Yesterday I introduced the concept that we have 5 limited resources with unlimited potential. That seemingly contradictory statement has helped me to keep a realistic understanding of each of the 5 areas of my life, without limiting my expectations of what is possible. We covered Time and Focus last week, and today we will cover Energy, Money, and Relationships.
It may seem strange to add ‘money’ to the list, but here’s why I think it fits. It is interchangeable for everything else. Sure, there are a lot of things that money can’t buy, but it comes in pretty handy down here, bub!
Limited Resource: If I choose to go on a trip, I have 1,000 fewer dollars in my bank account. If I stop at Starbucks, I will never get those five dollars back again.
Time: Time and money are directly interchangeable. If you need money, then one option is usually to trade away chunks of your time.
Focus: Much of our money dribbles away, a few dollars at a time. Chewing gum here. Impulse buy at the Home Depot checkout. Cold Coca-Cola – so refreshing! It also can be spent in huge piles, like when you buy a car or make a costly mistake. In all of these examples, greater focus can help you uncover savings that you never imagined. Necessity is the mother of invention, as they say, and if you need to save a buck you probably can, if you focus.
Energy: This goes along with focus and time – greater energy lets you excel at your job, stay disciplined on your budget, and keep striving for new ways to generate income.
Relationships: Most job tips come from people you know. When our friends run across a great sale they text us so that we can benefit. Your friends can be a good influence on your spending, or can persuade you to overspend. Our friends and relative have blessed us with so many generous gifts! Relationships are a crucial way that your limited funds can become truly unlimited.
This is an area we haven’t directly covered on our blog, maybe because it’s an area of struggle. We end up pretty tuckered out after all of our fun and purposeful activities. There are some 2pms where I struggle to keep my focus, because my shortchanged sleep has reduced my energy.
Limited Resource: As I get older, I have found that my energy actually does have limits. If I am working hard on certain areas, eventually I will run out of energy to devote to others.
Time: Spend your time getting enough sleep, and make sure to do things that replenish your energy.
Focus: Being pharmacists, we don’t want you to buy 5 hours of energy at the gas station. (Coffee is as exotic as we get!) Taking care of your body is important – let me know what ideas you have about this important topic. My health advice is basically:
- Sleep enough
- Drink water
- Eat nutritious food, in moderation
Beyond that, energy is mental. General Patton is attributed with this quote: “You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired.” So energy is affected by focus, and passion. When I am working on something that excites me, I have motivation and energy galore. Regardless of time of day or state of sleep deprivation. Keep yourself involved with meaningful work and you will never lack for energy!
Money: You can use $40 to buy energy, either in the form of food, coffee, or an hour at the spa.
Relationships: Nothing is more refreshing, more energizing, than time spent with a good friend. Your friends and family are there for you to pick you up when you are down. On the flip side, nothing drains my energy more than a bad interaction at work or a dispute with the kids. Balance your ministry and your refreshing so that you have enough energy for the long haul!
Relationships are the most important element of your life. Marriage, parenting, spirituality, leadership…all of these revolve around the power and importance of relationships.
Limited Resource: Regardless of how many Facebook friends you have, we still can only have so many actual friends. And even fewer deep, true relationships. Someone pointed out that even Jesus only had 12 disciples!
Time: To keep the garden theme, time is the soil where relationships grow. As discussed already, time is limited, but by purposefully arranging your work hours and your leisure activities, it is possible to get ‘double duty’ of most of your time. For example, when I run errands I almost always take one or some of my kids with me. That way a trip to the grocery store becomes a shared experience with my child. Invite friends over for lunch after church – you’re going to eat anyway, and he time spent together can build that relationship.
Focus: You can make meaningful memories with those who you love when you give them your undivided attention, allowing you to be really “present” and engaged. In fact, a large quantity of time without focus is nearly worthless.
Money: Every dollar that you spend can be targeted towards making and strengthening relationships. Money can help you bless others, show hospitality, and enjoy shared experiences. You can get to know your neighbors by taking them cookies or throwing a spring party or fall party. You can choose to bless your kids by exploring Wyoming and Colorado with them. You can build into lives at the local Crisis Pregnancy center.
Energy: This is probably easier to see from the negative perspective. We have all gone through periods of time when we just didn’t have the energy to devote to someone. This happens in marriages all the time. If you take care of yourself well enough to keep your energy level high, then your relationship potential can grow exponentially.
To conclude, these resources have nearly unlimited potential. But paradoxically, ironically, the first step towards achieving the ‘limitless’ stage is to understand that they are limited and to act accordingly. Stay tuned for next time, when we review the last 3 limited resources with unlimited potential!
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