TCOBaG: Time is Money, but Value is . . . ?

Time is not money. Money, I can make again 🙂 But I do see the logic of this. What bothers me is this tendency to place a greater value on something because it takes up, needed, or requires more time to do.

Sometimes this might be the case, fine wine, diamonds, and large works of art, as well as scientific discoveries, research and development, and even things like great relationships. More time = better value.

One part that is not in the equation though is our desire to latch onto, hold on to sometimes at even detrimental costs, things simply because of the time that has been invested.

So, what am I getting at?

It is a dangerous trap to fall into, believing that value is directly proportionate to time spent.

Often we are just as bound to trying to hang on to something because we’ve invested so much time into it as we are to think that something we have is not worth much because the time it took to create it was so short.

Recently I had a discussion with a colleague who had just written his first book. I expressed concern over the value of including a certain portion and that others would likely not find it useful as well. He replied that it was interesting I’d mentioned that, especially since it was specifically brought up as a possible problem by the publishing house he is working with to release the book.

Then, he says, “But I’ve spent so much time working on that particular section, I really hate to give it up.”

Besides this being a common fault among writers, from amateurs to professionals, it is also a common mistake made by many in various walks of life and a wide range of situations.

He attached greater value to the ‘time spent’ than the overall value of the book he was trying to create.

He has chosen to ignore my suggestions, and now the suggestions of the publisher, and is likely to find his whole project looking for a new home, hopefully not just on his hard drive. All of this is because of his misplaced ideal of “time spent equals value.”

The same is true in reverse. Sometimes we think things created in a short time are not of as great an importance, or value, as those created over longer periods.

I’m reminded of the story of the man who went to the dentist for a tooth extraction after suffering in great pain for weeks. He arrived at the dentist’s office, was ushered into the chair
shortly afterwards, spent about 15 minutes with the dentist, the tooth was removed, and he was on his way.

When he received the bill, some $200, he called the dentist to complain. “I was only in your office less than 30 minutes! $200?”

To which the dentist replied, “Next time, I could take longer?”

The key is?

Value is in the result.

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