Categories
Self-Help

The Value of time

The value of time.

To realize the value of one year, ask a student who failed a grade. To realize the value of one month, ask a mother who gave birth to a premature baby. To realize the value of one week, ask a writer of a weekly newspaper. To realize the value of one day, ask an applicant who missed a job interview. To realize the value of one hour, ask the lovers who are waiting to meet. To realize the value of one minute, ask the person who just missed his plane. To realize the value of one second, ask a person who has survived an accident. To realize the value of one millisecond, ask the person who has won a silver medal in the Olympics.

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The Value of time. Time is of the essence

It’s always a question of time, you are either on time, out of time, pressed for time, having a bad time, or just racing against time, thinking that maybe next time, for sure there is still time until one day your time is up. Time is of the essence. All we have to do is to decide what to do with the time that is given to us.

The value of time.

Time is the most valuable asset each person has. Every day when we wake up, each one of us has the same amount of time to live a meaningful life, to learn, to give, to share, to experience, to make a difference, to be who we really want to be. We all have twenty-four hours a day to do all those things. How you spend your days is how you spend your life.

You must make the most of time, because as it ticks by and the days turn into weeks, then into months, and then into years; life can pass you by before you know it. Don’t wait all week for the weekend – enjoy each day as it comes. Don’t wait all year for the summer – enjoy each season as it comes. Don’t wait all your life to be happy – happiness happens every day.

They always say time changes things… Andy Warhol

Alongside Picasso, Andy Warhol is probably one of the most recognized twentieth-century artists. Warhol became famous worldwide for his work as a painter, avant-garde filmmaker, record producer, author, and public figure known for his membership in bohemian social circles.

Warhol is perhaps best known for his role – a central figure – in the movement known as Pop Art. What Pop Art is, at least for Warhol, was the exploration of the relationship between artistic expression, advertising, and celebrity culture, or the concept of using mass-produced commercial goods in design. Andy Warhol changed the art world; he was the most significant figure in Pop Art and responsible for its rise. Warhol also changed art techniques; he popularized silk-screening as an artistic process.

In fact, Warhol was a different kind of artist altogether. Whereas many artists focus entirely on their art with no interest in fame or fortune, Warhol wanted to be rich and famous and succeeded in doing so. Andy Warhol was all about change, but it is his quote below that really captures the essence of change.

“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself”

Andy Warhol

Thinking that time will change something is just to cling to it and get lost in its torments; time just passes and doesn’t change anything. The only thing that changes is the hour, the date and the year. It is up to each one of us to change and to want to change, to grab the bull by the horns and move forward and arm ourselves with experience and change what was wrong and move in the direction that leads us to success, or failure.

The Value of time. There is never enough time unless you make time.

The value of time. Don’t waste your time. Photo by Irina Cliva via freepik.com

Time waits for no one. Too often we do not realize the value of what we have until it is gone. How many people out there will not realize the value of spending quality time with their aging parents until after their parents have died and later live with regret? The time is there to take an unscheduled trip to surprise your parents and pass some enjoyable moments, sharing meals, laughing, exchanging stories, connecting, and really appreciating each other.

How many people out there do not realize the value of showing appreciation to their wife or husband for the little things that they do every day, until the time that the spouse decides to leave, sick and tired of being taken for granted and not feeling appreciated.

How many people out there do not realize the value of being spontaneous, of being young and feeling alive, living life to the full, doing things on the spur of the moment, only to realize when they become old, tired, and sick that they had the opportunity and missed out? Extract from Chapter 2 of my book “This Is Your Quest

The Quest for most of us is to understand that time is of the essence. Time is the most valuable commodity that each of us has. Once spent, time can never be got back. Spend it wisely.

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Categories
Self-Help

What is Your Superpower? Multitasking or Mindfulness?

Distracted Multitasker or Mindful Zen Master

An indisputable fact about modern life is how busy everyone seems to be. There are always more incoming emails, more meetings, more things to read, more ideas to follow up on. Digital mobile technology means you can easily crank through a few more to-do list items at home, or on holiday, or at the gym. In addition, social media often seems to center-stage; we are under a relentless and continuous assault from Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, text messages, videos, advertising, news, etc. It’s impossible to manage this without a superpower, but what is your superpower?

