Year-end comes closer now, and this is what I recommend to everyone for the quiet time between Christmas and New Year: sit down and update the list of blessings in your life, and review your goals for the coming year.
Time plays a crucial role in that context. We can replace lost money but we cannot replace lost time.
Where I am Coming From
I realized early in life that I am running out of time. The first time that this became very clear to me was immediately after I signed up as an officer candidate with the German army, back in 1984 at age 19. The army was compulsory during the time of the Cold War, and I had the choice to serve 24 months instead of 15 months, but earning five times more than a common conscript. I took the money and paid with time. I regretted that decision very soon. From that moment onwards I have always been very careful with long-term commitments and with my time.
I found an article that has the same emphasis, written by Matthew Jones: “20 Brutal Truths About Life No One Wants to Admit“ https://www.inc.com/matthew-jones/20-brutal-truths-about-life-no-one-wants-to-admit.html
Jones writes inspiring articles about leadership and I have so far found nothing wrong in his articles, maybe except that a spiritual aspect is missing. Jones gives very practical advice in neutral packaging.
The Old Problem
1. You’re going to die and you have no idea when.
Stop pretending that you’re invincible. Acknowledge the fact of your own mortality, and then start structuring your life in a more meaningful way.
2. Everyone you love is going to die, and you don’t know when.
This truth may be saddening at first, but it also gives you permission to make amends with past difficulties and re-establish meaningful relationships with important figures in your life.
That is what I meant when I said that Jones does not provide a spiritual compass: how to deal with these profound insights if you have no hope at all? But there is hope, and it is less than a minute away, provided that you are willing to overcome worldly dogmas. I believe that there is a God and he himself has provided a way back to him, through his son Jesus Christ. If that helped me it may also help you.
4. Your obsession with finding happiness is what prevents its attainment.
Happiness is always present in your life–it’s just a matter of connecting to it and allowing it to flow through you that’s challenging.
I have earlier written about the pursuit of happiness in our lives, here https://ip-lawyer-tools.com/the-pursuit-of-happiness-versus-a-day-job-plus-a-calling/
I simply do not believe in this “happiness” concept. My life is all about my work as a patent attorney and my calling, among others the present webpage.
It is Time for Time
Rule 5 in Jones’ article talks about time:
5. Donating money does less than donating time.
Giving your time is a way to change your perception and create a memory for yourself and others that will last forever.
There is much truth found here. Donating money is difficult. Money can cause a lot of damage if given into the wrong hands. Donating time can create a lot of blessings, and it creates personal relationships in the first place. This is scientifically proven. I have written about this here https://ip-lawyer-tools.com/what-keeps-us-healthy-and-happy-as-we-go-through-life-an-80-years-harvard-study/
Jones about time again:
10. Your achievements and successes won’t matter on your death bed.
When your time has come to transition from this reality, you won’t be thinking about that raise; you’ll be thinking about the relationships you’ve made–so start acting accordingly.”
12. Now is the only time that matters, so stop wasting it by ruminating on the past or planning the future.
You can’t control the past, and you can’t predict the future, and trying to do so only removes you from the one thing you can control–the present.
That is all very true.
Relationships are Important
And Jones about the importance of relationships again:
17. You need to improve your relationships to have lasting happiness.
Relationships have a greater impact on your wellbeing and happiness than your income or your occupation, so make sure you give your relationship the attention and work it deserves.
It is all about taking responsibility for your own life, says Jones:
18. Pleasure is temporary and fleeting, so stop chasing fireworks and start building a constellation.
Don’t settle for an ego boost right now when you can delay gratification and experience deeper fulfillment.
19. Your ambition means nothing without execution–it’s time to put in the work.
If you want to change the world, then go out there and do it!
And the mixture is important. Time plus responsibility plus relationships:
20. Time is your most valuable asset–you need to prioritize how you spend it.
You have the power and responsibility to decide what you do with the time you have, so choose wisely.
Call to Action
Prepare mentally for the quiet time between Christmas and New Year.
Set apart some time for yourself alone, one entire day, so that you can “sharpen your axe” for the year 2020 and beyond.
I will provide you with more input on that in time and you can also check out my personality building department.
Martin “Planning” Schweiger