There Is No Such Thing As a Waste Of Time

We humans are incredible adept at self-deceit and easily live outside our own experience. There is massive evidence that we are strangers to ourselves, and that the vast majority of our behavior, feelings, choices, and actions arise from internal processes and out of conditions of which we are unaware and do not control. This “fact” is anathema to a culture of individuality based on principles of self-mastery and self-reliance.

I once marveled at how readily we point to a bad experience as the cause of our suffering or how quickly we attribute success to personal qualities, a pattern so humanly common it has been dubbed as the “self-serving bias” by Psychologists. We downplay everyday experiences, moments waiting in a line, or tracking down a computer error, or driving in a car on a routine task, claiming it to be a waste of time, as if such moments are trivia to be discarded or “junk code” in the DNA of our lives. It occurred to me in my early twenties, as one of my “5 core beliefs,” that I really do not know the value of any experience in the shaping of my self and my path in life.

I cannot say the time in line at the bank is less important than the first kiss that rocked my life because I do not know how my life and my character is shaped by events. Perhaps it was the wait in line that changed the timing of things to make that first kiss happen when it did! Or perhaps there is a form of character building from the way we go through life and handle life situations that includes all the moments of our life, not just when we rally for a cause, triumph over trouble, or win the prize. This insight, that experience is priceless, came to me as, “there is no such thing as a waste of time.”

The essential insight was based on two ideas that occurred to me as I was searching for how people get through potentially devastating situations in life. As I interviewed people who had experienced tragedies, I soon noticed a pattern that people tend to change the judgement of experiences over time. What once seemed terrible turns into a blessing at another time. Second, my interest in psychology and literature demonstrated that we are “at the mercy” of forces within us and beyond us. We truly do not know what may be forming inside of us or what forces may be guiding us at any given moment.

These two combined into the insight that human judgement serves only human purposes and cannot be applied to matters of the heart and soul. I knew I could “decide” that my time is better spent reading great literature than watching TV. But this is is a personal and social judgment about use of time. The value of “experience," the soul in the moment, can not be truly assessed by my limited human means. Who knows what might be forming inside of you right now or what greater forces may be guiding you, at this moment, toward a destiny you cannot foresee. We truly live in a wonderland and our lives are epic adventures, whether we know it or not!

This picture was taken at the country garden phoenix hotel in changsha china. The western Renaissance theme gives a sense of the greater forces within and arouund us.

This picture was taken at the country garden phoenix hotel in changsha china. The western Renaissance theme gives a sense of the greater forces within and arouund us.

In my early 20's. I created a set of 5 core beliefs
based on experiences and insights of the time.
For other blog entries about my 5 core beliefs,
click on the core belief tag at the bottom of this email.

What if you lived your life as if something magical was underway, behind the scenes or under the surface?

What if your soul was on an epic adventure,
even when you think you are "wasting time"
or doing something that seems,
on the surface, to be trivial?

This heightened sense that something vital and amazing is happening, of which we are unaware, can turn life on its tail and give what seems "ordinary" an extraordinary edge!

Please share your thoughts and comments below!

© Nick LeForce
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