“Time is really the only capital that any human being has, and the only thing he can’t afford to lose” – Thomas Edison
How can you and I possibly use this leadership quote?
Do you spend time or do you invest it? What is the difference? Let me ask you a different question to help with the context.
How much does your TV cost?
When I ask people that question most of them go off and tell me what sort of TV they have and how much it cost them.
Did it is cost you 500, 1000 dollars, pounds? Is it 42 inch, 50 inch, is it LED? Is it 3-D?
You see, I didn’t ask you how much you paid for it. The question was in the present tense. What you paid for it isn’t what it’s costing you. Now let’s put a value on it. How many hours a day or a week do you watch the TV?
Let’s say you watch two hours a day on average. That is over 90 working days a year at an eight-hour day. In a normal working pattern, that is four months or more. Let’s just reflect on the cost of that for a minute and we might start to get an idea of how much your TV cost you.
$200,000 a year?
Okay, let’s say you are being paid 30,000 a year and that therefore, four months of your time is worth 10,000. How much would your business have to take in sales to drop 10,000 a year to the bottom line? Depending on the margin of your business I suggest it’s between 20,000 and 200,000 a year.
If you are used to doing margin calculations, you will know how much your business makes as a margin. You will also know your compensation package. It’s probably more than 30,000 a year, isn’t it?
I suggest to you therefore that your TV is costing you between 20,000 and 200,000 a year. It wouldn’t be difficult to come up with a bigger figure would it? One thing for sure, your TV doesn’t cost you $500 or £500.
Now let’s talk more about this great leadership quote.
As an aside, if you spend a lot of time watching news programmes, I suggest you probably feel down at the end of them very regularly as well. Does that help you? It’s worth asking because I know that when I watch less news, I feel better for it.
Of course, you should keep up-to-date with current affairs and if there is a specific area which is relevant to your life or business, then you certainly need to concentrate on that if there is a major issue within it. Motivation and positive thinking is a subject for other Quotes of the Week but I think you understand my point.
And if you say to me, I don’t spend that sort of time watching TV, I bet you spend that sort of time doing something that you’re not particularly proud of when you stand back and think about it.
How could you invest that four months a year?
I suggest you should invest your time in yourself. You can learn a lot in four months. Invest the time improving your knowledge in a specific area which will help you in your life. Improve your knowledge and skills and the return on your 20,000 (200,000?) investment will be many multiples over the next years of your life. You have nothing else to invest.
Spend or invest?
So, I ask you again. Do you spend your time or do you invest it? Remember, time is your only real capital and it is the only thing you cannot afford to lose. Listen to Thomas Edison and use these wise words to inspire you to invest your time in yourself.
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