Sharing time with someone is a sacrament. It says: I will never get this moment back, and it is precious, and you may have it. Which may say: you are the best thing in my life right now.
This is sacred. Understanding this leads to a better understanding of the tragically misunderstood concept of altruism. Sharing time is a sacred act.
Sacrificing time is the worst sin.
Say you are talking in a room full of people who have their own hopes and dreams. Think of that responsibility! Every moment you hold the floor you are stealing their time. If you aren’t speaking, every moment you allow the room to suffer something less that enlightening or joyful or otherwise fulfilling to the room, is a moment you are letting these people die, just that little bit.
Said explicitly: remember that there isn’t much difference between living a long life in a coma, or a short life fully lived. The value of a life is described by the area under the curve, regardless of how long. This is true in the major case (e.g. a person in a coma is alive but is at zero fulfillment every moment) and in the minor (e.g. a meeting that is fruitless is depressing people’s fulfillment).
The importance of the large meeting is that if you are causing or allowing, say, 20 people to be living at 5% less than they otherwise would, you are, by Steve Jobs logic, putting a whole person in a coma for the length of that meeting. This is little bit of death.
Let people live.
But we do much worse than allow a stultifying meeting. Think of a relationship where one partner isn’t committed but out of kindness or cowardice pretends that everything is ok. Years are spent hoping that the relationship is developing. Think of the sin of that!
Think of a manager putting up with an employee who is getting insufficient feedback that they are doing less than they could. The employee may live in ignorant bliss, not confronting their own dragons, but they are dying – a little bit – every day. Think about the compounding factor of self improvement that they are missing. Their arc on the curve is flat where they could be learning to soar.
Tell the truth today.
Waste no one’s time.
Note: if you are inspired to treat time as precious, and suddenly you find yourself yelling at people because you are frustrated that they don’t understand the value of time – as I did yesterday like a damn fool – then consider that while it’s possible your anger and negativity might be waking the room up so they can soar, it is also possible and even likely that you are destroying trust. Trust that might have been used to take a chance on an opportunity to help each other soar. And negative emotions are rarely fun. So you have likely at least destroyed that moment of your expression for everyone present, and stolen time where they have to process that out through thought or other release. There is no right answer outside of the context of the moment. A sergeant must yell at a soldier. But do not think that just because you value time, that raving about it is a good strategy that will result in a higher curve. Be mindful of your impact around you, and attempt to conserve and elevate, not destroy, time.