When is your day?

I was recently invited to present on the topic of work life balance. In preparation, I referred to a brilliant book by Cyril Peupion, called Work Smarter: Live Better. The below is a direct reference, and the majority has been quoted from the book. Please take time to read and consider, it is worth it – I promise:

Imagine you have just won the lottery. You won five million dollars. The dream is now a reality. What would you do with his money? Be honest, crazy, fun. New house, cars, holiday etc?

Now imagine you won the lottery, but the prize comes with strings attached to it. The five million dollars is yours, but you cannot earn, win or inherit any more money for the rest of your life. You can invest the five million, but there is no salary. All you have is the five million dollars. Now how would you spend the money? A different strategy, more reserved, sensible? Probably.

When something is limited we better appreciate the value of it. Right?

Now consider this proposal. The lottery man comes with a different proposition. He is holding a briefcase with some money inside. You don’t know how much money is inside. Could be anything from five bucks to $100m, you don’t know.

However, this time the offer is different. It’s a ‘deal or no deal‘. If you take the briefcase, and the money within, we will take all your belongings and the money in the briefcase is all you will have for the rest of your life. You cannot earn, win or inherit any more money for the rest of your life. You can invest some or all of the money. You cannot earn a salary. All you have to play with is the amount in the briefcase.

Would you take the briefcase? Probably not, most won’t and why would you – the risk is too high.

The final consideration. Same proposition as before with the briefcase. However, the lottery man comes with a briefcase with some money inside, anything from five dollars to a $100m. Same as a previous proposition: if you take the briefcase, all your belongings will be taken aways from you and all you will have to invest is the money inside the case.

The difference with the previous proposition is that there is a small opening on the briefcase with a $5 note sticking out. The briefcase is built so that whenever you take the $5 note, another one appears. You cannot open the briefcase; you have to take the money note by note.

The big difference with the previous deal is that even if you take the deal you won’t know how much money there is in the briefcase. You will have to take the money, one $5 note after another, until it stops. Of course, you don’t know if there is only one $5 note, and the money will stop after the first withdrawal, or if there is a $100m i.e. an almost endless flow of $5 notes.

Would you take the deal? Definitely no, right? You are not alone. Yet, if you substitute money for time, this is the deal we are given. We live a minute and another minute appears. We live another minute and another one appears. No one knows how many minutes we have.

We are given a terrible deal with time – a deal no one would accept with money. However, we place much more value on our money than on our time ….

Make every minute count, enjoy your life.

Thanks for reading.


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