“Your greatest asset is your earning ability. Your greatest resource is your time.” – Brian Tracy
Having just finished listening to a Brian Tracy audio program in the car (The Ultimate Goals Program), I wanted to start the week with a Brian Tracy quote. (The program is an excellent overview on what to do to be successful, both personally and professionally, and what to do about (much of) what stops us.)
Our Greatest Asset
Many people think of assets as stocks or bonds, or homes, or precious metals such as gold. And people no doubt have their opinions as to which of those is the “greatest.”
But, in my humble opinion, they are missing the point. Or perhaps the larger, more consequential point.
In today’s economy, our greatest personal asset is our earning ability. I would tweak that a bit and say our greatest asset is our ability to create value in the marketplace.
Whether we are self-employed entrepreneurs paid directly by customers or self-employed entrepreneurs paid from a central business account it is imperative that we create value. Without value creation we will cease to be useful to those who pay our compensation. And then they will stop paying us.
Another way of looking at the first half of Tracy’s quote is focus on the word “earning.” We earn based on our service. We serve and then we are rewarded.
And, as so usefully pointed out in the above-mentioned audio program, compensation is not like a sit-down restaurant, it’s much more like a buffet: We don’t order what we want, enjoy it and then pay for it. We select the things we want and we have to pay for them before we can enjoy them.
Our ability to earn, and have the money we want, is the same way. We do the work and only then do we get the reward.
Our Greatest Resource
People often think of resources in terms of natural resources, such as oil, gas, coal, timber, solar or wind. While these resources are very important to us (at least in the First/Second World), they are not our greatest resource.
Our most precious resource, which we can either maximize or squander, is our time.
It is a limited resource. Unlike timber or solar or wind, time is not renewable. There’s no way to make more. What there is what we have – not a second more.
What’s more, time is a like a tap that is always running. We can either attend to it and find ways to use the flow, or we can let it go down the drain.
And, if I can extend the metaphor (possibly to it’s breaking point), I don’t mean that we need always be drinking the water. Sometimes it is okay to just let the time flow: to not drink or otherwise “use” the water.
The key is to recognize the flow, to understand that time wasted is never recovered. It is vitally important to be aware and conscious in regards to time – i.e., when working, work; when not working, renew.
To the extent that we see time as our most precious resource and act authentically and purposefully in accordance with that truth, we will be effective, fulfilled and happy.
And to the extent that we waste the time we are given we will be un-productive, regretful and un-happy.
The key to any asset or resource is to make good use of it (without prematurely exhausting it); to understand how it works and how it can work for you.
When you understand that everyone is self-employed and unless we create value in the marketplace (however large or small that “market” is… ) we will soon be unemployed and uncompensated, you can make the most of your ability to earn – to be compensated for your hard/smart work.
What is the key to earning what you want, and what you’re worth? Make the best use of your time, always.
That doesn’t mean working, all the time.
It means working hard on things that matter (to you and the marketplace) and renewing yourself – regularly – along the way. It is far too easy to burn one’s self out by working maniacally (especially at something that doesn’t really feed your Soul).
So: know that your ability to earn (/create-value) and your time must be simultaneously grown and updated and honored and respected (respectively… ) if you are to be successful and fulfilled.