The word ‘Why’ usually ends with a question mark.
In Mandarin, the translation for ‘Why’ is actually made up of 3 characters, Wèi shé me. It literally means ‘for what’. In other words, ‘what are you doing this for?’. It brings a sharper focus doesn’t it? The perspective to the question asked becomes starker.
What if we tried something different? What if we started using the word only with a full stop at the end. Just as Simon Sinek says, always start with why. In other words, have the answers to all your whys before you set sail. Whatever you do, the attitudes you take, the relationships you build, try and start with that powerful word. What are we doing this for? What are we sacrificing to attain this?
Not knowing our whys mean we have to navigate through our path of life without a compass, unsure and afraid. Knowing them brings direction, motivation and inspiration.
Time has to be one of the most paradoxical things that we all have an intimate relationship with. On one hand, it has tremendous value as nothing can be done or achieved without it. Yet, we struggle to truly understand and leverage its value as we do not consider it scarce. The two minutes we kill by watching a cat video is soon replaced by two more. How do we harness this resource?
We all know that we get more value from the hour before a deadline than the hour after it. But! Not so simple! Much like other commodities such as gold and oil, time is truly fungible. A minute spent waiting for your final grade at the university of Shanghai, China lasts exactly as long as 60 seconds spent gazing at the Teletower on Alexanderplatz in Berlin, Germany. So why the difference? And how do we ensure that we make the most out of our time?
The interesting thing is that we almost always initially and erroneously feel that we have infinite time (and therefore do not value it), until we are faced with the reality that we don’t.
Managing Our Relationship With Time
I am convinced that the formula to a life worth living is dependent on our relationship with time. If we distill our thoughts and actions down to their rawest of motivations, we see how each moment was viewed either as a precious resource, or a painful reminder of our potential that we need to escape from. How we consistently treat these little packages of time over our years lead to drastically different outcomes.
Oscar Wilde doesn’t think we can kill time without injuring eternity. I hope we heed his advice.