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The most important resource we have is…

creativitySince the dawn of human consciousness, the need to survive has remained perhaps the most fundamental of all human instincts. To put this another way, we humans are naturally impelled to do whatever it takes to survive regardless of the personal or environmental cost. To improve our chances of survival, we’ve become the ultimate opportunists; capitalizing on our ability to bend the utility of the resources around us to meet our needs. As an example, our ancestors converted sharp stones into cutting tools such as primitive spears and knives, eventually using those same tools to kill animals for food. At some point in our progression as a species, it occurred to us that the skin from the animals we killed for “lunch” could be used as clothing to keep us from freezing to death. This sort of flexible and practical use of the resources around us remains an integral part of human behavior till this very day. As a matter of fact, it is a major reason why we are still sitting pretty as the kings and queens of this beautiful third rock from the sun.

Our penchant for intelligently applying the resources around us to our benefit has allowed us to transcend well beyond our physical limitations as a species. A good example of this is how we’ve gradually shaped metal from the earth into automobiles and airplanes that now allow us to travel farther and faster in a fraction of the time. In addition to their utility as tools with which to transcend our physical limitations, the resources around us have also played a vital role in keeping each of us alive and healthy. Can you imagine what life would be like if you didn’t have any food to eat or water to drink? Can you imagine how many more lives we would have lost to bacterial infections if we hadn’t discovered penicillin at some point? Yeah neither can I… it’s too gut wrenching to imagine. All these instances as well as the many others that are probably floating around in your head as your eyes dart across this screen point to the incredible practical value of the physical resources at our disposal.

Due to our appreciation of the utility of the physical resources at our disposal, we’ve assigned a mountain of importance to them. This makes a lot of sense because truth be told, life would probably be like ten orders of magnitude more difficult if we didn’t have the miracles of the modern world such as electricity, automobiles, the telephone, the internet, etc. Since we perceive these physical resources as immensely valuable, many of us do everything in our power to hoard as much of them as possible. So we all join the never ending race for more houses, more cars, faster computers, more money, more clothes, more watches, and so on. We should pause for a moment at this juncture to note that there isn’t anything wrong with securing the resources required to keep you comfortable… it is every human’s right to do so. That being said, there is some dark humor in the fact that many of us give up the most important resource we have in return for some of the more concrete/physical resources that we use in our daily lives. You might be wondering what this most precious of resources is… well, it is spelt T-I-M-E.

It is one of the ironies of life that the most precious resource any of us have – time – is also very often the most wasted. All of us have been guilty of wasting time at one point or another in our lives… you’ve done it, i’ve certainly done it, we’ve all done it. Whether it be spending hours watching hilarious cat videos on YouTube, or rehashing that argument you had with the office jackass and all the clever comebacks you should have used, or worrying about things that haven’t even happened yet. This particular form of time wasting is probably just a part of life because it is impossible to be 100% productive all of the time. The main thing with this “brand” of time wasting is to try and minimize it as much as possible. So if you must watch cat videos on YouTube for instance, you could perhaps set a timer for 15 minutes and stop once it goes off. The other major way in which many of us waste our most precious resource is by trading it for money at a job… very often at a job we despise. The reason why many of us engage in the “nine to five” form of time wasting is because society is so structured that we feel monumental pressure to get our hands on as much of the more concrete resources (money, cars, a house, etc) as possible in order to meet our immediate needs. To be fair, this is completely understandable because we all have to survive when it comes down to it but is there a better way?

The blunt truth is that trading your time for money is the least efficient way to earn money because although your salary might trick you into thinking differently, the service you provide for other people rather than the number of hours you work is what dictates how much you earn. It is true that you might have to work long and hard to provide value to the world which will then earn you a lot of money in return but please note that it isn’t the time spent that earns you money… it is the service that you provide that does. Looking at all of this in a logical way, we can see that the limiting factor in your ability to provide for yourself and those you love is the time at your disposal which is what makes it the most precious resource. Quite simply, the more time you can set aside to provide value that the world favorably responds to, the more money you will earn. With the way our world is currently structured, tons of money will bring you the freedom to live your life in whichever way pleases you. Once this freedom is attained, you can find even better ways to leverage your time and create even more value for the world. At a certain level, this virtuous cycle can sometimes take on a life of its own leaving you time and money freedom to spend with the people and things you love.

OK so assuming you’re now convinced that time is indeed the most precious resource, you are probably also wondering what concrete steps you can take to afford yourself more of it. Well, the key here is to spend time thinking of ways to create value for the world that can bring you a near passive source of income in return. A good example of a way to do this would be to spend time writing a few books that you can self publish online. If you are the more artistic kind, you could create a few digital illustrations and allow people to pay for them on a pay per download basis. If you have a good speaking voice, you could look for opportunities to be the voice of an audiobook even if you didn’t write it. You could set up an online proofreading service by electronically introducing international students to native english speaking graduate students or professors that can help them improve their college essays. The message by now should be clear… although some of us are great at many things, each of us has at least one special talent to give to the world. It is your job as well as mine to discover our unique gift(s) and find a way to give it to the world without having to constantly work 14 hours each day until the end of time. Notice that all the examples listed here involve a lot of up front work but once the initial phases of work are completed, the workload will drop significantly giving you the freedom we all crave.

In closing, a word of caution is very appropriate here. Please note that while this earning model sounds exciting on the surface, getting to this level will require a heavy dose of patience. As a matter of fact, it is very likely that you will toil in obscurity for 2 – 4 years before you start to see a considerable uptick in your business prospects so mentally prepare yourself for that. The other thing to be wary of is that you will be confronted on a daily basis with messages from your surroundings that directly contradict this message… such is life. If you are serious about getting more time and money freedom to spend on/with your loved ones however, you must find a way to plow on. It is usually helpful to find a group of friends who have the same goals as you do to support you. The members of your group will be able to support each other when times inevitably get tough on your way to success. From all of us here at, please take care of yourselves and each other. I leave you with the immortal words of Steven P. Jobs as a reminder of the most important resource we all have.

“My favorite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time” – Steve Jobs

Without Wax
Oyolu B.C. Ph.D.
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