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Respecting the Times

October 10, 2010

 

Have you ever wondered why some people just don’t seem to get that you have a life and that you’re too busy for x and x? Let’s face it: sometimes we’re just too busy doing higher priority things to be able to do other, less important things. I mean, when you have your dissertation due tomorrow (congrats to Yao Hua Law on his Ph.D, by the way!), I’m pretty sure you’re really busy the next few days.

Everyone’s busy, but of course, sometimes you actually can be busier than everyone else. You’re nose deep in the books, studying something new. You’re spending hours learning something that can excel you in your life. And you just don’t have time to go to that cocktail party tonight. Moreover, you feel like people are taking advantage of you and your time. Maybe you’re trying to push a little time out of your day to hang out with a friend–and your friend can’t make x and x time because he has to watch TV, but you can’t make the time he can because that’s when your weekly training webinar is. Yet you find it irritating that your friend expects you to adhere to his schedule when you’re the busy one! Why does no one respect your time??

Well, put bluntly, no one’s ever going to respect your time if you can’t learn how to respect your time in the first place. Time is the greatest asset in your life. With it, you can do whatever you want. You can use your time to build a multi-million dollar empire, or you can use it to watch TV. It’s all up to you what you do with your time. And the problem is, you can’t get your time back! What you spent your time on yesterday can never be retrieved. It’s gone forever. You can put a lot of time in learning skill sets that can help you save time later. The time you spent learning the skill sets is gone. But sometimes putting in a half hour a day to save hours per week is worth the lost time.

Once we really realize how valuable our time is, we tend to respect it more. If people see you throwing your time wherever, playing every Zynga game on Facebook, watching excessive amounts of TV, instead of doing something a bit more productive, then subconsciously they will begin to think, “Wow, this person doesn’t have anything better to do with their time. My time is more valuable than theirs.”

We all make judgments like these, and it’s perfectly normal. Have you ever wondered why you may sometimes feel intimidated by a certain person because of their sheer presence? Perhaps they are a leader of hundreds or thousands, and you feel like they have better things to do with their time than to talk to little old you?

I remember I used to feel that way. One of the team leaders of an organization I was in is a phenomenal leader. He leads thousands of people across the country and gets to fly around the country to speak to other organizations. Oh, and he makes a residual income of around $300k a year. He donated his job to someone who wanted it.

Well, I was first intimidated by him the first time I met him. Then after talking with him, he was a pretty down-to-earth guy. He gave me his phone number and said “My hours are from midnight to midnight but I usually roll out of bed at around noon, if I don’t answer, leave a message and I’ll call you back on my own time.”

He obviously values his own time. He wants to help people as much as he can but he isn’t going to move his schedule to adhere to yours. If you can’t make the time for him, he won’t make the time for you.

So what happens to someone who doesn’t respect his time? Well, that someone doesn’t get to get a slice of his time. Simple. And whose loss is it? That someone’s, of course.

When you begin to value your time, others will too. Others will be afraid to ask you for a piece of your time, even if you aren’t that busy all the time.

A lot of times, people will tell me that such and such person doesn’t care about their time or whatever. My answer? Ditch ’em. If you truly value your time, you’ll understand that your time is too valuable to waste on people who do not value it. Don’t waste your time on people who are insistent on wasting your time. Don’t waste your time on people who don’t even value their own.

Once you begin to use your time towards valuable things, people will begin to see the value in your time. Once they see the value in your time, they will respect it more. You will be respected more. And with people’s respect, you can go far.

If you want to help people, that’s all well and good. As the saying goes, you can get whatever you want in life if you’re willing to help other people get what they want in life. That’s the subject of a different matter. But if you want to help people, do so. But don’t beg them to let you help them. If they don’t want your help, so be it. Find someone who wants your help. If you have a lot of value to give to people and you know it, don’t waste your time on people who don’t want to take your value. Show people your value, and if they take it for granted, whatever. Let them alone. Let yourself be available. Let people come to you if they seek your value.

To give another analogy, take this example. You’ve seen all those “FREE” offers online, right? Maybe you’ve even participated in some of these “FREE” offers. Well, to many people, “FREE” is just another word for “NO VALUE.” So even if they partake in a FREE offer, they have vested nothing into the offer and respect it the same way the respect other free things–rocks are free, but I see no one respecting rocks.

Perceived value is zero, even if it may be very valuable information. It goes for everything. Many people say that piracy of music makes them take their music for granted. If you get ten albums for free, you’re less likely to listen to all of them than if you were to buy the ten albums. You always want to get the “bang for your buck.”

So same thing with your time. If people perceive the value of your time to be zero, they will treat it as such. What I suggest is that if you want to help people, do so. But don’t go to everyone and say “Hey let me help you!” That’s like giving yourself away. Don’t give yourself away. If people want help, let them come to you. In order to let people perceive enough value in you to come to you specifically for help, you need to show exactly how much value you have to give. How? Well, read books. Share tidbits from the books you read. Keep the consistency and people will undoubtedly see the value that you have.

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To your abundance,

Rasheed

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