Life is full of resources, and for good measure. Without them, it would be hard to do just about anything. They’re the materials that allow us to build our lives.
Both qualitative and quantitative, resources can be broken down into: time, intellect, social awareness, an expandable network, and physical assets - which is made up of money and anything it buys.
Although all equally important, all the qualitative resources can be lumped into one: time. If you want greater social awareness, higher intellect, or a larger network, all you need is time and effort to accumulate them. Therefore, life can be broken down into two resources:
2. Physical assets - which I’ll call money for the sake of this discussion
OK, great, lets now get to the point. There has to be a goal as to why you’re accumulating money, otherwise the resource serves no purpose. Think of it this way: if you needed a turkey for thanksgiving dinner, you wouldn’t go out and buy 15 turkeys, that’s ridiculous. Not only is that too much, but you’ll end up wasting it all, therefore wasting your resources.
If you have no purpose for the additional resource of money, than the money you currently have is sufficient to fill your need. In today’s world, however, we don’t view money this way. We hop on the earn-and-consume treadmill with no goal in mind, no end in sight, and no hope of getting off.
Don’t get me wrong, money and wealth are valuable resources, and accumulating more of them gives you stability. They will also, in part, help you achieve whatever goal you’ve set out to achieve. But, as important as money is to achieving your goal, so too is your resource of time.
Passive income aside, there is an inverse relationship between the extra time you have and the extra money you have. In a traditional time-for-money working relationship, you have to give up more of your time in order to gain more monetary resources.
Well, what if achieving your goal doesn’t require more money but requires more time? Or what if your goal, as noble as it is, requires more money over dedicated time? It’s important to define your direction before you set out become either a millionaire or a vagabond.
Without a doubt, you need the correct mix of resources - time and money - to attain your goal. Look at the graph below. If your goal is to travel abroad, lets say, you'll clearly need less monetary resources - just enough to travel - and a lot more time:
If you focused only on money or only on free time, shown by the red arrows, you would miss your goal and be unsatisfied. You need the right mix to find the right path.
On the flip side, if your goal is to start a world changing nonprofit, or even to own a million dollar home, you’ll need more money over the resource of free time, show below:
Again, if you focused on free time over money, even in the pursuit of a large, selfless goal, you would miss it and be unsatisfied.
Paradoxically, there is a third option. The resource of time is so valuable. With it, you can do any number of things that will make you better today than you were yesterday. You can allocate your time to read more, learn more, connect more, and experiment more.
By focusing on self growth through knowledge and experiences, you can actually increase the money you earn without increasing the amount of time needed to earn it.
Known as passive income to most, I think of this as residual income, because there’s nothing passive about making money. But as residual income, you can think of the increase in your earnings as the residual effect of spending your time wisely. Check out the graph below:
With this model, your time actually becomes exponentially more valuable. You have the wherewithal to help more, teach more, and execute more efficiently. Whether your goal is to solve world hunger or own a yacht, by focusing on maximizing your free time - however much you have of it - so you grow, you’ll be much better equipped to achieve that goal. Results will be exponential.
The key, regardless of the model you choose, is to define your goal. Once your goal is defined, it gives you a direction to head. It allows you to see what personal resources will be needed to get there and lets you allocate your time and money so it maximizes the return of your resources.
And since resources are only valuable when they combine to create something you need or want, resources are maximized when they get you closer to your goal.
So, it’s important to make sure we’re valuing our time as highly as our money, and using them both in a way that gets us closer to our true goals, and therefore our satisfaction with life.