The value of time

Have you ever said or heard, “Don’t wish your life away” when some says they wish it was Friday, or spring, or sometime in the future?  Time is such a valuable commodity, but we often take it for granted.  We assume we’ll have time to finish that project.  We assume we’ll grow old.  We assume our friends will always be just down the hall.  We assume so much, yet today is the only day we’ve been promised for sure.

A colleague recently sent me the following story attributed to Alexander the Great.  Alexander III lived in the 300BC era and was considered one of the great kings and army commanders in history.  Here is the story:

On his death bed, Alexander the Great summoned his army generals and told them his three ultimate wishes:

  1. The best doctors should carry his coffin…
  2. The wealth he has accumulated (money, gold, precious stones) should be scattered along the procession to the cemetery…
  3. His hands should be let loose, so they hang outside the coffin for all to see!!

One of his generals who was surprised by these unusual requests asked Alexander to explain.  Here is what Alexander the Great had to say :

  1. “I want the best doctors to carry my coffin to demonstrate that in the face of death, even the best doctors in the world have no power to heal…”
  2. “I want the road to be covered with my treasure so that everybody sees that material wealth acquired on earth, will stay on earth…”
  3. “ I want my hands to swing in the wind, so that people understand that we come to this  world empty handed and we leave this world empty handed after the most precious treasure of all is exhausted, and that is TIME .”                                 

We do not take to our grave any material wealth. TIME is our most precious treasure because it is LIMITED. We can produce more wealth, but we cannot produce more time. When we give someone our time, we actually give a portion of our life that we will never take back. Our time is our life ! The best present that you can give to your family and friends is your TIME.

You have heard the comment, “No one on their death bed says they wish they had spent more time in the office.”  I know the limitations of time.  There may never be another day in history that we all work together at the same company pursuing the same goals.   I realize that a day will come when many individuals that I consider special, treasured, friends will no longer be down the hall.  I realize there will be a day when we may say something to each other like, “Let’s stay in touch and get together soon” – yet, we’ll never find that right time to do so.


The challenge for today is for each of us to re-discover our respect for time.  Let’s reconnect with those friends from our past.  Let’s promise that we will stay connected with today’s friends.  Let’s put down our phone long enough to cherish our loved ones at home.  Let’s understand fully what Alexander the Great stated so well, “The best present that you can give to your family and friends is your time.”


Thanks for all you do!  Have a “best day yet”!


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