Our time on this planet is limited. Most of us realize that sooner or later. And yet, we keep on squandering our time and running around in circles.
Why is it that we waste so much of our time? Most people think that we, humans, don’t understand the value of time.
I don’t think that’s the problem. You and I both know the value of time. It’s a depletable resource. By that definition, the value of time is high.
So if the problem is not our appreciation of time, what’s the cause of a waste of time and potential?
The answer is obvious: We simply don’t know what to do with our time. The stoic philosopher Seneca famously said in On The Shortness Of Life:
What does it take to be successful? No matter what your definition of success is, you know that it’s not easy to achieve it.
Even a simple definition of success like “I want to live life on my own terms” requires hard work. Every sane person who aspires to live a good life understands that.
But when people start talking about the things you have to give up for success, I think they are going down a dark path. No matter what you’re trying to achieve in life; under no circumstances should you “sacrifice” anything.
“But what about all the hard work you’re talking about? I need to sacrifice all the other things I want to do.”
The answer to that question is simple. No one said it better than Tony Robbins:
One of the biggest mistakes we make is that we assume we always learn from our mistakes. I’ve met enough people who learned little from their own stupidity.
We all know these people. In fact, we probably are these people. You know why? It’s damned hard to learn from your mistakes. I’ve never met someone who actually enjoyed failing.
Let’s be honest, no one likes to make mistakes, and lose their time, energy, or money. So that’s why we need to make an effort to learn from the things that we wish we didn’t do. The father of functional philosophy and pragmatist philosophy, John Dewey, made that point obvious:
“The person who really thinks learns quite as much from his failures as from his successes.”
Learning from your mistakes does not happen automatically—it requires thinking and reflection. So here’s my reflection on the lessons I learned from the mistakes I made in my twenties. Here we go.
One of the most important habits that I’ve formed in my life is daily writing.
Without question, writing every day has brought me many great things: A better career, fulfillment, self-improvement, and most importantly, the ability to share my ideas with you, the reader.
I wanted to be a writer for a decade before I became one. All it took was a decision. At some point, you have to look at yourself and say, “I’m a writer.” And then, start doing your job by writing every day.
I recommend that to everyone because of these 5 reasons:
I bet that you’re extrapolating your perceptions all the time. Let me give you a few examples and tell whether I’m wrong.
- “House prices will probably keep increasing.”
- “That person will never change.”
- “My business will keep growing.”
- “I will never learn from my mistakes.”
- “He doesn’t like me.”
We often have these type of thoughts multiple times a day. The root of this problem is our quick judgment.
Humans are very fast thinkers. But how fast do we even think?
Scientists have quantified the speed of light and sound, but when it comes to thoughts, it’s not that easily measured.
Your character is defined by values. And your core values are the result of your behavior. Aristotle said it best:
“Men acquire a particular quality by constantly acting in a particular way.”
For example, when you always tell the truth, you become an honest person. It’s as simple as that. And yet, we collectively underestimate the importance of values.
We think our values have everything to do with how we are perceived. But that’s not why values matter.
Values have a great impact on our inner world. They define us. They form the foundation of our character.
And since you have to live with yourself, your values should be one of the most important things in your life.
I want to ask you a question. How many hours per day do you think?
“I never thought about that.” So let me get this straight. You’re thinking all the time, and yet, you never think about how much time you spend thinking.
That sounds like an addiction to me. I know, because I’m addicted to thinking too.
- When I eat too much, I can say “I’m overeating. I need to eat less.”
- When I work too much, I can say “I’m getting burned out. I need to stop working.”
- When I drink too much, I can say “I need to stop. I need a bottle of water.”
But when I think too much, I can’t just say “I’m overthinking.” I need a different approach to unclog my brain.
But the problem is that we don’t consider overthinking as a problem.