Every moment that you do not spend thinking, or caring, or engaging, is a moment lost
Lately, I’ve been reading the Aubrey/Maturin historical fiction series written by Patrick O’Brian. The series primarily focuses on life in the British navy in the early 19thcentury and, more specifically, on the friendship between Captain Jack Aubrey and Dr. Stephen Maturin.
Throughout the series, the phrase “there’s not a moment to lose” is referenced whenever urgency and action are required. Even though the reference occurs in a story that took place 200 years ago, the concept is still relevant today.
The fact that life just happens, but that nothing worth experiencing in life is ever gained without meaningful thought, work, and effort has always struck me as significant. Put another way, time marches on without exception. No matter how much you may want to rewind or pause, you do not have that option. You do not get to choose the amount of time you have, and you don’t get any do-overs, so the only thing left to do is make the most of your time as it is happening.
For Aubrey and Maturin, their options were often dictated by their orders and their sense of duty. They consistently chose to act and to chart new territory despite the unknown dangers that were ahead. They were prepared to do so because they had gained the most out of the experiences they had previously shared and the choices they had willingly made.
While you may not be faced with choices that involve going into battle or navigating your way through previously unrecorded expanses of ocean, you do experience a variety of moments each day and each of those moments present you with an opportunity and a decision to make. Are you going to sleep in or are you going to the gym? Are you going to run an errand or are you going to take your kids out for ice cream? Are you going to work late or try to catch that movie you want to see?
The decisions that you make and the options you choose, when these moments occur, help you to achieve balance and prepare you for future moments that are much more significant.
Whether or not you go to the gym is an easier decision if you have already worked out several times that week. And, if you regularly work out, you will be well prepared to enjoy that skiing trip you are planning.
If you have put off that errand for several days, you may not have the ability to take the kids out for ice cream. If you regularly put off running that errand or any of your other duties and responsibilities, you may miss out on many more moments with your kids.
Working late may not be necessary if you are ahead of schedule on that project that is due. The more efficient you are with your time at work, the less likely it will be that you will need to work late, which will create more time for opportunities in the future.
The decisions you make while in the moment and the experiences you gain as a result, will help you to progress further and faster if you make it a point to learn from those experiences; to not continue to make the same mistakes and to find ways to better emphasize the positives.
You will not lose a moment, even if you make the wrong decision or experience adversity, so long as you are actively participating in it. A moment may call for grief or sadness, don’t avoid it. Don’t be afraid to experience the bad times or the tough times. If you are engaged in that moment, you can learn from it and grow as a result.
The more that you establish a habit of making the most of each moment as it presents itself to you, the more your time will be your own and when you decide that you want to chart your own course, you will be able to do so purposefully and with the skills that you will need to be successful.
As a purposeful and experienced decision maker, you will be more likely to find your calling and to achieve fulfillment.
When you are fortunate enough to identify the career that you are best suited for, don’t lose any time in your pursuit of greatness. Harness the resource and the brain power that you had been using to figure out what you wanted to do with your life and put it all toward being the best you can be in your chosen field.
When you find the love of your life, don’t lose a moment with that person. Make it a point to have as much fun as you can and to create as many opportunities as possible to enjoy each other’s company. If that love leads to a family, seek out every moment you can to spend time with your kids and enjoy watching them develop, grow, explore, and learn.
When you develop a lasting friendship with someone, spend the moments you have with that friend creating memories and demonstrating how much he or she means to you.
Every moment that you do not spend thinking, or caring, or engaging, is a moment lost. Conversely, every moment that you do spend doing those things, is time well spent.
Your time is your time. Make the most of it and remember that there is not a moment to lose!
This article is part of Scott Arney's educational series, entitled The Serial Decision Maker.