Walking across a vast grassy plain at the height of summer, a young man met his old friend.
“You look tired my young companion.”
“Yes, I am. Work is difficult. I want promotion because it would pay for the new car.”
“So, chase the promotion.”
“That is precisely what I’m doing, but the competition is great.”
“There is no competition my young friend.”
“Yes, there is. As far as I know, I am one of five internal candidates and I don’t know how many externals.”
“No, you are the only competition. What do you wish to prove?”
The young man glanced at his friend. “Is it not obvious? I have to show them I am the best.”
“Indeed, you can show them that you are great at what you do. But, what if they seek to expand the team with somebody who has complimentary skills to yours? Or, they want a woman instead of a man. These are things outside your control. As I said, you are the competition, and that is only if you aim to be better. Then I agree, there is much competition.”
“Other people who want the job see me as their competition.”
“Yes, I am sure they do and that is because you make them feel insecure. They wish to eclipse your sun because they’re jealous of your daylight. They compare themselves to you, but you are not their competition, nor them yours.”
Sat by a campfire in the wilderness, the young man and his old friend talked beneath a blanket of stars.
“What time is it?” The old man asked.
“I don’t know, I don’t own a watch.” The younger man looked at his wrist.
“Why did you do that? You don’t own a time-piece.
“I used to; habit I guess.”
“You clearly think about time my young friend.”
“Yes, I must. Everything I do is geared to time. Preparing for work in the morning. Going to appointments. Knowing when it will be the weekend.”
“So, time is subjective; a tool used to measure events?”
“Yes, I suppose so, but if I try to live outside time, I will be at odds with the world.”
“Very well; forget about the world and consider this. There is no such thing as time; it’s a human construct. When you think about your past, you experience present memories of things that were or still are if you dwell upon them. Now consider your future. If you harbour those dwelled upon memories your mind may then predict or expect things to come.”
“What’s your point?”
“Simple my young friend. By confining yourself to your own limited slice of existence you waste the brief space of life you have.
Assimilate memories into experience if they are useful. If not, use them as warning flags or discard them. Do the things you must do and create steps to carry you forward. Don’t be wasteful, if you are, you squander your life. Heaven knows so many complain that life is too short.