Monday, July 8, 2013

Time Is Not Money

"If money is your hope for independence you will never have it. The only real security that a man will have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience and ability."

Henry Ford

“Waste neither Time nor Money, but make the best Use of both.”

Benjamin Franklin

“Don’t be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the year as you make use of. One man gets only a week’s value out of a year while another man gets a full year’s value out of a week.”

Charles Richards

Time is not money.  Time is time.  Money is not time.  Money is money.  I know that we all say that time is money.  Time, however, is far more valuable than money, but without money time is just a prison sentence.  The way to be free is to use both well. 
The phrase “Time is money” was coined by Benjamin Franklin in his letter, Advice to a Young Tradesman, Written by an Old One.  Franklin was saying that to waste time was to waste the potential to earn money.  That’s as good an idea today as it was in the 18th century when it was written.  Still, I think there are some crucial differences between time and money and they should be noted. 
Money is powerful.  It gives us, above all else, choices.  The more money I have, the more choices I have, in almost every area of my life.  But money has limits.  It can create respect, but not love.  It can create comfort, but not character.  It can give us more choices, but it can’t choose for us.  It can allow us to spend, but it can’t teach us to save.  It can improve my situation, but it can’t improve my relationships.  While money solves many problems, it doesn’t solve all of them.  It cannot change our inner being, but it can make us worse.  Or it can make those around us worse.  More accurately, it can make the worst in us come to the surface. 
One time some people close to me were upset with me.  They didn’t tell me directly, but I knew something was off.  I finally found out why.  They had heard that I had gotten rich, but I wasn’t sharing my wealth with them.   I’m not sure which aspect of this story is more disturbing
-       that people close to me were being less than honest;
-       that people close to me had determined that I was stingy; or
-       that people close to me expected me to share my money with them simply because (they thought) I had it.

It has been said that money changes people.  I don’t think it does.  I think it brings out what is already in people, good or bad, or maybe a combination of both.  The stories of lottery winners, who win millions only to lose it all within a few years, are almost proverbial.  (    The stories include murders, suicides and going from millions to living in a trailer park.   How do people go from having millions to having nothing?  This comes from the lack of knowledge of the worst in human nature in one’s self and in others.  It also comes from a lack of knowledge regarding how to handle money.  But most of all it comes from the lack of Purpose. 
The Purpose of money is not money itself, nor is it the ease money can provide.  The purpose of money is the same as every tool – to create a better quality of life internally and externally for others and for the self, to create a life that is safe and protective and works for those we love whether we’ve met them or not.   The purpose of money is to make the world a better place.  Many people are in not Purpose with their money.  That is why it slips so quickly through their hands.
Time is a completely different tool.  It is actually more valuable than money, but not everyone recognizes this.  Wasted money can be replaced; wasted time cannot.  Being in Purpose with time is even more important than being in Purpose with money.  With time, I can make money.  But no amount of money can create time.  (I suppose I can create time by paying others to do tasks that take my time, but I still have to manage time on my own.) 
There are examples of people who lost their money and then recovered it all.  But there are no stories of people who lost time and then regained it.  There are no time machines or magic spells.  There are no “do-overs.”  When I waste time, the only cure is to stop wasting time.  Time is our most precious asset.  Time with loved ones, time creating change, time being in Purpose – this is how to use time and make it work for me.  If I use time well, it is still not money.  It is actually far more valuable than money.  How I use time is in indicator of how I will use money. 
I also need to be thankful for both because both are gifts.   (Even if I earn the money, it’s still a gift.)  I need to use both wisely and well.  When I have one or both, I need to Get Started and Keep Going.