“Life is not a matter of chance… it is a matter of choice.” ― Ka
24 hours. Every day we get them. And every day we use them. Sometimes we use them wisely: creating, exercising, resting, cooking, eating. Other times, the hours are wasted: mindless Internet surfing, watching too much television, worrying, or oversleeping. But every single day, the hours are always used. This is the very nature of time. There is not “more” use of time, only “better.”
This is also the very nature of money. Our finances are always used somewhere. They may be directed towards the house payment, the grocery bill, the student loan, the savings account, or others, but our money is always spent somewhere. There is not “more” use of money, only “better.”
I have found the principle of “not more, but better” holds true for many of our most important resources: money, time, energy, focus, mental capacity, relationships. Understanding this truth and embracing it becomes an important principle in living a thoughtful and intentional life. Life is, after all, the sum of our choices. And often times, the choice isn’t more, but better.
Recognizing that positive change is not a matter of choosing more, but choosing better is a powerful motivator. There is freedom to be found in it. It can be a freeing and inspiring shift in our thinking. Consider these practical examples:
I used to think I didn’t have enough time to exercise. But when I made an intentional commitment to begin exercising regularly, the use of my time began to change. There were not extra hours in the day, only a change in how I used them. As a result, I began to spend less time watching television. Exercise was not a use of more time, it was a better use of my existing time.
Similarly with money, I used to think there was never enough. But as we began our journey towards minimalism, we soon discovered we had more money available than ever before. Not because we were making more, but because we were spending less at the shopping mall. Suddenly, we were able to redirect more finances towards saving, giving, and creating memorable experiences for our family. We did not spend more of our money, we spent it better.
As positive changes began taking place in my home and life, I felt drawn to eat better. As a result, I began learning how to cook and enjoy healthier foods and meals. Junk food was being replaced with fruits and vegetables and chicken and fish. I didn’t add food to my diet, I changed the food in my diet. Not more, better.
Often times, one of the greatest changes we can embrace in our lives is learning where to place our focus. When I began to intentionally choose to meditate on the positives in my life rather than the negatives, I opened my heart to gratitude, contentment, and joy. This was not a result of more focus, but better focus.
Whether we choose to spend our time with ourselves, positive influences, or negative influences, our relationships are always directed somewhere. These voices we allow into our lives impact us greatly. When I work to choose positive relationships that inspire me to contribute value to this world, it naturally changes who I spend my time with. Again, not more relationships, better relationships.
There are, of course, some elements of life that are not finite. Our capacity for love, hope, and joy will always grow as we discover more and more places to find them. But often times, this growth is not a result of choosing “more” for our lives, but choosing “better.”