The last month or two have taught us more than what 3 or 4 years combined would have taught. I have laid down few truths that I shall live by rest of my life. These are like nuggets of wisdom and everyone could benefit from keeping them in mind.
- Greatest Asset: Economics the price is decided by market forces that are based on demand and supply for a commodity. The asset we talk about has a value that goes from infinite to nil according to the user’s mindset. It is the most scarce asset yet widely available for some according to users’ mindset. We’re talking about TIME! Ally of people who use it wisely and enemy of those who waste it recklessly. A lot of people who unfortunately lost their lives recently due to pandemics might also have thought they have time before they were affected. It is not that we don’t have enough time, but we (includes me) don’t value it enough.
It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it. Life is long enough, and a sufficiently generous amount has been given to us for the highest achievements if it were all well invested. But when it is wasted in heedless luxury and spent on no good activity, we are forced at last by death’s final constraint to realize that it has passed away before we knew it was passing. So it is: we are not given a short life but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it… Life is long if you know how to use it.Source
Above is an excerpt from the letters Seneca wrote around 65AD, still relevant a timeless advice. The point really is we have to value time and only we decide the value of our time. Being busy does not always mean valuing time, spending time on leisure does not always mean wasting time. A lot of great ideas actually come to mind when it is in a relaxed mode usually while doing fun activities like running, playing, or anything where you’re not actively thinking about a problem. So there has to be a fine balance such that you don’t regret the way you have spent your time when it’s gone. Practicing mindfulness is one way that might make us aware and leave us with a better understanding of how we should be spending our time. There’s no absolute right or wrong way to spend time, it’s your time and you are responsible for utilizing it.
- Thinking is important but so is Action: You could spend your entire day thinking, patting your back, and brushing your ego because you spent time thinking. But none of it is going to be useful if you don’t follow it up with action. You can think of great ideas, solutions to solving society’s problems but if you don’t get up and work those ideas are just in your mind and only you stay in your mind. They are of no use to the world.
“The duty and proof in life are in action”
Again a balance between thinking and doing is the way forward. Sometimes you take action without thinking and then you reflect back on it and think. Sometimes think carefully and then you take action. The point is you have to be doing both one without the other might not do as good to you as you want it to. As for me, thinking was the idea of this essay, and action was typing and hitting the publish button.
- Inculcate Saving as a habit: Giving more importance to saving than returns you earn is a little counterintuitive. But what we don’t understand is high savings rate now only helps us accumulate money but also sets us on the path of frugality. Say you earn INR 30,000 and manage to save one third i.e. INR 10,000. Now when you get a raise and your pay increases to say INR 40,000 you were already managing your expenses in INR 20,000 and can double your savings rate. All this is fine but why save in the first place? For starters save to accumulate wealth so that you don’t have to exchange your time for money. Save to be financially independent and be able to do what you want to without worrying about money. Save for retirement so that you can live comfortably when old, save so that events like this pandemic don’t break you financially.
In fact, Morgan Housel in his book The Psychology of Money suggests saving money without a specific use. Don’t attach saving an amount to any goal. This might come in handy anytime in the future. The basic point being save when you have the luxury of excesses, it never goes to waste.