

Time: a period during which an action, process or condition exists or continues or a system of reckoning

What would you pay for extra time?

I bet you would pay everything you have. Why? Because time is the one thing in life that no one can change, alter, or influence. At least not at the moment. (Star Trek or Back to the Future fans might be hopeful there will be other options down the road. But for now…)

You can’t defer time, save it, grow it, invest it—or ever get it back. It waits for no one. It is what it is.

However, many groups offer seminars or workshops on the topic of time management. How misleading and ridiculous is that? The fact is that nobody can manage time; people can only manage themselves and the activities that occur in relationship to time.

If you think about it, time is the great equalizer. It has no bias, prejudice or favorites. Everyone is equal.

Almost everything in culture is based on time—schedules, retirement, insurance, hourly wages, education, aging and on it goes.

Can you imagine a life without time? You might be wondering, “Ken, what’s your point?”

Well, over the past 35 years, I have written about subjects like procrastination, leadership, urgency addiction, living in the moment, courage, health, balance and living on purpose—100+ different topics. Have you acted on any of the insights that you have gained? Or just believed there will be time “later” to address the issues?

  • Are you happy with the way you have used your time so far?
  • Have you treated your time with respect, or with disregard?
  • If you needed to change something about the way you manage yourself in relationship to time, what would that be?
  • If someone who knows you and were to reflect on how you use your time, what would they say?

If time cannot be managed, then all you can do is manage your actions within its context.

The great French [Marshal Hubert] Lyautey once asked his gardener to plant a tree. The gardener objected that the tree was slow growing and would not reach maturity for 100 years. The [Marshal] replied, “In that case, there is no time to lose; plant it this afternoon!”

John F. Kennedy U.S. Politician 1917–1963

Time should be the main reason you start something now!

A seminar participant once made this statement to the facilitator: “Do you know it will take me four years to get my degree, and then I’ll be 60 years old?” The facilitator thought for a moment and responded, “How old will you be in four years if you don’t get your degree?” The participant was using time as an excuse for not doing the work.

This article is not about urgency addiction or being obsessive about every moment in your life; rather, it is about being intentional with your time and acknowledging that time waits for no one.

There are two sides of time that you can do nothing about—the past and the future. The only space you actually occupy is this moment —right now—while you are reading this sentence. “If-only” thinking and regret about the past simply squanders more time.

I want everyone reading this article to declare that the moment is now, that all people are equals in the time game, that no one has an advantage over anyone else. Let’s consider some time-related statements you often hear:

  • I saved time by…
  • I wasted time by…
  • I invested my time in…
  • I accumulated time by…
  • That was time well spent.
  • Boy, did time fly by.
  • That was time-consuming.
  • There’s lots of time; I’ll do that later.
  • There is never enough time.
  • If I only had 48 hours in a day.

As I have mentioned on many occasions, my purpose is to help others find their purpose. There is nothing more appalling than someone living without purpose, just wasting their precious time. Everyone has gifts and talents. Everyone has a purpose. They just need to uncover it and use it.

Time is never the measurement of an individual’s success. What they did with their time is what counted!

My challenge for you is this: No matter what you need to work on or change to fully engage in life, just do it—and do it now.

Remember, time waits for no one.

To assist you on your journey, I am recommending three specific resources:

  1. My latest book and full ecourse, The Quest For Purpose, helps guide you in all the areas in your life that reflect your passions, purpose and fulfillment. Yes, it will take a bit of time to complete, but so what? Where will you be in two months (or two years) if you don’t do it?
  2. Make sure your life reflects your core values. Complete CRG’s Values Preference Indicator. or the ecourse that goes with it.
  3. Take the Personal Style Indicator or take the ecourse that support you living a life in your strengths. (PSI). The PSI deals with your orientation towards time and the self-management skills required to realize your full potential.

Time is the most valuable thing you can spend. Spend it wisely.

Action Steps

Time, the Great Equalizer

  1. There is no such thing as time management. You can manage only yourself and your activities in relationship to time.
  2. Time has no prejudice; it is an equal opportunity player.
  3. How do you treat your time—with respect or contempt? What is the result of your attitudes?
  4. Where do you live—in the past, future or present? Regret and worrying about the future wastes time and the future is still not here. Just stay in the present. (Though it’s important to have goals and a vision.)
  5. Have you delayed important decisions or projects because you felt they would take too long? Think about that statement for a moment. Won’t those projects still take that long after you get started? Just do it now!
  6. How has your perception of time affected your choices and activities? Can you improve the way you think about your relationship with time? How?
  7. The busiest and most successful individuals—people who use their time wisely—are living on purpose, living their values and taking accountability for their lives. Use the following three CRG ecourses to help get you there or to affirm your current direction: The Quest For Purpose, Values Preference Indicator and Personal Style Indicator. There’s no time like the present to get started.
  8. Do you allow time-wasting habits to steal your time? Do other people in your life lack respect for your time? Both those areas are your responsibility.
  9. Everyone (myself included) needs to give up this obsession with time—the lack of it, the saving of it, the hoarding of it, etc. In the end, you simply need to manage yourself and fully engage life in the moments you inhabit.
  10. Right now is the best time of your life. After all, the only place in time that you actually occupy is now.

Until next time, keep Living On Purpose!


Ken Keis