“When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” – Henry Ford
George Bernard Shaw once said that “Youth is wasted on the young!” It’s true: not because the youth don’t necessarily appreciate the abundance they have, but because they don’t appreciate the time they have remaining to create more abundance. We all like to think that we have an ample amount of time to accomplish everything we wish in our lives. The reality is quite different. We often underestimate the amount of time, and effort, involved in truly accomplishing great goals, since we likely haven’t done it before. We don’t really appreciate the time we have and many of us waste what little time we do have in the pursuit of meaningless pastimes, trivia, time wasters and low value activities.
Later in life, our responsibilities and opportunities seem to increase in direct proportion to the decrease in available time. Renowned Canadian Entrepreneur and Philanthropist Joe Segal refers to this declining balance as ‘the runway of life’. Our lifespan is finite, and just like a runway, it will come to an end. There is no extension, or extra time, or second life to live. This is truly it!
Consequently, it’s important to be wise with the limited time you have and avoid time consuming people and activities. This will make an enormous difference in your life and immediately free you up to achieve greater productivity and focus throughout our day. While this alone won’t give you sufficient time to accomplish your most important goals, time wasters should be ruthlessly eliminated from every possible aspect of your life.
I believe the best way to generate more time is to use accelerators. Back to the runway of life analogy – while a jet fighter cannot increase the length of a runway, it can use afterburners to massively accelerate and take off in half the distance. Just like a jet, we too can use accelerators to massively increase our capacity and achieve more results in a shorter period of time.
Quality education is a form of accelerator. Whether at a top high school, university, night school or even the school of hard knocks, we can massively increase our capacity in a very short period of time and learn skills from those that have gone before us.
What are other accelerators can you use? Try these:
Take the toughest job assignment possible. This will force you outside your skill and comfort zone and move you to quickly sharpen your skills to be successful. It will likely bring you the attention of decision makers or more customers. By taking on a big challenge and building new skills, you become more valuable and marketable, leading to higher income than you would otherwise have earned.
Leverage all resources available to you. We rarely take a detailed inventory of all available resources, such as our network, special talents, unique relationships, materials that can be be converted to cash, and undeveloped skills. Only by detailing what we already have, rather than hoping for something we don’t have, can we leverage those resources to accelerate ourselves.
Use your imagination. Humans are creatures of habit and when faced with a problem we try to solve it the same way we have in the past. Get outside of the habit and use your imagination to look at an opportunity in a different way. This will help you can solve it more quickly, and move beyond the problem. Push yourself to come up with creative solutions, rather than using the same old approach.
Massively Change Your Environment. Several times in my career when I felt I needed a significant boost, I massively changed my environment. This gave me a new perspective, which enabled me to solve a problem or achieve greater heights of success much more quickly. It can be as simple as adding some new people to your network or changing offices, or as complex as moving to a new city. A fresh approach opens your mind to the possibilities, and lets you accelerate your accomplishments by letting go of past obstacles.
Get Collaborators. With access to social media and an interconnected society, it is easy to find collaborators for nearly anything. If you are feeling stuck or if the pace of your change is too slow, don’t try to do it all yourself. Reach out to a group of like-minded people, spread the work around, and dramatically accelerate your efforts. Use your time wisely and accelerate massively.
Eamonn has a B. Eng. (Electrical) from Lakehead University, MBA (Finance) from University of Toronto, and has completed Executive Education at Stanford University Graduate School of Business. He lives in Vancouver, Canada. Follow him on twitter