The Reason for Time and Money: What Matters Most

And How to Identify what Matters Most to You

What matters most to you? If you had more time and money, how would that help you pursue what matters most?

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Saving money is great. Making money is fun. Being hyper-efficient makes you feel super-human. (Or is that last one only true for me?)

But having more time and money fails to satisfy unless directed toward a greater end.

Don’t get me wrong. We can trick ourselves into living as though having more money or being more efficient are ends in themselves. But ultimately, they aren’t. And somewhere, deep down at least, we know it.

This is not a new reality. Over 2,300 years ago, Aristotle tackled the question of human happiness in his Nicomachean Ethics. His insight is as true today as it was then, though perhaps less obvious to us. “Wealth,” he writes, “is evidently not the good we are seeking; for it is merely useful and for the sake of something else.”

What is the “something else” for which you’d like to have more time? What is the “something else” for which you seek to have more money?

A car? A house? Both of those are fine things. Such material goods can motivate us. Even money, which is just a means of acquiring other things, can motivate us, as Aristotle points out.

But for me—and I’d wager this is true for most people—there is something beyond material goods that is even more motivating. What is really motivating is whatever matters most to each of us.

What matters most to me is my faith, my family, and the opportunity to better them and the world through my work. I ultimately want to have more time and money so that I can have a bigger impact in those most important areas of my life.

Getting clear on what matters most helps us have the most leveraged impact we can with the time we save and the money we earn. Are you clear on what matters most to you?

If not, here is a simple way to get clarity, inspired by a Catholic saint, Ignatius of Loyola:

How to Get Clear on What Matters Most to You

  1. Go off by yourself for 30 minutes.
  2. Imagine yourself on your deathbed. (Cheery thought, I know, but hear me out.) Picture it to the best of your ability. What will you look like? Who will be there beside you?
  3. Ask yourself: what, at that moment, will you wish you had lived for?
  4. Write that down. That is what actually matters most to you even now. (And I bet it wasn’t a car or even a house!)

Once you know what matters most to you, it’s time to get more money and time to pursue it!

And that’s where this blog comes in. I love striving to have more time and money, because with those powerful resources I can make a bigger impact on what matters most. And I can’t wait, in future posts, to share many tips and tricks with you to help you do the same!

Question: What matters most to you? What would you pursue if you had more time and money? You can leave a comment by clicking here. And if you liked this post, sign up here so that you never miss a future post.

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2 thoughts on “The Reason for Time and Money: What Matters Most

  1. RE: What matters most to you? What would you pursue if you had more time and money?

    I thought about the death bed question and perhaps it is a trick question. My students recently gave me an 80th birthday card for my 39’Th (quasi 40’Th) birthday. I told them they were half right if I live to be almost 80. (Not all that inconceivable given how quickly the first 1/2 has flown bye).

    While I have neglected to methodically live out this portion of my life with teaspoons carefully planning each day with an appropriate mile marker, I have come to realize like the Pink Floyd song goes, I missed the starting gun. Or did I?

    In the end, our journey is all we have. Sure, I might miss the company of my past acquaintances or the lost opportunities of raising a family, more money, free-time, but that is something we lose at the end of our road anyway.

    Attachment is the root of suffering?

    It is in letting go of my worries, fears, and anxieties of inadequacy that I begin to find liberation.

    Perhaps my end will come as little consequence, hardly missed by a soul. Sometimes I fear being alone, but is that not just a deception of our times? There is unity in solitude. Why should I fear it?

    After-all, I have to live with my-self day in and day out. Am I am less complete alone than I am when recognized/compensated by others?

    Perhaps the answer is at least a partial-yes. When it comes to the acquisition of money, at least historically, there is a need to create something of tangible value for the benefit of others.

    I wonder if my profession as an educator is more aligned to that of a “noble beggar” as the value of an education in and of its-self does not produce tangible goods or services unless put into practice at a future time. Nor do our spiritual and social gurus directly create tangle value. While one might argue that the value of just action creates tangible value, after-all, a shirt manufacturer in India or China may or may not be just in the way he or she chooses to operate. We know that the classic term “sweat shop” literally means thousands of people making peanuts under very difficult working conditions. But hey, just as there is value in being an informed consumer, there is also value in a bigger profit margin.
    It goes without saying, that if I went through joy of creating something of tangible or intangible value, that I ought to take the same care in consuming (or not consuming) -inevitably in my case, a process that involves the careful discretion of my wife.

    It’s nice to run around, do things, enjoy each-others presence and cherish our moments on this temporal plane. But these times like all others are fleeting.

    Is it not my purpose to find joy whenever and wherever it can be found without worrying about the uncontrollable and unforeseeable?