Isn’t Time the Most Precious Thing

Nick Gold 30 May 2018

We live in a world which sometimes feels overwhelmingly negative but two values that seems to be more important than ever is that of purpose and meaning. In my opinion, it has always been an intrinsic part of any persons make up but has been outwardly suppressed by the western world’s view that success is based on status and money.

And then millennials arrived...or maybe people just started considering their lives and their goals, questioning what they were defining as happiness. The context of value and purpose started becoming increasingly important as the internet made individuals more aware of a myriad of issues across the world. Individuals started seeking to do more with their time, seeking more from their work and personal lives. Conversations were had around the causes and campaigns that people were attaching themselves to and actively getting involved in.

It is refreshing and invigorating to see people being passionate about worldwide issues and creating a society which is more engaged with themselves and the environment surrounding them. Of course, there is a negative, which is that this can create divisions and judgements between people and can bring extreme positions into the limelight. But at this time, I prefer to remain relentlessly positive.

Balancing Salary vs Leisure Time

This outward expression of an individual’s focus on purpose has resulted in an interesting shift in discussions I have had with friends and wider networks. It seems that conversations about work solely focussed on wages, positions or office politics is being balanced by another view around time and how precious it is. There is a growing realisation that the most valuable commodity we have is time and while everything previously mentioned is critically important, without time, these elements cannot deliver. With time, purpose and meaning can be realised and causes can be acted on.

Whilst thinking about how people can find purpose in the wider community, it seems to me that the political spectrum focusses on how we raise funds in order to spend money on services for the benefit of the country. Recently, a lot of attention has been paid to how much money is required to save the NHS but this could be referred to social care, to education, to the police or to many other critical services that make the UK an amazing place to live.

Individuals have beliefs over which services deserve to be prioritised and which areas they would like to see their taxes focus on to at least maintain the levels of, if not improve.  So if we, as a society, are moving evermore towards deeper values and purpose and we want to believe and invest our time in certain causes, could this be a new way we look at tax?

Why Can't We Donate Time?

It is acknowledged by businesses that, in order to attract and retain talent, the company needs to offer more than a great salary. The benefits and environment that a company provides is just as important. It is understood that if an individual believes in the company and its purpose they will deliver maximum effort and results. Historically, this meant companies might align themselves with charities or causes through donations, but my question is: why can we not donate more time?

As such, in a society where we are told that raising tax will generate a certain amount of money to improve a service, why can’t companies encourage or even mandate employees to use some of their work hours to help out charities or public services that could benefit from specific expertise. If this was managed in the right way, this would generate the purpose and meaning individuals require to deliver tangible value and also help areas that need volunteers who bring unique skillsets.

Fostering Fortnight

Why has this all been playing on my mind? ‘Fostering Fortnight’ is drawing to a close, a time to raise the profile of the cause and to recruit more foster carers. Over 7,000 new foster care families are needed throughout the UK over the next 12 months to deal with the anticipated number of children requiring homes. While this is not something that someone should do on a whim, it is the sort of cause that could be embraced by a company to give, as part of an individual’s working week, time to help through respite care or even administrative aid to give human support to a service. I don’t apologise for picking out this one cause, as someone who is physically and emotionally invested in the foster care scene, but I would say that this could be replaced with many other public services or charities that would be enormously enhanced by corporate support.

I am not saying I have a solution to the issues of austerity that stand up to vigorous inspection. But I certainly ask the question about how we, as a society, manage our resources. And is our historical thought process that resources are directly equated to taxes and money a legacy of a bygone era? Are we, as individuals and as businesses, starting to understand that time is the real precious commodity that we can use to deliver, both to ourselves and to society, purpose and meaning?

Our Next Knowledge Guild Event

Our summer 2018 Knowledge Guild, hosted in partnership with The Brewery, arrives at an exciting time for social change. Support for equal opportunities has empowered us all to re-evalute our purpose in life and to seek memorable experiences, both in and outside the workplace.

Join us for an evening of fascinating discussions and insights exploring the Meaning of Life. Our host, Georgie Barrat , will be supported by a trio of inspirational game-changers who will reveal the possibilities before us. Noreena HertzSam Conniff  and  Johnny Cupcakes  will take to the stage stimulating debate within the audience.

The event, Putting Meaning into Life, will take place on Monday June 25th. For more details and to register your free attendance, please visit our website .

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