Making use of time
BUSINESS AFTER BUSINESS - Girlie Garces (The Freeman) - May 1, 2014 - 12:00am

In the meeting of American President Barack Obama with students in Malaysia, one of the scholars asked what the president regretted not doing.  To this, the president said, he could have spent more time with his sick mother when he was younger, and possibly learned more from the quality exchanges with her as one of the major influences in his life.  Having been in the developing years of his career, he did not have that much focus on what he realized later was essential and possibly in this case, fleeting as his mother eventually succumbed to cancer. 

His other big regret is wasted time.

Both regrets actually point to the importance of using time wisely and making the right choices.  Taking this thought to bed that night, I woke up to find my breakfast filled with thoughts.  Introspections I rarely make these days with the demands of work, and life in general.  I took a rundown on what were really important to me.  At middle age, you realize this is the time you should make the real decisions.  You don't have the luxury of wasting time like you did in your teens.  But even that is wasted as it is.  Instead of lingering on the note of regret, it is best to see what can be done.

So I pose the same question to you.  What is it really that you think you are here for?  What is it you like to do?  What makes you happy?  What have you long wanted to try but were too hung-up to do so? Where have you invested most of your time?  Have these spent moments brought you closer to what your ultimate desire in life is?  In the creation of your business, or the pursuit of your career, what is your real objective?  When would you say you are satisfied?

Actually, this exercise is very much like strategic planning.  It is actually thinking strategically about how you have used half of your life and continue to use the remaining half.

When I asked some of my friends how they were and how they intend to pursue what they really want to do, they just gave me a moue and a nonchalant toss of their head with a shrugged "there isn't much one can do these days.  The environment does not seem to encourage any drastic changes.  It is like we just have to take a standstill and see how things unfold."

True enough, God said "be still and know…" and we must be still and know…the thing is, are we being still, and have we really thought about what God's purpose in our life is?  Or are we just wasting time pursuing the things that do not really add value or even bring us closer to what we wished we could be or achieve?

Meditating on God's purpose in life is Rick Warren's intent in his book, the Purpose Driven Life.  And we could have learned from the daily meditations.  The book has been in the market for the longest time, and I have wondered if we ever took to read it and for those who made it through those forty days, whether they seriously took note of their purpose and were driven by it.

In Obama's talk with the Malaysian students, he encouraged them to "be optimistic about your future."

Despite how hard the world seems to be, according to President Obama, today is the best time to truly live.  With the uprising of challenges that beset us every day, the climate change, the political upheavals and changes in social perspectives, this generation is equipped like no other generation to meet what is coming to us.

We have technology, easy communication access, and an open system where support is granted to those who can innovate and be what they want to be.  We have a more tolerant community but also a more conscious and vigilant civil society.  Things move faster as communication is quicker.  Understanding, hopefully, deeper with lesser self-interest and more pursuit for the common good.

If energies were geared towards improving the lives, not just of one country but the total citizenry of the world, then perhaps, time would not be so wasted.  Food shortages may not be felt as economies will be shared. 

But those are big thoughts, and only a few of big dreams come true.  It is the small wishes that take a day at a time to pursue that may in time be achieved.  But they do not just occur.  They have to be worked for and worked at. 

What is my point?  What is President Obama's point?  It is to do a personal inventory of what contribution one can make to provide solutions to emerging concerns.  Even if the solutions will only be for their families, or their immediate communities.  If each one will just find out what he or she can do to better lives.  If it is a business, then what business can provide a service that can enrich not just the entrepreneur but his clients as well?  When social responsibility is programmed with every business plan,  then  time will not be wasted and more relevant and lasting solutions will be reached to pressing problems that beset the world. 

Yes, we think world now.  Not just America, the Philippines or China.  So let us find how we can make our time useful, and instead of always complaining, why don't we try to find what we can offer to help keep peace.

Make use of time wisely.

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