Friday, May 25, 2012
The cost of a thing is the amount of what I call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long-run. -Henry David Thoreau
I came across this quote from Thoreau and I felt a kindred spirit. If I woke up 100 years in the past and Thoreau was my friend I know I wouldn't have to explain my values to him. I like that he knows that 'life' is currency. So, in addition to his insight, I'd like to pose this important question:
How much life is this thing going to add to you compared with what you exchange for it?
What if 'quality of being' was our currency? What if the 'value of yourself at your best' was worth as much as gold. What if we were constantly looking for ways to 'build our best selves' instead of ways to build our portfolio?
What is your time worth? What are your thoughts worth? How much more effective are you after a good night's sleep? How much more do you have to offer when you are a happy, nourished person, compared with a crabby, hungry person? How much more loving are we when we are loved. How much more insight would we have if we were world travelers, if we were observers? How much more would we understand if we engaged with people instead of running away? If we said 'yes' more often? What if our individual stock plummets when we are spent and rise when we are filled...? Because it does, you know...
When we waste our time, to save our money, that has a cost. When we do a job we hate because the money is good, we are paying with our lives. When we eat things with no taste because they are affordable, we are missing out on living. It's ok to do these things for a while but not for a lifetime.
As a species we struggle with balance. Other species don't operate this way. They balance or they don't survive. By instinct, they spend their energy and their resources wisely. They find balance because nature abhors a vacuum. Plants love to thrive, to basque in the sunlight, to soak up the water, growing green and lush. Their goal is to be the best version of themselves. They spend and save as needed by instinct and so it's no surprise that we could take a lesson from them.
We exchange a lot of currency in this world that has nothing to do with money.
Time is how you spend your love- Zadie Smith