Our Most Valuable Asset

What is our most valuable asset? Is it your house, car, or investment portfolio?

What is the most valuable thing a man can possess? Intelligence, physical strength, good looks?

In my discovery, I have realized that the most precious asset a man can have is Time!!!  A man cannot enjoy his home, spend his wealth or display his intelligence if one does not have time to do so.

Some people are conceived into great wealth; others are born into poverty. Some individuals have Ivy League degrees, while others are high school dropouts. There are those who are genetically gifted athletes and others, physically challenged. But regardless of our backgrounds and talents, all of us have the same number of seconds in a day. Time is the common denominator of all.

Every human being on this earth is a millionaire.  One might pause, and look at their bank account and conclude that this statement is false.  But …we spend 31 million seconds every year. At 31 years of age, I have already spent 961 million seconds on this earth. Think about the attention you give to your money. Working hard to make money, tracking that money in your bank account, researching the best ways to invest money, reading about ways to make more money.  You would never leave your wallet sitting out in the open, would you? You would never give your ATM bank card and password to a bunch of strangers.

If time is more valuable than money, then why do we waste it on things that do not matter? We typically do not value our time like we do our money. As I look over my life, I wasted a good proportion of my time/wealth on things that bring no value to my life. Whether spending too much time on social media, watching television, and obsessing over the things that only bring temporary pleasure. We routinely let people steal our time away from us, even though it’s our most valuable possession.

So how do we break free? Consider three examples of what I like to call “time-thieves”, and how you can guard yourself from this form of grand larcen

1. Schedule everything, in priority order.

You may feel silly blocking out a half hour in iCal or Microsoft Office and labeling it “Quiet Time/Devotion” or “Exercise,” but it’s the only way to ensure that those things stay on the agenda, rather than being constantly squeezed out by “random” things that pop up. A great planner, whether digital or old-fashioned paper, is your friend. Put in the things that matter most first (don’t forget family dinners!) and then honor those “appointments.”

2. Start the night before.

I find it helpful to take a minute just before bed to look at the calendar for the next couple of days and see what’s coming up for myself and my family. Then I jot down to-dos for the following day, and rough out a schedule for getting it all done. It allows me to lie down with a clear mind, knowing that I have a plan, and calms the anxiety that something important might fall through the cracks. You might also want to consider a more in-depth time of planning over the weekend to do meal planning and other essentials to help the week run smoothly.

3. Beware of the sneaky time stealers.

There are so many things pulling at our attention in this plugged-in, ultra-busy world that it’s very easy to lie down at night exhausted yet frustrated that you didn’t accomplish any of the things that mattered most to you. The common time thieves of social media, Television, email, dis-organized home, and random errands & shopping are to be avoided—or ruthlessly managed—to prevent them from monopolizing your precious time.

Time is so important because we only have a limited amount. Looking back on life with regret is only a waste of time if you didn’t learn and grow from those experiences, and I do not believe you are ever wasting time if you are learning, growing, and broadening your understanding of yourself, your interests and humanity itself. Now is a powerful word, something many people have a hard time grasping.

Everyone wants to make changes to their lives, but I’ve discovered that only those who act decisively and have the self-control to put something into action at will are the most successful human beings, and able to alter the course of their lives. We should all freely be enjoying our time while also respecting it, and using our time to mold ourselves like clay into an ideal self-image of our God given purpose. This should be one of our most treasured goals in life, and I think we should all be using our time in this manner.

By Walter Mendenhall

Walter completed his initial Urban weekend for men in 2013 and is currently enrolled in our Two-Year Transformational program. Having accomplished his lifelong dream of making it to the National Football League (NFL), Walter’s desire for mentoring and teaching young people prompted him to walk away from football to focus on pursuing his passion for teaching the next generation of leaders.

He is currently a professor at Northeastern Illinois University (Leadership Development) and South Suburban College (Sociology), and a successful motivational speaker and mentor.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Walter Mendenhall