By Thamar Jones
Imagine you had a bank account that deposited $86,400 at the start of each day, however the account does not allow you to keep a cash balance, and whatever amount you had failed to use gets cancelled at the close of the day. How much would you withdraw from the account each day? Did you say… all of it?! I’d bet you would!
You do have such a bank. We all do. But it is loaded with something even more valuable than money.
Every morning, it credits you with 86,400 seconds. Every night it writes off, as lost, whatever time you have failed to use wisely. It carries over no balance. It allows no overdraft so you can’t borrow against yourself or use more time than you have. Each day, the account starts fresh. If you fail to use the day’s deposits, it’s your loss and you can’t get it back. There is never any borrowing time. You can’t take a loan out on your time or against someone else’s. The time you have is the time you have and that is that.
Just as with money, you decide how you spend your time. It is never the case of not having enough time to do things, but the case of whether we want to do them and where they fall in our priorities. To make the most of your time is to make the most of your opportunities. To make the most of your opportunities, you must know exactly what it is you want. In other words, you must be clear on your goals and what it is you want to achieve. You must know how you want to ‘spend’ your time.
However, simply knowing what you want isn’t enough. You must be on the lookout for opportunities that will help you to achieve your goals and you must prepare yourself to take full advantage when it presents itself. Opportunities are all around us but are you capable of taking advantage when it comes your way? Most people are unfortunately ill-prepared for opportunities. They are ill-prepared because they simply don’t have the relevant knowledge, skills, support and tools at their disposal to make the most of opportunity.
Let’s imagine for a minute that your dream is to be a famous actor. You want nothing more than to be on the big screen, starring in movies alongside the biggest celebrities like Zac Efron and Jennifer Lawrence. You visualize yourself on red carpets, signing autographs for your millions of adoring fans. Now imagine that today, you were given the opportunity to fly out to Hollywood California to audition for the role of your dreams. Would you be ready? Would you be ready to give the performance of a lifetime and compete for the role against the other people vying for the same chance?
Maybe being a movie star is not your dream. But are you ready to cease the opportunities that will help you to achieve your goals if they came your way today?
Use your time to acquire the relevant knowledge, skills, support and tools, to help you make the most of potential opportunities.
A lottery ticket is most people’s idea of an opportunity. However, the odds of that ticket turning into a positive outcome are of course extremely slim. The truth is that real opportunities come through one single channel, and that channel almost always involves people. Yes, people are the one key factor that can help drive opportunity your way. It is often said that it’s not what you know, but rather who you know that matters. With this in mind, it’s important to regularly spend time connecting and networking with people who can potentially help you get ahead and achieve your goals.
For the most part, opportunities don’t come wrapped up in a gift basket. They rather come dressed in dirty overalls holding a shovel. In other words, life’s opportunities are often disguised as problems that require hard work and a trip outside of your comfort zone. And it is for this very reason that most people fail to recognize opportunities. They fail to recognize an opportunity because they expect it to be given to them on a silver platter. If it’s not easy, then it’s no opportunity but rather a distasteful set of tasks that require too much effort. And as a result, they fail to make the most of their situation.
It’s up to you to decide whether or not an opportunity is truly worth taking. There are after all, no guarantees. Your risks might not payoff in the end, but if you’re careful and calculated, they very much may.
In the moment, we will of course never truly know where each of our choices will take us. That’s something we will eventually discover years down the track. Looking back, there may even be some regrets and disappointment, and most of them will probably be because of opportunities not taken, time you did not use wisely.
By Thamar Jones