Time is the most valuable resource known to man. It is finite, non-renewable, and we don’t know how much we’ve got. How we spend it defines our life more than any other measuring stick, luck included, as even the lotto winner must take the time to purchase a ticket.
There is plenty of evidence to suggest that those who have achieved success in any particular field have dedicated a significant amount of time to it. Malcolm Gladwell illustrated this point in his book Outliers and suggests that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to gain mastery. 10,000 hours = 1,250 days if you were to practice 8 hours per day, which is just over 4 years practicing 300 days per year. You’d have to really want it. More likely it will take two to three times that long. My sifu (martial arts instructor) practiced like this and calls his school 10,000 Victories!
What have you spent 10,000 hours doing? I bet you’re pretty good at it. With the myriad of distractions and raging priorities in today’s modern world, I would agree it’s hard to make the time. Never mind mastery, how about time to exercise, cook, go out with friends, read a book with your kids, or call your mom and take the time to really listen to her worries/ doubts/ fears so that you may better understand her and move past your childish-reactive ways…. sorry, I digress. Back to my point.
If we look around we’ll see lots of misused and wasted time. Stephen Covey’s “7-Habits” talks about ‘putting first things first’. He suggests that we tend to spend most of our time dealing with urgent matters (putting out fires) at the expense of non-urgent but very important things (managing the forest) like relationship building, healthy activities, and the pursuit of happiness. These urgent matters are big stresses that negatively affect our health, happiness and productivity. Obviously putting out a fire is important, but the time and energy spent dealing with it does not always help prevent the next one. Interestingly, a little bit of attention on a regular basis can prevent many of the fires in our lives (and forests) if only we’ll spend the time.
Now stop wasting your time reading my blog and go out and do something that’s not urgent and very important!