Emotional Wellbeing


Mental Health

Mandy Kloppers

Time is more important than money

time and money photo

Time is more important than money

I just don’t get it. I regularly witness people working their butts off, coming in to the office early and going home late at night. They spend a disproportionate amount of their time sitting in the office working. Often, these same people aren’t the newest apprentice eagerly trying to learn the ropes. They are the owners, shareholders and top authorities in their successful businesses. Money isn’t an issue yet they still slog away. They tell me they like working. I would like to take their word for it but when I delve a little deeper, there is more often than not an underlying issue they are trying to avoid or escape. Perhaps, stopping for a while scares them? When we stop for a while and contemplate what we are doing, what will happen if we realise how meaningless our actions really are in the grand scheme of things? What if we suddenly become aware that we have actually been in denial?  What if we realise that we are afraid of change and have just been keeping our busy head down, clinging to the safety of the existing life structure we have carved out, even if it no longer works for us?

People fool themselves on a daily basis. People don’t really know themselves. In fact, the majority don’t know what makes them happy. Food for thought.

In my opinion, the ‘rich’ person is the one who has quality of life. The wise person who realises that time is more precious than anything else and uses it wisely is the one who will look back with the highest sense of peace and contentment. Chasing money has become an obsession that has taken us ‘off course’ and leaving more people than ever feeling lost and empty.

Working has become an acceptable way to define ourselves and chaos reigns when people  retire or move away from their defined work-based roles. They start asking questions like, “who am I?”. They often have no idea who they are outside of their defined role at work. A sad state of affairs. There are ways to lessen the impact of the defined roles that you have taken ownership of.

What to do:

1) Apart from your work title ( I hate them) how would you describe yourself? Imagine having to describe yourself to a complete stranger without making any reference to your job. Many people find this difficult to do – very telling.

2) Is your work life successful but the rest of your life suffering? Research shows that connecting with others and experiences bring us more joy than material possessions. Great if you can combine the two but ensure you have balance and make time for other pursuits.

3) Take stock of how you view your worthiness. Is all your self worth tied up with what you DO rather than who you are as a person? When your sense of worth is closely aligned with your work role/position you are essentially basing your self worth on a precarious connection. Learn to like the person, not the achiever.

4) Society rewards material success but this won’t earn any longterm personal fulfilment points. What should be rewarded is kindness, compassion and selflessness. I have visited many old age homes and have never seen photos up of cars, houses, certificates etc. All that it boils down to is pets, friends and family.

5) Maintain perspective. Sometimes a major crisis brings us to our senses and forces us to shift our priorities. We don’t need a crisis to be aware of what is really important in life.Don’t pass up valuable time with friends and family to work unless it is absolutely necessary. Most people get their worth from their work, not from their relatives and friends and therein lies the problem. If we tweak our thinking we can actively change our priorities.

6) We live in a time poor, cash rich society and I believe this can lead to more ruthless selfish and self serving behaviour. Use your resources to improve the world. We are all connected and helping others comes back to you. Maybe not today but the message gets out there and your influence may go further than you imagine.

Ultimately, I have seen enough evidence of how defining yourself according to how ‘successful’ you are (and what exactly is success? – Millions in the bank or true peace of mind?) in terms of money, status and power leads to emptiness and unhappiness. We chase what we think will make us happy, expend all this effort, only to find out that we were chasing the wrong things.

Remember that time is more important than money. If you are cash rich, use some of it  for a good purpose. Spend time redefining who you without including  your profession and get back to basics. Life can become meaningless if we chase things as a means to personal fulfilment. Be mindful, appreciate the here and now. Time is precious. Are you using it well?

Mandy X


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