Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The True Limitations of Life

Now, I’ve been thinking about this for some time. I hear people complaining about never having something. Most of them I hear are not having enough money. There’s nothing wrong with that but it is when we see it as the sole reason of our successes and failures.

Totally, unrelated to that I want to share that what I think is the true limitations in our life. There are only two, and we must value them the most above all other. They are time and knowledge.

Time. You always hear “time is money” or something like that at some seminars or something. And it’s true. But unfortunately for most of its just some clever words that our facilitator would say to us. But please understand its significance. Maybe an example is in order.

For example, why is it hard to get rich if you’re working for people? It is because you are selling your time; your bosses are the owners of your time and will use it according to their will. Let’s when you work at McD, you get RM4 per hour, for you, your time is worth RM4. And when you use that one hour to work at McD than you’re sacrificing that same hour to do something else, something that might be more useful or make more money to you. Google “opportunity cost” That’s why it is really hard to get CEOs to come down and waste time on trivial stuff like ‘makan malam rasmi’ and stuff like that. Their time is so precious for them. And who can blame them, when their earning so much.

Another example is that when people say a certain work is tiring, too much effort and too much menial work. All that can be quantified through time. If I were I would get tired after doing my work for 3 hours, which mean my limitation is 3 hours. We all have these limitations, we can never change the amount of time we have, 24 hours per day, 7 days a week. So like oil, which is in a finite supply, value your time. Another example, is in logistics and transportation, you need time to move objects and such. These concerns are important to corporations and so we should see it as the same. Bottom-line, we all are governed by time, we are concerned with time because in a day we have the same amount of time, and I don’t think a lot of people know when they're going to die.

The next limitation is knowledge or information. I heard this in the book titled, “Freakonomic”, a good read. I think the term is information asymmetry. Meaning, most information are not distributed evenly. You don’t expect a janitor to know economics principles and access to stock exchange information right? So this difference of information in people will create advantages and disadvantages. It will make the difference. For example, I am selling you a car, I know that the car is over-valued, and unfortunately for you, you have never bought a used car before and do not know how to assess the car. Your lack of information of the car, your lack of skill/knowledge to assess the car causes you make the wrong decision. This situation can happen in any industry and at any level. It will surely happen to you in one way or another. The solution, acquire more knowledge, skill or information.

As a conclusion, no matter what you use your time for, how you use your
informational advantage, time and knowledge are your greatest asset. These two things can never be taken away from you by anyone else, but YOU can easily throw it away without realizing it.

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