“The most valuable commodity I know of is information.” Certainly a very powerful quote from the great film, Wall Street.
The only thing is, I think Gekko was dead wrong. Dead wrong about a lot of things he said, but let’s focus on this one. The thing I actually do give him (or his character) credit for is the three words, “I know of” After all, Gordon Gekko was certainly entitled to his opinion. Everyone is. To me, however, the most valuable commodity we have that “I know of” is TIME. Let’s take a look at why.
Time Gives Us Access To Information
If I had all the time in the world, I can get my hands on more information then I would ever need. In addition to what I am doing with my life now, if I had the time I could also…
Go to school and be a lawyer…
Be a doctor
Be an astronaut
Be a Politician
Travel to every country and continent in the world more than 178 times
… and a heck of a lot more. If I only had the time.
Time gives us access to information, and the information we have is limited ONLY by the time we have to spend on getting that information.
In Gekko’s case, he was being shady and corrupt and simply paying someone to get inside information. Let’s just say, however, the information he was paying for was legit. The key thing to keep in mind is that he was paying to get information that he didn’t have the time to do himself. But what he did have is MONEY. How did he get a lot of money? He spent a lot of TIME learning how to make money.
Everything comes down to time management . We can either spend our time wisely or, quite simply, time will use us. It is our choice.
Information Without Putting It To Use Is Useless
I don’t have the exact reference (I don’t have the TIME to find it) but I can tell you that there is significant scientific evidence that as human beings, we only tap into a very tiny portion of the information that we actually have stored inside of that thing between our ears called our brains.
It is the application of information that brings what we know to life and makes it useful. It is also a scientific fact that we know more ‘useless’ information then we know what to do with.
Fear is Information Turned Bad
One example of useless information is fear. I call it information gone bad. Fear is the compilation of information we have that allows us to fantasize about things that simply do not exist. Where do we get fear? From information. Whether it is from movies we have seen, things we have heard in the street, it is all information we have gathered that we later use to make us afraid of something that doesn’t exist.
A friend of mine told me that scientifically, fear is defined as one of only two things: something we either hear or we feel. Jumping back when we hear a noise or, jerking our hands away when we put our hands on a hot stove would be scientific examples of fear. So, quite naturally, I asked him, “What’s all the other stuff then?” His answer… “It’s in your head.” Basically, information turned bad or, using information to hurt you instead of help you. We will get on to fear in another post but all I can say is since he told me that, I have looked at things quite differently. Bottom line, information can work for us and it can work against us.
Time is Finite, Information is Infinite
To me, mastering my time is futile because it always beats me. It beats everyone. Nobody has ever beaten time. Why? Simple. Time is finite for every human being. Information, on the other hand, is infinite. We will never run out of information. We will die first. Don’t believe me? Try this…
I just Googled the word, “Time”. It has 12,380,000,000 results. Start with the first one and keep going until the end you are finished reading the last one. Hint: You’ll be a corpse before you read 5% of the information. Yet another example how time kills…
Doing The Best We Can
The trick is to figure out a way to take what is infinite (information) and put it to use the best we can in the finite world (time) we live in. Notice I said, the best we can.
When we are up against something that we can’t beat, all we can do is the best we can.
One Quick Note On Sleep
Personally, I think I have taken sleep as far as I can go without hurting my health. I tried to cut it even less but from a productivity standpoint, I saw the law of diminishing returns. I currently go to sleep at 1130 pm and wake-up at 5 am. It takes me thirty minutes to get to sleep (if I am lucky) so I have 5 hours if all goes perfectly. Some days I go a little less but I know not to push it as I feel it when it starts kicking my behind.
This begins my discussion on time, as it is one of my next literary projects so we will be getting into far greater detail as the months progress.
1) What are the three most important things you have learned managing your time?
2) How has technology been a time saver for you? What hardware and/or software programs and applications do you use that has given you the greatest advantages?