It seems everywhere I turn nowadays I’m confronted by ideas on minimalism and simplicity from folks in their McMansions with glazed eyes turned to iPhones and iMacs. We’re all looking for the shortcuts and the life hacks on how to live a more authentic life. I’m going to let you know how to do it. It’s both simple and easy, but it takes one crucial ingredient that most of us have neglected in spades. What is that key ingredient? Discipline.
So let’s have a real honest discussion on how to find your way to peace and serenity and how to simplify your life or how to find more time. All these things are achievable with discipline.
Truly and fully understanding time
Time as physicists will have us believe is a dimension. It is the fourth dimension, and along with space, makes up the continuum of space time. Space of course consisting of the other three dimensions which are length, height and width.
Now think about this for a moment. Space time is a continuum. A continuum is a continuous sequence of something, in this case, space and time. Basically, space time is us moving through space. Ah, but dear sir, I sit still. I’m afraid not, you are a vibrating bundle of energy, of light and space. In any event we are moving through space.
We are as the wise men say, never stepping into the same rive twice. That river being space. Think on this young Jedi. You step into your bathroom as you do every day, and yet you have just stepped into a completely new space. You do this each and every time. Wherever and whenever.
Why am I harping on this? Because it is crucial to really understand. In this physical manifestation we call the human body we are traveling along space time at a stupendous rate on a one way trip to deathsville. The soul has been given a punch card or ticket filled with tokens for this ride, but each moment in space time is chewing through those tokens. You’ll never get another ticket for this trip. You run out of tokens and the Grim Reaper, our humble conductor, kicks you off.
You can not buy more tokens or another ticket, you can not steal or bribe someone for another one. Literally, this is what time is. If you’re average, you’ll get 2.5 billion tokens. I’ve written about this before in how to treat your billions.
If you really, truly understand how valuable time is, the rest becomes easy. Time is very literally your life sauce dripping away.
Use this new found wealthy discreetly
This wealth is time. And time is our greatest and also our most precious wealth. We’re literally hemorrhaging thousands of dollars each day. If a second is a dollar bill then each 16 minutes we’re blowing through a grand.
You wouldn’t treat a thousand dollars as poorly as you treat your 16 minutes would you? So be discreet with it. Unlike money, this time wealth can not be increased, it does not earn interest and it is spent each and every second whether you like it or not. Spend well, my young padiwan.
It’s gonna be tough, I’m not gonna lie, but you might have to start saying no to a lot of things and a lot of people so you can start spending your time how you want to.
Time is money, both literally and figuratively
I’ve equated time as in the seconds of your life with dollar bills, but in a very real sense, time is money too. Why? Because we have to earn a living and we pay for things in money and we buy money with our time.
A great book that really helped me put this in perspective is this one here. But let me give you a concrete example.
Let’s say at your job, you earn $20 an hour or $41,600 per year. That’s a pretty decent salary. Not huge, but better than minimum wage. Now in the book mentioned above, the author asks you to think about your ‘real’ wage per hour.
Here’s how it works. If you work 40 hours a week but your commute takes you 2 hours a day for the return trip or 10 hours a week, you’ve really tied your time wealth to the job for 50 hours a week. So now, you’re $20 an hour is actually divided by 50 to give you a ‘real’ hourly rate per hour of $16 per hour. But it get’s worse my friend.
If you buy clothes that you wouldn’t necessarily buy if you didn’t have to work, and you buy a lunch at work each day and things like that you have to deduct that from your earned income. Let’s be generous, let’s say that on an average week you only spend $50 that you wouldn’t spend if you didn’t have your job. This will include things like bus tickets and/or car expenses related to work, clothe expenses related to work and those lunches which you’d take at home for way less.
So now, that $800 per week you earn is down to $750. The $800 (which is 40 hours of work at $20 an hour) less the $50 for work related expenses that you wouldn’t incur if you didn’t have your job.
Now your ‘real’ hourly rate is not even a paltry $16 an hour it’s $15 and I’ve been fairly conservative. If you run your own numbers you’ll get saddened pretty quickly. But it gets worse. How so? Read on my young friend.
You’re burning through $1000 every 16 minutes if your time in seconds was currency, and you’re earning way less than you thought you were. Now look what happens when you decide to buy something. Oh hey, look at that sparkly new iPhone. I can get it on contract for $299.
Well, that $299 has just cost you 20 hours to work at that job to earn the ‘real’ money to pay for it. Plus those 20 hours have cost you $72 million time dollars of your life that you’ll never get back. And a million here and a million there and you’re talking real money.
Yeah, but, my time is not really worth $72 million you say. I say you’re right. It’s worth more, waaaay more, infinitely more, because you can’t get any of it back. It’s a one way ticket friendo.
What else could you do with that 20 hours? Tons. Here’s a few examples. You could read 1,000 pages of novels if you’re an average reader. That’s like reading 3 to 5 good novels. You could also knit a sweater if you knew how to knit and you knit well1.
So with those two ideas firmly in mind, time as money and time as bartered for money, let me give you some real tips on how to treat your time better.
Real life tips and examples of how to better use your time
I get it. Most of us have to barter our time for money at JOBs. It ain’t pretty unless you really love what you do in which case you’re probably not reading this. But we all have anywhere from 100 to 118 hours a week all to our own. How did I get that number. Well, I assumed that 99% of us work at our jobs for anywhere from 50 to 68 hours per week including commuting.
And because there is 168 hours in a week that’s the number we get after subtracting either 50 or 68 from it. But we have to sleep and do chores and eat and clean etc. I’m gonna be real generous and give you 12 hours a day for all of that. So we do those things for 12 hours a day or 84 hours per week.
So our ‘real’ personal leisure time has shrunk from 100 to 118 hours per week less our eating, cleaning, choring and other whoring time sinks to 16 to 34 hours for the week. Again, let’s say we have an even 20 hours to do what we want. That’s our $72 million of time life or space time dollars.
How best to spend them? That’s up to you. But really think hard about it. I’d recommend doing things with that time that will leave this mortal orb better off than we found out. Here are some ideas to just get you thinking.
Volunteer. Learn to knit and you could give one person a sweater per week. Write a book. At an average of 1,000 words types per hour you could have a novel finished in a month. Learn to play a guitar. In one year year you’d have 1,000 hours of playing/practicing under your belt. Read good books. Learn to cook better. Play with your kids, or coach a kid’s team.
In essence, the best way to spend your most valuable wealth, your space time dollars, is to use them up in bringing joy and happiness and peace and love to your small corner of the galaxy. Do something that helps people, makes them feel good or uplifts the human spirit. Some of those things I mentioned above, many more you can come up with yourself.
My question to you is, what will you do with your millions of space time dollars that you’ve been gifted?
1 – http://youtu.be/GbOukav1Yqs