Creating value makes your time valuable

The alarm erupts by your ear and your arm extends towards your phone to turn it off. You check Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and your eyes open from the soft blue glow of your phone. You eventually get up, take a shower, and sit down at the table with a spoon in one hand barely dipped in oatmeal with a phone in the other as you scroll through your feed once again. You drive to work and once again at 12:37 pm you find your hand swiping across your screen as you stare at perhaps a burgundy coat of young model or an advertisement from Chipotle until the time suddenly comes for you to get back to work again. You head home after a long day and head to the cupboard for a drink and sit comfortably at your couch with your phone in hand as you watch, scroll, consume, like, comment, chuckle, consume, share, refresh, stare, consume, consume, consume.

Media consumption has become commonplace and so often we hear jokes from friends and comedians alike about being on their phones constantly. Guilty of this myself, many mornings start often with a quick glance at the news of the day or pictures from my friends’ account: photos of their dogs, food, and nights out. Whenever this happens minutes slip away where a quick 3-minute check on Twitter or Snapchat becomes 10 minutes and then half an hour. Despite this, I find myself frustrated and complaining about how I have no time to write or to practice coding or to even call my aunt.

I have all the time in the world and I’m wasting it.

If there is one thing I have come to value is time and in today’s attention economy it has truly become one of our greatest resources. Everyone, no matter the circumstance, has the freedom to decide what to do with their time and with each second it passes the less we all have. It is because of this freedom and nature of time we have goals, priorities, and desires we wish to fulfill someday. It is true that we live one of the greatest times to be alive as humans and especially in America people are particularly able to do so much with their lives than in the past, yet this idea of not having enough time frightens and fascinates me. Throughout my short time in this world I have found that in our modern era were a message can be sent across many seas and oceans in a fraction of a second, that technology has been a boon to our lives. Likewise, this power has oddly been used for very underwhelming things.

If I were to go back in time to meet my ancestor 200 years ago and described to him or her the world I live in and the power I held at my fingertips, I am certain he or she would ask “So what have you used this blessed device for?” If I am honest, I would say I have used it to browse Reddit for mediocre jokes, played weeks of platformers, and for schoolwork on barely functional software, thank you Pearson, that hardly promotes education.

This stems, in my mind, from a root problem I believe begins in childhood. Consumption. Growing up I was told to go to class, write down notes, and recite what I was told for a grade that meant everything. For me, an A+ was the difference from heading home to do homework to stopping on the way for a Happy Meal at McDonald’s. If I wanted entertainment I would sit for hours on the couch watching Nickelodeon eating a box of Goldfish with a side of Capri Sun. If a friend came over we would play Smash Brothers or Crash Bandicoot until the evening when his parents came back. While I do hold these memories fondly there are some that I have never forgotten.

Legos were and still are my favorite toy, period. If there was one thing I was proud of as a child was completing a Lego set of even just building for the sake of trying out a new design. One time I woke in the middle of the night, quietly I took out my box of Legos, and I built a little spaceship from a dream I just had. I still have that ship in my room and always look back on it with a smile. Once I got new sets and bigger projects, I had worked with designing structures with symmetry and discovered new ways to work around the mechanics of the toy. My mother always told me how much those Legos cost, but looking back on it I believe I the value it had was so much more. I allowed me to experiment with my creativity at a young age. Once games like Minecraft released, I continued to build castles with moats, ships, temples, and other sorts of things.

I see that time valuable because it allowed me to create value in the world.

The problem of our modern life is how in a world where so much media distracts and spends millions to grab our attention our creativity suffers. Constant consumption of media has come at the cost of our precious time and talents. If you don’t believe me I ask you this: if you were to stop all your media consumption right now, wouldn’t you have the time to do at least some of the things you always wanted to achieve. Wouldn’t you have the time to start the book you always wanted, to have time to workout more, to learn a new language or skill you always thought was so cool?

the answer is yes, the solution is clear. Consuming won’t give you the success you desire, but creating value in this world is the probably the best thing that you can do with your precious time.