Life isn’t about the ticking clock – Podcast

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At the end of each year I see many articles that seek to remind people “the clock is ticking.” Many of us see the New Year’s countdown as another sign that another hour, day, week or month has slipped away.  I must admit, when I sat down to write this column, I too started thinking about the ticking clock and how it might effect what I do in the next year…or 20.
Once you reach a certain age (I am almost 50) that clock takes on a different importance in your life that is hard to ignore. Based on statistical probability, there are probably fewer years ahead of you than behind. As I started down this road of thought in my mind, though, I realized that the ticking clock really doesn’t matter.


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Time passes

For me, time’s passing is one of those things that is simply not worth worrying about. Time will pass regardless of what you do. It is truly something that we have no control over at all. I can’t slow down time, nor can I stop it in its path. It simply “is”. Worrying about it only darkens my days and takes attention from those things that truly matter. While I might not advise you to forget about important things like stopping smoking or losing a few pounds, as for time, I say forget about it. Take each day as it comes, because come it will without any help from you.

Instead of letting the ticking clock rattle around in your brain and rattle your nerves, focus on what really matters in your life…doing great work! The good we do with our time here on Earth is something we have in our direct control. Every action can work towards good or ill. Every movement can help ourselves and others live a better, brighter, more enjoyable life. You will be surprised how little the ticking clock matters when you are in the midst of life changing work. I know for myself that great work is a like a time machine. I might be growing older physically, but my spirit grows younger. I emerge from a great work session energized, excited and exalted. While I am so deeply involved, I can’t hear the ticking clock or even acknowledge its presence. This is where you need to be, too.

The here and now

The past is history. The future is yet to be decided, but the present is here and now. How you spend your time right now — the next minute or hour — is what truly matters. Too many of us allow ourselves to be swept away on future dreams or future horrors — ignoring the present that is all around us. I am sure you know people like this. Their worries carry them farther and farther from what truly needs their focus until they spend more time worrying about the future, or lamenting their past, than trying to make their present better.

Don’t be like them, please. Past and future take care of themselves, but the present needs your attention. What small actions can you take in the next 5 minutes that make you happier, smarter, richer? What small actions can you take for others that help them with the same? If you could do anything right now — and I believe you can — what would you do? What would do the most to drown out the ticking clock and allow you to forget it even exists? Start making a list. I can guarantee you that once you start thinking in these terms the ideas will begin to flow. Be prepared to capture them and work on them in the days to come.

“Time and tide wait for no man” has always been true and no more in our seemingly accelerated present. They need not wait, though, and you need not wait, nor pay attention to them. Your focus is on your good work, your accomplishments, your happiness, not some arbitrary tick of time from the mantle shelf. Don’t fall victim to the endless ticking. Stop your clocks, if it helps you to break free. Instead of 60 ticks around the face of a clock, see 60 accomplishments, 60 tasks, 60 individual actions that lead up to a great life for you and and those around you. In this way, it matters little when your clock stops ticking as you can be assured you made the best use of your time possible.


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