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The Whole Reason

Q: Why are you so obsessed with efficiency (time management, saving money, how to do things)?

A: Because when you value your life, every moment is precious. I don’t mean that in a sappy, Hallmark kind of way. I once read that if Bill Gates were on the way somewhere and stopped to pick up a 100 dollar bill on the sidewalk, he would actually lose money in that motion. At the time I thought it was amazing that a person’s time could be worth so much. But recently I realized, that could be any of us, if we chose to use our time in a way that brings value to ourselves and to others.

When you’ve made up your mind about the kind of person you want to be, the steps towards becoming that person are clear, even if it’s only the very next steps that are clear and notnecessarily all the way to the end. It will also become clear to you that you have a limited period in which to accomplish these steps.

In other words, that you’re running out of time.

Everyone’s running out of time, and the people who realize that are the only ones who’ll be able to do the things they need to do before it’s too late.

Obviously, then, efficiency has to be cultivated. “Little” things are not little at all in the life of a person with purpose. 20 seconds of Bill Gates’ is apparently worth more than 100 dollars. A working mom doing her job efficiently enough to be able to leave work an hour early every day could mean the difference between her kid being barely aware of her existence, and her kid having someone to help him do his homework and talk about his day and read him a bedtime story. It’s just an hour, but to a person who has chosen to be of value, it is irreplaceable time.

It’s not just in terms of jobs or parenting that efficiency matters. It matters everywhere and in everything. Having an extra P200 in your pocket could mean the difference between a 3-hour waitin the MRT with pollution swirling into your lungs and stress hormones filling your body, constricting your arteries, and a peaceful cab ride straight to your destination. Which, cumulatively, could mean the difference between dying in your sleep leaving behind a fortune for a bunch of sweet grandchildren, and dying of early-onset heart disease leaving behind a mountain ofhospital bills for your struggling kids. Having planned last week better could have meant the difference between me begging off a social event for the second time in a row due to exhaustion, and attending like I’d promised and letting my girlfriend have a good time without creating any stupid issues afterwards.

So, efficiency doesn’t only “matter”: it’s the whole difference that stands between you and the life you want.

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