Out of time
Let’s not waste our time, and choose to use it well throughout our life!
This pandemic taught us that the most precious resource we have is not wealth but time. All the wealth in the world is useless when faced with death. A healthy lifestyle can maybe prolong our existence, but in the end, we never know when our life will terminate. We all know several cases where people of different ages had a full future ahead of them, but all of their plans fizzled into nothing when they met their fate. The pandemic was a reality check for most of us. It placed us face-to-face with our mortality. In some cases, it did so in a brutal way, when our loved ones had to depart from this earth on their own, in a cold hospital room.
All of this reminds me of a famous quote from the J.R.R. Tolkien book — The Fellowship of The Ring. Frodo, the main character, said to the wise wizard
“I wish it need not have happened in my time”.
Gandalf’s reply was:
“So do I, and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for us to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time given to us.”
So we have to be very careful about how we use time. The following are some simple considerations which we can easily make.
First of all, we’re all faced with different problems daily. But it’s the way we face those problems that define who we are. Thus, I believe that there are two types of people in the world; problem-solvers and problem-miners. Problem-solvers find a solution to every problem and its a very desirable property these days. On the other hand, problem-miners find a problem for every idea, even if there isn’t one. They go the extra mile to shoot most of the proposals, either frivolously or due to overthinking. The amount of energy (and time) they suck out of individuals is incredible, and in the end, they tend to condemn great ideas to premature death. These people’s effect is long-lasting, their negativity infectious, and they tend to disturb the peace of their colleagues even when they go back home. Mind you; I’m not suggesting that we should ignore concerns. But I believe that there are ways and ways of doing things. Always raise topics constructively, but don’t stop there, choose to be part of the solution. This year taught us that when people work together to find a solution, they are much more successful in overcoming difficulties.
Second, if shooting people was legal, I’m pretty sure that half of us will not be around by now. We have this innate ability to pull people down — for the most frivolous of reasons. A recent example was the raging debate in the US of whether Jill Biden, the First Lady of the United States should remove the title of Doctor from her name (as you’ve probably realised, a problem miner stirred this issue out of nothing). But its much more serious than that; Dr Biden is an accomplished professional, she worked for her title, and I’m sure she was instrumental in her husband’s election. She has the ear of the most powerful person in the world, and I’m glad that a person with such power has the brains too. So why do we have to pull people down? Why can’t we be happy and celebrate other people’s achievements? I am not only glad for Dr Biden, but I’ll also tell my children to look up to her, to dream of becoming a Doctor or even a Professor and why not aspire to become the President of their country. We have to push people up, especially the younger generation, help them achieve. After all, we have no time to waste; we are all on the same boat and not in competition with each other.
Up to this point, we have seen how we can gain more time by saving it from useless time wasters. But what do you do with all that time? The best thing is undoubtedly to use it with our loved ones. But did you ever think how much time you have left with them? If we consider our parents. When you’re in your early 30s, assuming you speak to them every day and meet them once a week for a few hours, you have slightly more than one year left with them throughout your lifetime. If you’re in your 40s, using the same assumptions, you have nine months left, in your 50s, it’s just 20 weeks, and in your 60s, it goes down to a meagre 13 days! These assumptions are all based on an average lifetime and do not consider accidents, medical complications, pandemics and all the deathtraps of this world.
I hope you understand by now that time is precious. We cannot afford to waste it in useless bickering, in activities which drain our energies, in actions that fuel bitterness and resentment. Let’s take this holy period as a time for reflection and see how we can make this world a better place and more meaningful. The pandemic was tragic, but it won’t be in vain if we learn this important lesson from it.
May I take this opportunity to wish you and your families a Happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year full of Health, Love, Peace and Joys!
A Modern Christmas Carol — The ugly truth about the life we’re living that no-one dares to tell…
Did you ever ask yourself how much time you’re spending on meaningless activities rather than with your loved ones…
Prof Alexiei Dingli is a Professor of AI at the University of Malta. He has been conducting research and working in the field of AI for more than two decades, assisting different companies to implement AI solutions. His work has been rated World Class by international experts and he won several local and international awards (such as those by the European Space Agency, the World Intellectual Property Organization and the United Nations to name a few). He has published several peer-reviewed publications and formed part of the Malta.AI task-force which was set up by the Maltese government, aimed at making Malta one of the top AI countries in the world.