Multitasking seems to be the order of the day, but as a result, our attention span lasts only for a few seconds before boredom sets in and we feel the urge to move on to the next great thing seeking our attention.

What is your Superpower? Multitasking or Mindfulness?

The ironic consequence of being busy is that we are actually less efficient, get less done, make poorer decisions, prioritize trivial tasks over important ones and end feel overwhelmed. We’re human beings with finite energy and abilities but under seemingly infinite bombardment from work and from social media which intrudes into our family and leisure time.

Is mindfulness a solution?

(I was inspired to write this watching my daughter doing her homework, complaining she was bored and seeing her check her social messages not less than once every minute. No sooner had I pointed this out she noted I was guilty of the same; ‘Medice, cura te ipsum,’ Physician, heal thy self.’)

What is Multitasking?

Multitasking was originally used as a computing term to describe concurrent execution of tasks in a computer’s Central Processing Unit (CPU) and main memory. Multitasking allowed a user to perform more than one computer task at a time but doesn’t necessarily mean that tasks are carried out in parallel. The operating system is able to multitask by keeping track of where you are in these tasks and switching from one to the other without losing information.

Multitasking as a term wasn’t applied to people until the 1990s. Human multitasking is also the ability to perform more than one task at the same time, for example taking a phone call while driving a car. The normal way that humans multitask, however, is more similar to the way that computers used to, by switching tasks rather than carrying them out at the same time.

There has been a lot written about multitasking in recent years and a lot of concepts mixed up so for this article I have tried to clarify my definitions below, and ask if it is our true nature to multitask?

Real Multitasking

Our brains have limited capacity and struggle to really multitask unless one or more of those tasks are ‘second nature,’ i.e. that it is so well learned that no thought is necessary to perform it. Examples would include walking and chewing on a chewing gum, driving a car and listening to an audiobook.

Task Switching

When most of us say that we are multitasking, it may appear that we are multitasking, but in reality – like computer multitasking – we are actually just switching from one task to another in rapid succession. As much as you might like to think that you write an email and talk on the phone at the same time, however, in reality you can’t and are actually taking more time and being less efficient than if you did both tasks separately.

Mindless Timewasting

Some of the things we do, our guilty pleasures – that are really easy to slip into when we are bored, are not tasks, but mindless timewasting. Posting a story to your personal Instagram account, OK – that’s arguably a task, but checking your feed 30 or 40 times an hour, playing games, posting a bunch of likes on Facebook – well that’s more likely to be mindless time-wasting – no multitasking points there.

What is Your Superpower? Wasting Time?

Myths of Multitasking

Multitasking is a widespread modern phenomenon, however there is considerable evidence for its negative impact on personal health, productivity, effectiveness and even to reduced levels of compassion. Multiple studies have confirmed that multitasking is a myth and anyone who believes that multitasking increases their productivity and efficiency are mistaken. Data shows clearly that multitaskers are doing less, getting more stressed out and performing worse than those perform single tasks at a time.

So is there an alternative?

Concentration & Mindfulness

Martin Luther, 15th-century professor of theology, composer, priest, and monk, and first translator of the Bible into the vernacular (and not to be confused with Martin Luther King) famously said: “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.

This sounds counter-intuitive, but like many other counter-intuitive practices, e.g. ‘slow and steady wins the race,’ has a strong basis in truth. The ability to focus on a subject, to concentrate deeply, to understand its nuances and interweaving complexities and its simplicities allows our minds to maximize the absorption of information.

When we concentrate, we are bringing to bear upon an activity the full focus of our minds, and this is essential if we are to learn anything. It is also very calming to concentrate, to block out all outside noises and distractions.

The advantage of concentration is that it brings us into an intimacy with what we are doing, and in that intimacy, there is learning and pleasure. It is one of the ways the mind is intended to work, and this type of concentration is called mindfulness.

