What Currency Drives Your Life?
When asked that question, your brain is likely to go to the traditional thought of money. We find ourselves possibly thinking about how much we have versus how much we owe. Wealth has been a focus of our culture for many decades. We have been brought up to believe it will bring us comfort and security, which it does play a part in but also can have us potentially miss where true wealth is found in life.
Attaining wealth in our life serves some of our most primal needs, the need to provide, the need for security, the need for collecting material possessions, and of course, there is the thrill of the adventure in acquiring it. Thus, wealth is a crucial driver in any person’s decision-making process. Yet, perhaps this focus may have had us neglect where the true richness in one’s life resides. For that, you need to look at a far less measurable currency that we all possess but often fail to recognize its value. What I am getting at here is the currency of time.
Money, once you spend it isn’t necessarily gone. You can generally make more of it. But once the sun sets on another day, it’s not coming back. Of course, we will hopefully have fond memories of those days long gone to look back on, but there is no way to reverse time.
So, what if you changed your perspective on the currency that drives your life? What if you placed a higher value on minutes vs. dollars? What could be the ripple effect if you chose this path? Cherishing your minutes and seconds will offer you a whole new perspective on the way you see the world, the way you live your life, and ultimately how you make decisions.
Embracing the currency of time is a concept that can be much more difficult to hold than it sounds. It involves a shift in thinking that resides in loving and enjoying the journey more than the destination. A destination is a place we aim to get to, usually in a specific period of time, which keeps us focused on the future rather than the present moment. In a world so eager to set goals and achieve desired results, we can see why welcoming the currency of time into our lives may be a challenge. Perhaps the overused cliché “it’s about the journey, not the destination” is more profound than we give it credit for. Maybe there’s a deeper reason it’s stamped on every inspirational notebook out there.
A focus on time can also have us thinking in ways that is not empowering. If our belief is that time is fleeting and that there’s no point to living fully, I think we can all see where that perspective may take us. Placing value on the currency of time in your life means taking time to stop and smell the roses along the way. To be appreciative of the time you have, and to see time as the most valuable non-renewable resource in your life.
Here are some thoughts on how you can utilize the minutes you have in your life, opening a new lens so that it can help guide you on your path to living a wealthy life.
1. Practice Mindfulness
Ahh, the elusive “M” word, for some this word is a bit ethereal and out of reach. Others have tried but feel they can’t be mindful because they can’t stay focused. I’ll let you in on a bit of a secret, mindfulness can be fun and engaging and need not be complicated or feel like something out of reach. Think about it this way, have you ever sat outside and watched the sunset (or sunrise)? Did you notice the beauty at that moment? That’s being mindful. Or for the parents out there, what about times when you have simply watched your child sleep? Thinking to yourself how precious this moment is, that is mindfulness. Mindfulness is the ability to be in the present moment, to be here and now. It’s acknowledging what’s happening right in front of us at that very moment, doing our best to stay out of the past or future, and simply be here with whatever comes up.
Next time you have a few moments alone give it a try. Find something beautiful near you; this could be a plant, looking out a window into nature, the night sky, the sunrise, whatever it is, then work to simply be with what you’ve chosen. Think to yourself, this moment in time will never exist again, so I choose to be here for it now. Simply breathe and enjoy the moment. I always suggest practicing this in short stints if you are new to it and working up in time from there.
Being mindful allows our brains to slow down, be present, and be in the moment. It’s a beautiful way to be with the time we have.
2. Express Gratitude
What I have learned is that when I am grateful, I am abundant. I use the term express gratitude but it’s the second part of the equation. First, we must of course feel grateful, and we need to learn to find things to be grateful for in our lives and to lean into that feeling. The actual connection to time well spent is expressing gratitude for and to the people in your life.
Last year, I organized a “Share the Love” program, where people from the community were asked to nominate someone they knew who could use a little extra love over the holiday season. The nominations once received, were then chosen by leaders in our organization who wanted to share the love with the person or persons involved.
Many acts of gratitude were expressed, and many to complete strangers, closing the divide between them and linking them to that experience forever. There was, however, one very personal nomination, and that was my husband, Chris. He has had some of the most challenging years of his life recently dealing with an illness, and his nephew recognized it. Chris was chosen as a “Share the Love” recipient, and when it was his turn to receive it was one of the most beautiful gifts he could have ever been given. He was given a movie created by the people who love him wishing him well and a happy holiday season.
It was beyond emotional to watch but what it did to Chris’ perception of his circumstance in the subsequent weeks was nothing short of amazing. He was happier than I had seen him in many months and able to be present and enjoy the holiday season with his family and me.
Expressing gratitude not only makes us feel wonderful, it also changes the perspective of the recipient and those connected to them. It is incredibly powerful. When we express gratitude, there is no question we are in the moment and living life to its fullest. We are living fully in the currency of time.
3. The Currency of Money has a Role to Play
In an ironic twist, it plays a role in your ability to appreciate the time we have. Money is necessary for material things, and yes, they are part of life. Material goods do play a role in happiness, but it is happiness of a different brand. One that is fleeting and alluring and that will leave you lusting for more. The allure can lead you down a pathway where fulfillment seems to dangle close only to slip through your fingers.
Money’s best leverage lies in its ability to open doorways to experiences and to aid you in removing obstacles that come in the way of those things. When we utilize our dollars for adventures such as traveling, learning, or connection, we are trading money for minutes that are appreciated in powerful ways. Money is best used to enhance your experience of life and, when used this way, is well spent and creates memories that last a lifetime.
Perhaps this is a different outlook than you may have previously considered, but sometimes the chase for wealth can lead to a 1-dimensional lifestyle, always looking for more and never quite content. True wealth should be looked at the same as beauty; it is in the eye of the beholder. Your perception is the only one that matters when it comes to it, and you ultimately get to choose which currency drives your life.
Even though this article did not specifically focus on leadership, it would be remiss of me not to mention that some of the greatest leaders I have ever met see time as a valuable currency. It not only shows up in their life, but it also shows up in how they lead, and the ripple effect of that type of thinking goes far beyond the everyday of their jobs, it creates experiences at work that change lives and change the world.
When you reflect on all ingredients that bring your life to balance, where do you feel there is room for improvement? Where is there abundance? What currency is driving your life?
Taking the time for self-evaluation will illuminate a pathway for you to take an honest look when in pursuit of getting the most out of your minutes and seconds on earth. We are not likely to know when our time will be up, so being aware of this honoring the minutes we have been gifted is a special way to live our life. When you find a connection to the time you have left, when you can be mindful, grateful, and trade money for minutes, be prepared as fulfillment lies along that trail.
Want to learn more about the currency of time and how it can change your life?