The Most Precious Resource in the World

Courtesy of ToniVC

What is the most precious resource in the world?

Is it gold? Well, if you dig hard enough or visit enough pawn shops, you are apt to find some.

Is it money? Well, money can be made with the right innovation, entrepreneurialism and business savviness. If the economy is short of cash, just continue to mint fresh new notes like what the US Treasury is doing.

Is it water? Certainly, the long-term drought in many parts of the world have made water conservation a critical issue. The lack of clean, fresh, and safe water supplies is a major problem in too many regions of the world. However, that can be resolved through science, political will and philanthropy.

Is it oil? Energy resources are certainly vital, and the world is still heavily dependent on fossil fuel to power practically anything and everything on the planet. But I suspect that life will still continue even without our cars, our air-conditioners, our mobile phones and even without this notebook computer that I am typing on.

So what is the answer? Well, the most important, most precious and most irreplaceable resource in the world is time. Or perhaps more accurately, time as measured in your life.

Every second, every minute and every hour that ticks by is gone. No amount of riches in the world can turn back the clock. You can't relive the last 10 years of your life, or change the circumstances which you have settled yourself in. The good, the bad and the ugly.

The inexorable passage of time is something which affects all of us. It doesn't matter if you are rich or poor, weak or powerful, beautiful or ugly. It doesn't matter if you are a social activist, a nondescript average Joe, or an intellectual.

Everyone of us have only 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year. How we choose to live each minute and each moment of our day will be a decision that is etched forever in eternity, never to be changed. How we make our choices and how we react to situations and circumstances will leave a permanent non-erasable mark on our lives.

What does this mean then for each one of us? How can we make the best use of the rarest resource in the universe?

In my mind, maximising time doesn't mean stretching every day to breaking point with loads of activities, projects and appointments. It doesn't mean trying to juggle all the different balls up in the air while trying to spin plates, cups and saucers on the ends of sticks. It also doesn't mean that we have to be constantly on the move, or constantly meeting people.

What it does mean though is that you have a choice of what you want to do. It is no longer a good idea to simply go with the flow and follow the wishes of the crowd. Convenience, habit and routine are poor excuses for wasting one's life away.

To make the best use of one's time, one should look deep within and ask yourself what are the most important persons or things that matter. It could be spending time talking to an elderly relative whose days are numbered. It could be spending time playing with one's kid, kicking a ball around or building an imaginary castle with a 6 year old. It could be reading a novel which one has put off for the longest time, a literary classic which you know that you should not miss. It could be trying that recipe which you often wondered about, but never had the time to experiment with.

It could also be slowing down one's life and one's career in preference of the things which matter most. And this may mean logging off, unplugging the cable, and escaping from the Internet, email, SMS, Facebook, Twitter, Plurk, Blogs, Forums, Youtube, Flickr and a million other online distractions.

The social media universe is always alive and kicking, 24 by 7, and never sleeping. I seriously don't think that its gazillion online users will miss your absence that much.

At the end of the road as one lies on one's deathbed, what are the things which matter most? I doubt that the size of one's bank account, the number of medals or trophies on one's display cabinet, the seniority of one's titles at work, or the number of friends on Facebook or followers on Twitter will matter that much.

Rather, it is the little acts of love, kindness, care, joy, patience and consideration that will remain deep within our heart of hearts. The interactions with the ones who matter to us. The time spent on seemingly unproductive tasks which touches the heart, emboldens the mind, nourishes the soul, and enlivens the spirit.

Life is short. Seize the day and pursue excellence. Work hard, play hard. However, don't neglect the vital things in life which are precious beyond compare.

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