Imagine a man walking up to a rubbish bin, taking his wallet out of his pocket, extracting a twenty-pound note, and putting it in the bin.
Now imagine that he does this at least once every day, sometimes several times.
I think you can agree with me that – unless he is engaged in some kind of performance art taking a dig at our capitalist culture – the man is wasting his money.
He is quite literally throwing his money away. How does that make you feel?
Are you angry with the man for being so wasteful?
It’s easy to see when somebody is wasting their money, but it’s not so easy to see that this is exactly what you are doing with a much more precious resource whenever you spend a single second of it not doing what is important to you.
If the thought of somebody throwing money away stirs up strong emotions in you, perhaps even making you angry at their audacity, then you need to have a really long think about why the wasting of time is not stirring up the same emotions in you?
After all, time is a far more precious resource than money – it is finite. If you waste money, you can earn it back. But time, once it’s gone, is gone for good.
If everything is equally important, nothing is important
When you live as though you have all the time in the world, you lose a sense of proportion – everything ends up just as important as everything else. And importance is relative – if everything is important, nothing is important.
You spend your life is a grey area where – though you may have some things you really value – you have a huge amount of things mislabeled in your head as important which really do not deserve a second of your attention.
You don’t have all the time in the world. You have a fixed amount of life left. If you learn to live it well, even one more year can be the best year you ever had.
Pick what matters to you, and guard yourself against everything else as though it were cancer. If we were all as frightened about wasting time as we were about wasting money, we’d get a lot more important shit done.