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Outlier’s Path

 Units of Time

While listening to “Non-Stop” by Hamilton, my twelve-year-old son complained that he didn’t have enough time and asked me how he should think about units of time. This inquiry reminded me of our former “7 Questions” series and how I answered the same question in 2018. Below is an updated reflection.

For me, there are three critical units of time: the moment, the chapter, and the book. When my son was born, a friend shared the adage, “the days are long, but the years are short.” In one sense, every second counts because you’re never getting that moment back. To the best of your ability, make every moment count. Don’t let time pass you by.

After the moment, the next unit of time is more nebulous: it could be a day, a year, even a decade, or longer. Looking backward, what period completes a finished chapter or a significant milestone? Hopefully, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment about that milestone, or at least you can apply what you’ve learned to future chapters.

Then, at the end of your life, will your book tell the story of someone who fought hard on a worthwhile journey leaving an enduring impact? Was your life a purpose-filled and meaningful story? Who will line up to tell your story?

Finally, as we all struggle with time, I will leave you with a quote from Steve Jobs that I read to my son, “your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”