This is an excerpt from The Simple Leader: Personal and Professional Leadership at the Nexus of Lean and Zen
There is only one true wealth in all the universe—living time.
– Frank Herbert
I was hesitant about discussing this topic, but decided it truly does impact my perspective on work and life. As we get older (I’m now in my 50s), the end of our lives—our impending doom, rebirth, or whatever you believe—is more on our minds. Whether we like it or not, our mortality can motivate us to be more productive. We each have a finite amount of time in this existence (sadly for some, less than we expect). Make the best use of it. Being aware (mindful) of my mortality has added focus and priority to what I want to get done, both personally and professionally.
Experiencing how time seems to accelerate as I age (and recognizing that there’s a finite amount of it), has encouraged me to look at how I’m consuming my limited inventory of minutes.
What projects and activities truly create value from the customer’s (my) perspective? What projects, accomplishments, and dreams have I been putting off ? Do I have the right balance of professional and personal activities?
I want to be careful to not overdo it, however. Even at my age, I have some friends and family who are still too single-mindedly focused on a career or ambition, even if they do not like it. In your own life, ensure there’s balance, explore other aspects of life, do something you enjoy and learn from. There isn’t much time left.