As I started to write this, I realized I made an error in the title of the article: you can’t really spend time. It’s not like money. It’s not renewable. If you get out of money, you can make some more. Or, if you’re a national bank, you print more. Ultimately, money is just a complex form of agreement between human beings, nothing more.
While time, well, it’s something completely different. It’s not renewable. It’s not like you can make some more, if you run out. When you run out of time, you die.
So, the real question should be: what do you do with your time? Knowing that time is something you consume, like it or not, something that will eventually run out and end your existence on earth.
The reason for this question is that lately I heard the sentence “I don’t have time” a lot. And I didn’t like it. It sounded very… “definitive”. And, to some extent, egotistic. And somehow sad.
Most of the time, I heard this sentence in work related discussions: “I can’t spend time with you, because I don’t have time, I have to work. Or I have to go to the gym. Or I have to update my Facebook status.”
People who “don’t have time” are not really alive. They don’t own their own time. Somebody else owns their time, they’re just allowed to fit in. It’s sad.
I’ve been an entrepreneur for more than 15 years now. And out of these 15 years, 10 years I worked my ass off. Really hard. I wanted to make myself known. To be number one. To prove myself. To show that I’m worthy of people’s esteem and appreciation. And, to a large extent, I succeeded at it.
I made a few millions (and I spent a few millions). A lot of money. I enjoyed luxurious lifestyles and gadgets. I immersed myself in the suburbia culture, with a SUV in front of my villa. Guess what? Now I’m a digital nomad. I work in coffee shops, I don’t drive luxurious cars and I’m happy. Somehow, I’m happier than I was back when I had a villa in the suburbs. I don’t’ say I didn’t like it, back then, I’m just saying that now I’m enjoying more my current lifestyle.
And the fundamental difference is not in money. It’s in the way I spend – or consume – my time.
Simply put, I choose to spend it with people I love. I don’t have to prove anything to anyone anymore. If people enjoy my company, ok. If not, I won’t strive to impress them with my money, with my car, with my house, with my business, with my achievements, with everything that is, ultimately, outside me. These outside things are just accessories. I don’t work hard to have them anymore. I don’t need them anymore.
Incidentally, if you have to prove your image to somebody else, something is very wrong. Your relationship will endure only for as long as the image you built will endure. Not you, as a human being. The vast majority of people don’t start relationships with other people, but with images: I’m in a relationship with a sales manager, or with a CEO. Not with Bob or with Mary or with Elaine. These are people, they can make mistakes. But they can also enrich your time in a way you will never find in any other activity.
Time you spend with people you love is the only thing that matters. Not money. Not position. Not career. It’s not money that will stand by you when you’re alone. It’s a person, a real person. It’s not social position that will keep you warm in a winter night. It’s not career that will make you breakfast in the morning and tell you sweet words. It’s a person. A real person. And the time you spend with that person will make that person alive. Not your thoughts, not your hopes, not your desires. It’s the time you spend in real life, breathing that person in, while watching a movie, taking a walk in the park, talking, making love or just staring at each other.
Time has this incredible power to make things alive. Wherever you put your time, it brings life. If you want to bring life to a career, prepare to share your existence with a career, not with a person.