Having heard the diverse stories from our season one guests, I’ve reflected on curiosity, mental health, and serendipity. However, in this final reflection, I want to focus on something that weaves through all three previous musings. Time; its value, it’s scarcity and power.
We recently interviewed Carmen D’Alessio, Impresario behind Studio 54 and one of our first guests in Season 2.
In the interview she references a great quote on time;
The past is history, the future is a mystery, today is a gift, and that’s why we call it the present.
The concept that time is a precious gift was possibly best expressed by
the 17th Century Preacher, Jonathan Edwards, as he laid our reasons why.
- Time is precious in proportion to its importance or the degree it affects our welfare.
- Time is short and limited.
- We have no insight into its continuance or how long we have
- And when it is past, it can not be recovered.
Although serendipity has impacted the different journeys of all our guests, it’s their value of time and the patterns that emerge around how they’ve used time that defines them.
Psychologist Philip Zimbardo set out the optimal perspective on time – called the Optimal Temporal Mix that combines a positive view of the past with a life goal-orientated view of the future with a joyful view of the present. But critically it’s the mental flexibility to shift between perspectives that lead to success.
I witnessed this with Ryder Carroll and the focused intentionality of his Bullet Journal method, with and Andrew Santella during his interview on procrastination and in Shantell Martin through her enlightened and powerful insights into what is being human actually is, on her journey through time.
So if there is one thing I’d urge all listeners to take from season one. It’s to avoid squandering, undervaluing, or giving away our gift of time. As the Preacher said, once that moment is past it’s never coming back. Every moment matters.
All of us, regardless of age, education or experience have an innate and bountiful supply of creativity and imagination, and in every moment, with intentionality, we have an opportunity to mine it, nurture it and apply it to craft the future we desire.
Whatever age you are, think about the aggregated moments of time you have on this blue planet we call Earth. Our time is precious, we can’t earn more, we can’t buy more, we can certainly save it, avoid wasting it but day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment we are spending it.
Reflecting on our guests’ impact has made me question my application of time. The past is the past, but it’s made me more focused on becoming more intentional with how I spend my time in the future.
It’s why I am so concerned by how our time is increasingly controlled by technology that commands our attention in a manner that not only dilutes our intentionality but threatens to destroy our identities and societies.
Whether we value it or not, our time has immense value, to what the center for humane technology call, the extractive attention economy, which mines our time and attention through well-designed mechanisms of mass distraction.
To a greater or lesser degree, as we surrender our time without heed, to the digital addiction apps, we struggle to separate fact from fiction, fall victim to political manipulation and ideological polarization and increasingly suffer from social superficiality of shallow media that impacts the mental health of ourselves and our children.
Instead of being distracted by the superficial commercial or transient content that bombards us,
It is time for us to re-evaluate the preciousness of moments and the power we have to craft the future we desire.
Writer and designer Nir Eyal considers the opposition of distraction to be traction, not attention. – the traction we have when we focus our time and attention on constructive actions.
To gain more traction, we need to reclaim our time and our minds. Turn off those notifications, delete some apps, and leave home without your phone.
I, for one, am starting to question, challenge, and confront the reality of my virtual side of life.
As I strive to be more social – with others in person and not apps, to seek and engage with people of Different perspectives
From different cultures
With different ideas
Look up, look around and look into the eyes of who I am present with
Listen and learn not from the propaganda that’s become my newsfeed but from books and the universal wisdom passed down through centuries.
I feel this is the time to apply more curiosity, embrace serendipity, and become more mentally agile.
I think this will be time well spent.
See you next week for the start of Season 2.