What is Your Superpower – Mindfulness?

Rather than just concentration, mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. If life is feeling too busy and hectic, if you aren’t connected to or interested by what you are doing, it may be the time to slow down and practice mindfulness.

There are many definitions of mindfulness that provide further insight into what mindfulness is, my personal favorites is:

“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment and in a non-judgmental way

In addition to concentration, mindfulness also incorporates aspects of non-judgement, compassion, spirituality, curiosity, acceptance and kindness. Non-Judgment is a large part of Buddhist philosophy. There is no good and evil in Buddhism. Human problems are talked about in terms of ignorance and wisdom – the cause of the sufferings in the world is ignorance and the solution is the development of wisdom.

The History of Mindfulness

Mindfulness practices are often taught secularly, but their roots stretch back to the early teachings of the Buddha and other eastern religions.

“The secret of health for mind and body is not to mourn for
the past or worry about the future, but to live in the
present moment wisely and earnestly.”
Buddha

Mindfulness was made mainstream in the east via religious and spiritual institutions such as Buddhism and Hinduism, while in the west, its popularity can be traced to particular individuals such as Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn whose system is based on a type of Buddhist meditation called Vipassana.

Buddhist monks believe that the reason a lot of people are anxious, stressed or in pain is that they are stuck on something that happened in the past or worried about something in the future. Buddhist monks learn how to practice mindfulness to help free themselves from anxiety, stress and suffering. Buddhists believe that your focus and attention should be on the present as the present is the only time we can learn, do, or feel anything. The present is the only time where we can heal and grow.

How Mindfulness Relates to Meditation?

Mindfulness is the awareness of ‘some-thing,’ whereas meditation is the awareness of ‘no-thing.’ Both meditation and mindfulness help quieten the mind but the main difference between the two is that the goal of mindfulness is to have one’s thoughts be on the present moment, whereas for (transcendental) meditation, the goal is to transcend thought itself and experience a state of ‘pure awareness.’

Mindfulness of the Body; Practicing Stillness and Meditation

Meditation is also a practice that trains the mind not to stop thinking but to surpass our own thought process. Through meditation, one’s thoughts should flow like a river. If you have time to meditate, do it; if you don’t have time to meditate, meditate for 5 minutes. Acknowledge your thoughts, know what they are, but do not engage in them. Let the thoughts be, do not attach ‘good or bad’ labels to them.

How to Practice Mindfulness

So, what is your superpower? There is a raft of scientific evidence to confirm that concentrating on what we are doing, or mindfulness is the superpower we should be aiming for. Mindfulness has a lot of benefits and can replace multitasking, if not all of the time, then at least some of it.

  • Mindfulness can help us get more done, can relieve the stress of feeling busy;
  • Mindfulness can help bring us into an intimacy with what we are doing, and in that intimacy, there is learning and pleasure;
  • Mindfulness can help cope with depression, stress, boast your psychological well-being, manage physical pain and improve your memory;
  • Mindfulness helps us switch to a more positive mindset which in turn helps us feeling happier;
  • Psychological evidence suggests that mindfulness can foster greater relationship satisfaction by increasing our ability to deal with stress when conflicts arise;
  • Mindfulness can help us become more emotionally aware and appreciative of the little things.
  • Mindfulness helps improve the way we communicate and relate to those around us. It also helps get us off the auto-pilot mode where a lot of us operate days after days, weeks after weeks, months after months and years after years;
  • Mindfulness can help us regulate and express our emotions in a way which is more thoughtful, non-judgmental and more compassionately with ourselves;
  • Practicing mindfulness helps build our resilience.

Being mindful can have a lot of benefits, not just to you but also the people around you.  One last benefit is expressed in this simple quotation from French Philosopher Simone Veil (3 February 1909 – 24 August 1943):

“Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.”

Your mission, should you accept it, is to practice sharing the fullness of your being, your best self, your enthusiasm, vitality, spirit, and above all your presence with your friends, family, with people around you. That is the greatest gift of all.

And this my dear friend is your Quest!


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For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Nobles (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.