Three Steps to Turn Time into Wealth
3 Steps to Turn Time into Wealth
Through the years, I’ve learned (usually the hard way) that there are two essential elements in life’s periodic table: Time and Health. While everything is built upon a foundation of both time and health, time is the most important of the “importants.” Much like Hydrogen in the periodic table, every element of the periodic table of life is dependent upon time.
I was reminded of the element of time the other day when I sold and bought some Ethereum (tax loss harvesting maneuver- ask your advisor about it!). I can’t feel it or hold Ethereum, but it is measurable, finite in quantity, can be transactionally used and keeps going 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Time is like that, except you can’t accumulate it in a blockchain wallet.
On its own, time doesn’t make you rich or wealthy, but we need time to accumulate riches, and, more importantly, we need time to discover and enhance our why on our way to becoming wealthy. I think you would agree that time is essential to our journey of building wealth, however, it is so often taken for granted and under-appreciated by all of us. Time just happens, like it always has, without any effort on our part.
So this challenge is before us – we must learn to both recognize and use the time that we’ve been given! When we do so wisely, we can use that time to build our true wealth. Here are three practical steps to get started:
1. Become Aware of Time
When you become aware of your time, you will automatically begin to appreciate your time. Quite frankly, time is a finite blessing. You, your possessions, and your loved ones all have a time limit. While we don’t know exactly what the limit will be, we do know that when the time is gone, it’s gone. And most of the time, it feels like it’s gone too soon.
When my mother was in her valiant battle with Stage 4 breast cancer, we all knew, including her, that time was short. Treatments, recurrence, pain, wheelchair, SNF, hospice – you get the picture. During one of our too few and long-overdue bedside conversations, she told me she wanted to visit her college sophomore granddaughter at Princeton to see her at varsity fencing practice. “I’ve never seen an ivy league campus,” she said. My reaction? “Mom, you’re in too much pain. How do we get the wheelchair on the airplane, train and around campus? I have cases booked three months out that can’t wait and my patients will be mad at me. Airfares are really high right now…”
We never made it.
That haunts me to this day. In my prioritizing time for the What, my mother, my daughter and I lost out on experiencing one of our greatest whys. Regret is a lifelong Why Killer. Don’t learn the hard lessons, learn the easy way.
Time is quantity limited and relied upon in every area of life. It should be used wisely and not wasted! When you become aware of that time, you will cherish it, you will be purposeful on how you spend it, and you will recognize the ways you can impact the time of those you love.
2. Invest Time into Your Why
If you’ll remember from the previous posts, your what is mostly found in material things – money, houses, titles – while your why is an accumulation of those things that can’t necessarily be measured – irreplaceable moments with your loved ones, feelings of gratitude, joy and fulfillment.
When it comes to investing your time, you can and should invest time to acquire the what, but the real magic happens when you invest in the why. Here’s why: when you invest your time into the what, your yield is directly proportional to your investment- 1.2 patients/exam room-hour, for example. Sound familiar? One patient through and you get a cha-ching (that’s a vintage cash register sound for you Gen Z). However, when it comes to investing time into the why, the yield is not proportional at all! Even a little time in can have a massive yield. We all have precious memories of experiences that were brief yet incredibly life changing.
Let me give you an example. Once while I was hiking along the forest edge in the Grand Tetons, the sun made my glasses transition lenses turn dark. The trail turned and entered into the dense forest, and with my dark lenses, I couldn’t see much at all. About ten seconds into this trail, I heard some crackling branches to my left. I could smell and feel a warm, musty breath (I swear I brushed that morning in the hotel!). Still blinded by my dark glasses, I could barely make out a huge furry head with round ears and large shoulders undulating directly toward me. I turned tail and ran with a grizzly bear in pursuit. (For the fellow novices, this was not the proper and safe response to my situation.) Fortunately for me, this bear got bored after a short chase (or he didn’t have a taste for old sinewy meat that’s eaten too much sushi.)
Either way, that thirty seconds is etched in my memory (and in the memories of my haranguing family and friends…)
When it comes to your time, you will use less of it and make a bigger impact on your life when you choose to invest it into your why.
3. Use Your What to Leverage Your Time
The saying is true – you can’t buy time. BUT, you can buy tools! There are countless opportunities around us to use our what to leverage our time.
We’ll dive into efficiency and value opportunities in the future, but your what can buy gear and services that save you time in the present. Would you benefit from a virtual assistant? Could you invest money into a class or a lesson that will improve your efficiency? Time-saving tools are one of the best uses for your what. Don’t settle for the status quo and the current way we do things. Your time is valuable and precious. Use your what to leverage your time so that you can use that time to pursue your why.
Time continues to move fast. It reminds me of a Japanese Shinkansen bullet train – you have exactly 60 seconds to get on or off the train at every stop, so you better be ready! In the same way, be prepared to use your time wisely. We are headed toward building true wealth, and you don’t want to miss the ride!
*Terance Tsue MD FACS, as Manager of TTTsue LLC