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Reflections On Time by Dave LaRue

October 20, 2020

Reflections On Time by Dave LaRue

Reflections on Time 

One of the habits I want to encourage is writing for reflection. Reflection is an important step in making sense of your experiences, and writing brings your hands and eyes into the process. If you absolutely don't feel like writing, recording reflections as voice memos on your phone works, too. But what I want to share with you is that taking some time to process your thoughts is a worthwhile activity that helps you turn your feelings into thoughts and your thoughts into actions. Today I found myself thinking about time. So I am doing a reflection on time. While letting thoughts flow formlessly in an open reverie is nice looking out at water, or into a nice fire, sometimes when you find your thoughts pulling you in, taking a step to turn them into words helps you uncover feelings and thoughts. Sometimes it just moves something around inside you. Whatever the case, here's my reflection. I begin as I recommend you do: to call out that you're not sure why you're writing. For whatever reason, it always helps clear the pipes and get things flowing. Before too long, this reflection became a message I wanted to share. That may happen to you. It doesn’t always happen for me, but it did this time. 

There has been so much written about time already. I doubt it's an exaggeration that if I started reading today, I would run out of time in my life before I read even a small amount of what has been written about it. So why do I feel compelled to write about it? It could be my age, my role as a coach—always helping others look at how they use their time and maximizing their use of time in achieving their goals... That makes me so aware of how fast time expires when you’re doing what you love with the people you love.

I guess time is just a concept. But what an important concept! And concept or not, there is a real and actual limit to the time I have to do things. Each opportunity has a window of time. Relationships have windows of time: I need to share time with people while I can. I need to act while it still means something. It matters that I say and show how I feel now. I love to see the people I love walking around knowing how I feel. I think it gives me an idea of how those feelings might persist long into the future. It helps me remember how people feel about me and much that means to me—and all the feelings that I have that persist despite having lost touch with people or lost them altogether. 

Time is so critical to think about when you're getting your motivation together. It relates to what you’re getting out of life, the stories you create. I believe the most important meditation I have is:

“This is the beginning of a new day. God has given me this day to do as I wish. This day is important to me because I am exchanging a day of my life for it. So when tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever, leaving in its place something that I have traded for it. I want that something to be [here I bring my values into the meditation, focusing on what feels most important at the moment] …In order that I shall not regret the price I paid for it—that being a day of my life.”

With a daily frame like this, which has had a profound and ever-deepening effect from decades of daily repetition, my thoughts of time—the value of it, the stakes involved—are never remote from the knowledge that time is the space I have to do things. To exist, to have experiences, to feel the feelings of being alive, to do whatever I plan to ever do. 

I think of time and I wonder sometimes: Could you be doing more? Should you be doing more? Why aren’t you? This is when I ask myself like I ask everyone else: What are your favorite excuses? All those excuses dry up and blow away when you think about time. When you’re younger, there is this feeling that you have plenty of time to get busy. So you think, I can wait another day, week, month—maybe I’ll do that next year! 

Time is tied to motivation. Sometimes we use time as an excuse—I don’t have the time. I didn’t have the time. I am too busy. (Is this the worst one? Busyness isn’t even specific!) The problem with this excuse is that it blames time and not your level of interest or commitment. The more we focus on the external factors and don’t see our interest and commitment as the energy we need to use to organize how we use our time, the more lost we become.  

Nevertheless, many of our frustrations are created by how we choose to use our time. It could be with your vocation, do you love what you’re doing? Do you want to spend more time working, less time working, or just doing something different? Have you created the necessary success habits to achieve your desired results? Have you invested your time creating a clear and concrete vision of what you want your life’s purpose to be? You have to embrace the idea that you won’t arrive at the destination you desire unless you apply your energy—and time—to create the vision of what that destination is and a plan to get there! And how can you arrive at your desired life if you don’t spend your time developing the habits, creating the relationships, creating your vocation, striving to work in your genius? 

We only have 24 hours a day, on average we spend about 8 hours a day sleeping that leaves us with 16 hours a day to work, play, exercise, live, and just hang out. What I’ve discovered for myself is the more present I am, the more value I receive from each minute! As crazy as it sounds it almost feels like time expands! That may sound a little too deep, but there is much written about this and its opposite, how our sense of the passage of time constricts when we’re stressed or in a certain mood. I remember playing hockey and being ahead by 1 goal. The last minute of play felt like it took forever to finish! And I also remember the inverse, down by 1 with 5 minutes to play. It felt like it passed in 10 seconds! 

Have you created your financial goals, are you ahead of your scheduled goals, are you behind with them?  How do these results make you feel? Have you been a good steward of your money, or do you need more time? If you really would love to create financial independence, how do you need to start using your time with more of a sense of urgency? To work this process we need to understand how we are approaching our time, how we’re using it, and also taking inventory of what we’re not doing! 

And of course, we sometimes need to focus our time. As crucial as it is to be able to fit things in and allot blocks of time within our days, weeks, and months, there are qualities and experiences that we cannot have as a 2-hr appointment in the middle of the day. We need to give our full focus to our loved ones sometimes. We need holidays together, “love days” with our partners, solitary time where we can exist as only ourselves. In my experience, I tend to get out of life what I put into it. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to approach each day with purpose and desire! I think again of my most important daily meditation, the one I begin each day with:

“This is the beginning of a new day. God has given me this day to do as I wish. This day is important to me because I am exchanging a day of my life for it. So when tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever, leaving in its place something that I have traded for it. I want that something to be [the values I am most resonating or in need of invoking] …in order that I shall not regret the price I paid for it—that being a day of my life” 

Now, it is said a lot that there are no do-overs. But there are (probably) another 24 hours coming, maybe that you’re starting right now as you read this. Each day is a chance to have a restart, to be fully open to acting from understanding the pricelessness of time. That’s why I love embracing getting older for me: It's so much more fun because it’s so much more special. I still love what I do and I love doing what I love, and I have a keener and deeper awareness of how precious life is and how we can get in our own way if we prioritize in a short-sighted or arbitrary way. 

Some of my highest values are; happy, healthy, wealthy, great family and friends, great experiences, always learning and growing, and creating amazing opportunities. But maybe the thing I value is the most fundamental value, the awareness that makes all the other awareness possible, is the value of time. 

As I close the reflection on time, I want to share some reflection questions that I have been working with about time. I would love to hear your answers and the thoughts that come from reflecting on them. 

Dave

 

Reflection

What is your concept of time based on? When you think of time as a resource or a gift, how do you make it concrete enough to work with? Is it space? Energy? A calendar or schedule? There are no wrong answers. Just reflect on how you model or conceive of time. 

What are you good at when it comes to managing your time? How does your model or concept of time drive these strengths?

What challenges do you have? How does your model or concept of time limit your ability to overcome these challenges? To put it another way, what would time have to be more or less like for you to overcome your current challenges? 

How can you adapt your understanding of time to accommodate the need you have uncovered in the previous reflection?

How comfortable are you getting philosophical about time? Do you tend to think of time as clocks and calendars to the exclusion of another model? 

In this article, there is a discussion of Cartesian space, like in geometry class, versus spacetime, an idea the public learned about through Einstein. When you think about these two concepts, what new possibilities emerge?