If you observe two people who have achieved some level of success, you will immediately notice one outstanding difference. The person who uses time the most wisely will almost always be the more successful of the two.
That’s why business philosopher Jim Rohn said, “Time is our most valuable asset, yet we tend to waste it, kill it, and spend it rather than invest it.”
And that’s why I tell my audiences, “You get one crack … and one crack only … at using any given period of time. And if you screw it up, too bad. There are no do-overs. That time is lost forever.”
During my career as a professional speaker, author, and consultant, I’ve had the privilege of working with hundreds of thousands of people. And I can tell you from first-hand experience that the way winners use time differs dramatically from the way losers deal with time.
To be specific, there are four things that highly successful people have taught me about the proper use of time … and how that connects to your level of success … at anything and everything.
► 1. Don’t spend too much time in the past.
That would be about as foolish as trying to drive a car that had a rear-view mirror that was bigger than your windshield. You would probably crash.
And the same goes for time. If you live your life in the past, spending too much time looking in your rear-view mirror, you’re going to crash in the present.
The past only serves two purposes. It provides lessons and preserves memories. So pick up the lessons from your past. Reflect on your good memories once in a while. And then get on with the present.
As author Ida Scott Taylor wrote in the early 1900’s, “One day at a time — this is enough. Do not look back and grieve over the past, for it is gone; and do not be troubled about the future, for it has yet to come. Live in the present and make it so beautiful that it will be worth remembering.”
► 2. Spend the “right” amount of time on the future.
The key is the “right” amount of time.
If you spend too little time thinking about your future, you’re just going through the motions, putting in your time, with “another day-another dollar” mentality. You are not driven by purpose or guided by goals. And that will never lead you to greater happiness and success.
If you spend too much time daydreaming about the future, you may not get off your butt to do the things you need to do … right now … to turn your dreams into reality. You’re living your life in a never-gonna-happen fantasy world.
Of course, I know the “right” amount of time may be somewhat of a dilemma. The comedian Jerry Seinfeld commented on that. He said, “I was in the drug store the other day trying to get a cold medication … Not easy. There’s an entire wall of products that you need. You stand there going, ‘Well, this one is quick acting but this is long lasting … Which is more important, the present or the future?'”
Well, Jerry, I can answer that for you. The present is more important … because what you do in the present determines your future.
The Chinese knew that hundreds of years ago. As stated in one of their ancient proverbs, “If you want to know your past, look into your present conditions. If you want to know your future, look into your present actions.”
► 3. Focus on the present.
As I tell my audiences, “Wherever you are, be there!” Don’t fret about work when you’re at home and don’t worry about the kids when you’re at work. Learn to be totally present.
The great conductor Arturo Toscanini mastered the skill. On his 80th birthday, someone asked his son Walter what his father ranked as his most important achievement. The son replied, “For him there can be no such thing. Whatever he happens to be doing at the moment is the biggest thing in his life — whether it is conducting a symphony or peeling an orange.”
Indeed, learning to live in the “now” is critical to your success. As change expert Price Pritchett puts it, if you want “fast growth” or a quicker, surer way to greater happiness and success, you must have “a strong sense of now-ness.” You have to maximize the value of the moment.
As Pritchett goes on to say, “Pay attention. Consciously watch how you’re spending the fleeting now and consider the payback you’ll get. Are you making a good investment of your hours and minutes? Or are you wasting these scarce resources … spending time on stuff that offers little return … fumbling the opportunity for fast growth?”
You need to show great respect for the present. If you fill it with right behaviors, you’ll be rewarded with fast results.
That’s exactly what happened to Barbara Heiden, a quality assurance chemist at Cargill. After attending my Journey-to-the-Extraordinary program, she said, “I wanted to update you on how things are going. Using your techniques, I am eating well-balanced meals, losing weight, and have more energy than ever! I got a new job that pays a great deal better and even applied your techniques to our family finances for a net gain of $125,000.00.”
I want to invite you to register for my Journey program now. It will be one of the best investments you will ever make in yourself.
And finally, to get your time, the #1 factor in determining your success, working for you…
► 4. Adopt the mindset of living in the present.
Now I know that’s easier said than done … that you need to live in the present. But it can be done … if you reflect on a few slogans throughout your day. In fact, you can even write them down, put them on a card, and read the card three or four times a day.
And thanks to the millions of people who have gone through 12-step programs or other recovery programs, these slogans have been time tested and proven to work. So give them a try. They’ll keep you focused on the present.
√ Easy does it.
√ First things first.
√ How important is it?
√ Just for today.
√ Keep it simple.
√ Keep an open mind.
√ Let go and let God.
√ Listen and learn.
√ Live and let live.
√ One day at a time.
√ Progress not perfection.
The more you reflect on these slogans, the easier it will be for you to live your life in the present … to the fullest.
Action: Which of these living-in-the-present slogans appeals to you the most? Pick one. And then repeat that slogan to yourself several times a day for at least 30 days in a row.
Dr. Zimmerman’s Tuesday Tip, Issue 976 – How to maximize the #1 FACTOR in determining your success