Time and time again, I find myself, my peers, colleagues, and loved ones struggling with variations of the concept of time. “I’m too old to pursue this.” “I haven’t been doing this long enough to be respected and revered.” “I’ve been doing this for X-amount of time, maybe I should stop.” “I should have x, y, and z done by the time I’m X age.” I’ve found that many are often too stuck in the past, or too focused on the future to truly appreciate experiences, people, life — to blossom in the present.
1. the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole.
1. plan, schedule, or arrange when (something) should happen or be done.
We have allowed ourselves to become so engulfed in the lives of other people, their accomplishments — and how seemingly quickly those progressed from goals to achievements — that we don’t give ourselves credit for our own triumphs. This habit we have, essentially makes us blind to our growth, our potential, our value, opportunities that we need to embark upon that may not present as opportunities at face value, our advantages, and importantly, our impediments.
One crucial nutrition in our lives necessary for growth, is the ability to recognize hindrances, and you cannot effectively do that when your attention is scattered across the lives of others. You miss things, ignore them even, and then wonder why you aren’t feeling content or pleased with your progress. And much of the answer lies in the hindrances that you aren’t addressing that is blocking your growth. Those may be character flaws, it might be your environment, member(s) of your family, the people you are around, your significant other, your lack of information intake and knowledge cultivation, a bad habit… it could be anything, but you won’t know it until you remove the blindfold that is comparison.
“No two paths are the same,” is one of the most cliche, but important, concepts we must internalize in this lifetime, as “comparison is the thief of joy.” At the root of comparison, among a plethora of other things, lies time. You are comparing your path to that of another because you have not reached your desired destination in the amount of time you consider acceptable, or noteworthy, disregarding the beauty in the mere fact that you are not that person.
Within this process of comparison you overlook yourself. Many do not have a deep understanding of the value they bring to any table, let alone their own, because they spend more time comparing themselves to others than they do reflecting on who they are, and who they genuinely strive to become. I was this person, and not long ago, frankly.
You cannot fear time.
Time is your friend — you should embrace it. The more time you spend building anything — whether that be your character, a skill set, a business or career — the greater it becomes, the more valuable you become, it becomes. Something not clicking for you at the moment should spark a fire in your soul to pursue it with more effort, more energy, more intention, more love. Allowing time to serve as something that breaks your spirit and discourage you away from your passion is inefficient.
What we fail to focus our energy towards is becoming prepared for when our life changing moment comes. We focus so much on the point in time that it might happen, that we forget to put the time in towards developing our skill set, knowledge, emotional intelligence and character to be able to fully capitalize off of and wholly experience opportunities when they finally present themselves to us. Internalize this lesson to you as the time for you to refocus. Live in the now, and appreciate time for the gift that it truly is.
Originally featured on Can't Buy Respect.