It seems to go slower when you’re young and faster as you age. You can’t stop it but it can stop you. It can be an entrepreneur’s best friend or worst enemy. It’s a liability or an asset depending on how you use it. It’s dynamic and feels like it’s moving at warp speed one minute and at a crawl during others.
It’s time. We all get the same 86,400 seconds each day, except June 30, when we got 86,401.
The earth’s rotation around the sun gradually slowed this week and granted us what scientists are calling a “leap second." In other words, you had an extra second on Tuesday. How did you use it? If you blinked, you missed it.
Don’t blink, you’ll miss a lot of things.
Sometimes the universe sends us signs that we need to slow down and take a little extra time. On three important “personal” days this year the universe sent me the same sign over and over again. That sign came in the form of a song on the radio titled "Don’t Blink." It’s a song about slowing down and not missing the really important things.
Coincidentally or not, I heard it at least six times each day on my birthday, Father’s Day and the day I took my kids to visit my dad’s grave. That night from our hotel room, I emailed the songwriter Chris Wallin to ask him his inspiration behind writing the song that became a Billboard #1 for Kenny Chesney back in 2007.
He explained that the universe was sending him some signs too. He wrote the song because he lost his mother, grandmother and brother all in the same year. He also said something very profound:
“We wait to send people flowers at their funeral when really we should send them flowers while they are still living. People always think they have more time and we just don’t know when our time is up so we need to let those people know what we think of them right now while we still can.”
"Don’t Blink" is about what a 102-year-old man shares as the secret of life: being present in the moment, enjoying where you are while you’re there and not taking people or your time for granted.
The song is also the secret to entrepreneurial life as well. As entrepreneurs today we have become so busy that it seems we blink and miss a lot of moments going on around us in our personal lives.
In the U.S., we wear busyness and workaholism like a badge of honor. I should know: My dad was a workaholic and I’m a recovering one. Research indicates that 80 percent of Americans work between 40 to 79 hours a week and each year 421 million vacation days go unused.
My mentor didn’t call it workaholism, he referred to it as “destination disease” -- we convince ourselves we’ll take our foot off the gas when we get the next investor, the next acquisition or the next million but not a minute sooner. We get so caught up in the destination that we blink and miss the journey, which is the reward.
Whether it’s a song or another sort of “sign” we need frequent reminders to live in the present. We can get caught up in counting the wrong things, such as the sales days left in the month and quarter. In planning and working for greater success and a brighter future, we count the days instead of make the days count. As a result, we run the risk of missing today and that might be all there is.
Ask yourself this: If tomorrow never comes, how satisfied would you be with the way today ended?
Chris Wallin is one of Nashville’s top songwriters because he has an amazing knack for finding the extraordinary in ordinary life. We could all stand to learn how to do that better in our own lives. Our years are nothing more than a series of nows, leap seconds if you will, so don’t blink.
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