Imagine you are driving on the freeway and see hundreds of dollars passing by every moment. You can’t grab the cash as you drive, but you see it get completely wasted, $100 at a time. Frustrating, right? We see the value of $100, but when time passes by, why don’t we view its value this way?
Many of us don’t value time since we wake up and flow through it. If we knew we had three months to live, G-d forbid, would we become more active as a result? Would we be more aware of our time and its value? We should wake up every morning and ask, “What is my purpose? What am I meant to do today?” By asking these questions and reminding ourselves of their importance, perhaps we will waste less time, and have more gratitude and perspective of our goals and overarching purpose.
Here are five points to keep in mind every day, as we become studiers of life, constantly aware of time’s value. I will use the terms awareness and studying interchangeably.
Awareness should be:
1. Constant: Commit to being aware all the time, even as you sleep. Always look at the bigger picture of how you can connect with your bigger purpose. The point is keeping your awareness stable.
2. Continuous: Be sure your awareness is uninterrupted. Immense yourself in what you choose. Take it on and be in it to win it. Make it as productive as can be.
3. Consistent: Break past barriers and move into habit. Eventually this will become second nature. By giving yourself enough opportunities to become accustomed to the task at hand, you gain knowledge.
4. Repetitive: Go over the same assignment again and again. The Gemorah says you need to do something 40 times for it to become a reality, for real learning to take place. If something bad happens in your life, be aware of why it keeps repeating, so you can prevent it from occurring again. On the other hand, if something good happens, let it repeat (For example, thank your wife for dinner, and she just might cook again!)
5. Pervasiveness/comprehensiveness: Do not take what you are told at face value. Question things. If something bothers you, get to the root of it. This way, you can gain the most of every situation and truly understand events you go through. It is not enough to consider yourself a good person for studying Torah, for example, if you are not comprehending the Mitzvot, doing good for others, and constantly improving yourself.
Let’s promise to view our time as valuable, since we have something to give and gain; to give more of ourselves and not live life passively. Even if we do the same physical routine day in and out, everything we do can be seen with newness: learning, studying, growing, and improving.
We all have potential to inspire and be inspired, so share that potential with the world!
(Brought to you from a lecture given by the incredible Rabbi Teller of Aish HaTorah, Los Angeles!)