When you have five minutes of down-time, how do you spend that time?
1. Wasting Five Minutes
When you have five minutes of down-time, how do you spend that time? Most people use it as an excuseto rest or laze.
By lazing for 5 five minute breaks each day, we waste 25 minutes daily. That’s 9,125 minutes per year (25 X 365). Sadly, my guess is we’re wasting far more time than that.
I was once told by my 9th grade English teacher that if I read every time I had a break–even if the break was just for a minute or two–that I’d get a lot more reading done than expected. She was right. Every time I finished my work early, or had a spare moment, I’d pick up a book and read.
How we spend our periodic five minute breaks is a determining factor to what we achieve in our lives. Every little bit adds up.
Why can we justify wasting so much time?
2. Not Valuing One Dollar
I was recently in Wal-Mart with my mother-in-law buying a few groceries. While we were in the check-out line, I pointed an item out to her I thought was interesting (honestly can’t remember what it is anymore).
What stuck out to me is that she said, “One dollar. That’s a lot of money!”
Why this surprised me is that my in-laws are not short of money. Actually, this happened while we were on a family trip (30+ people) at Disney World–the whole thing being paid for by them.
Understanding the value of one dollar is the same as coming to appreciate the value of time. To thoughtlessly spend one dollar may not seem like a big deal, but it actually is. That frivolous spending compounded over a long enough time could be millions. It also reflects a lack of care about the details, which is where the true art and value lies.
Additionally, most millionaires are “self-made”, 80 percent being first-generation rich, and 75 percent being self-employed. Not getting paid hourly challenges you to take more responsibility for every minute and every dollar. Consequently, a great majority of millionaires are extremely frugal–or at least highly mindful–with their money.
3. Believing Success Will Make You Happy
“One of the enemies of happiness is adaptation” says Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a Cornell psychologist who has studied the relationship between money and happiness for over two decades.
“We buy things to make us happy, and we succeed. But only for a while. New things are exciting to us at first, but then we adapt to them,” Gilovich further states.
Actually, savoring the anticipation or idea of a desired outcome is generally more satisfying than the outcome itself. Once we get what we want–whether that’s wealth, health, or excellent relationships–we adapt and the excitement fades. Often, the experiences we’re seeking end up being underwhelming and even disappointing.
I love watching this phenomena in our foster kids. They feel like they need a certain toy or the universe will explode. Their whole world revolves around getting this one thing. Yet, once we buy the toy for them, it’s not long before the joy fades and they want something else.
Until you appreciate what you currently have, more won’t make your life better.
4. Believing You’re Not Up For the Challenge
Just as we deceive ourselves into believing something will make us happier than it will, we also deceive ourselves into believing something will be harder than it will.
The longer you procrastinate or avoid doing something, the more painful (in your head) it becomes. However, once you take action, the discomfort is far less severe than you imagined. Even to extremely difficult things, humans adapt.
I recently sat on a plane with a lady who has 17 kids. Yes, you read that correctly. After having eight of her own, her and her husband felt inspired to foster four siblings whom they later adopted. A few years later, they took on another five foster siblings whom they also adopted.
Of course, the initial shock to the system impacted her entire family. But they’re handling it. And believe it or not, you could handle it too, if you had to.
The problem with dread and fear is that it holds people back from taking on big challenges. What you will find , no matter how big or small the challenge, is that you will adapt to it.
When you consciously adapt to enormous stress, you evolve.
5. Pursuing “Happiness”
“There is no way to happiness–happiness is the way.”–Thich Nhat Hanh
Most people believe they must:
• First have something (e.g., money, time, or love)
• Before they can do what they want to do (e.g., travel the world, write a book, start a business, or have a romantic relationship)
• Which will ultimately allow them to be something (e.g., happy, peaceful, content, motivated, or in love).
Paradoxically, this have–do–be paradigm must actually be reversed to experience happiness, success, or anything else you desire.
• First you be whatever it is you want to be (e.g., happy, compassionate, peaceful, wise, or loving)
• Then you start doing things from this space of being.
• Almost immediately, what you are doing will bring about the things you want to have.
You attract what you are. If you want the things happy people have, you must be happy to get those things. If you want things wealthy people have, you must be and live wealthy to have those things.
Results translate from attitudes and behaviors. Not the other ways around.