I recently heard a profound quote, identified as a Chinese Proverb.
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
It triggered thoughts about how people often view time, in a manner that doesn’t comprehend it’s very nature. One type of misunderstanding is best represented by a recent conversation I had with a gentleman who was interviewing with me for a job.
As I looked over his resume, his private pilot’s license stuck out as an area where we could connect, so I decided to break the ice by mentioning it.
“I notice that you are a private pilot. How many flight hours have you logged?”, I asked out of simple curiosity.
“I only have about 100 hours. My dream job growing up was to become a Delta Airlines pilot, but I didn’t want to just hang around the airfield for five plus years trying to build the necessary flight hours, so I decided not to pursue it.”
This gentleman wanted to become an airline pilot without….drumroll please…flight experience…because it took time to gain the experience.
That is crazy. I decided to move on from the conversation.
The concept of “an ideal time” to start, and “required time” to achieve goals, is often considered from a highly flawed perspective.
What do I mean?
(Father) Time will always elapse, regardless of what you actually do.
Let’s give the gentleman in my example above the benefit of the doubt, as we all have said non-sensical things when under pressure. Instead, here is another example with a similar theme.
A recent college graduate who dreamed of a career as a Doctor, has become a bit discouraged “because it will take four more years to graduate from medical school”.
In situations such as these, I normally respond with a few simple questions:
“How old are you now?”
“Twenty-two.”, the graduate responds.
“How old will you be in four years if you go through medical school?”
“How old will you be in four years if you DON’T go through medical school?”
“Regardless of what you do with your career selection, you will be twenty-six in four years, right?
“OK, then the only question is this: Will you be a Doctor, or not, at the age of twenty-six?”
Time always continues it’s consistent march. It can’t be stopped.
If you have a worthy and important personal goal, it is better to start on it now, regardless of the time It will take before you achieve the goal. This applies to the young person above, and those folks (like me) more advanced in age.
Even if you believe it would have been better to start it earlier in life. Just plant the tree, and it will grow in the appropriate time.
After all, you don’t want to reach the end of your life with the dreaded death bed regrets…
“I wish I would have tried…”