I am going to make an admission here, and I hope you don’t judge me for it. I love the movie franchise, Pitch Perfect. What can I say? I am a feel-good kinda guy. I am not going into the reasons why I love all three movies; I just do. In Pitch Perfect 2, there is a scene where Becca is interning at a music production company, where the boss is a frantic and controlling type of guy. At one stage he is corralling the team to help with a dilemma he has. As he is trying to get everyone to ‘the table’ he says, hurry up, time is like a toddler in a tiara, precious and short.
I have watched these movies many times, and the last time I watched it, these words affected me. The first few times I watched this scene, I laughed as the words came out of his mouth, because the visual of a toddler in a tiara is a cute and funny one. The most recent time I watched it, I stopped and reflected on what I was doing with my time, as it is really quite a profound statement. Was watching Pitch Perfect 2, for the umpteenth occasion really the best way to spend my time, when time is precious and short?
Time is the one resource we have that once gone, is gone, forever. We can’t get it back, we can’t change the past, and we can’t undo, unsay, or unthink things we have done, said, or thought. I have lost money but thankfully was able to make it back. I have had conflict but gratefully been able to restore harmony. I have had clothes and shoes that have worn out and gladly have been able to buy new ones. My greatest regrets in life are not from losing money, occasional conflict, or things wearing out, instead time I have not utilised that I can never get back again.
When I was in my late teens and early twenties, and was playing professional football, I remember getting told many times by different coaches and veterans of the sport, to make the most of the time playing. They explained that it goes so quickly and will be over before I know it, and I don’t want to ever look back with regret. I didn’t pay any attention, because I was a clueless kid who thought I knew everything, but really knew nothing. I thought to myself, what do they know? I am young and at the beginning of my amazingly long and successful professional sporting career. I didn’t heed their advice and I didn’t make the most of what I had. Little did I know at that time, as a result of my crappy attitude, my professional sporting career would be over when I was just 23 and would leave me with regret for not giving it a better shot.
We often look into our future and either naively expect everything will just work out the way we want, or we worry about whether it actually will work out the way we want. Both are poor strategies because they disregard the ‘toddler in a tiara’ concept. When we believe that time is truly precious and short, we make the most of the only time we have available to us, that is right now. When we really accept that time is precious and short, we will start to focus on the most important things. We will resolve the conflict with important people in our lives, we will turn off the TV to get started and focused on our wellbeing, we will improve the communication with people we love, we will start working on our financial strength, and will make living with purpose, meaning, and joy a priority. When we start thinking about a ‘toddler in a tiara’, we will start to really live our life.
When my mother was sick with cancer, I spent much of my time with my head in the sand hoping it would just go away and thinking it would all just be okay. I lost so much precious time I could have been with her. I am just grateful the penny dropped before she passed, so I could make the most of the precious and short time I had left with her. What about you? Where are you spending your time? Where is your most valuable resource, the one you can never get back, being invested? Will you be grateful, or will you be regretful when it is gone, in all of the areas of your life? Please spend some time, now, to assess your ‘toddler in a tiara’.
In my podcast this week called Money mindset, Paula Day talks about the period of her life she was spending working crazy hours and missing that unrecoverable time with her family. She made a decision to refocus her precious and short time in building a business that would give her time and money, and now she helps others do the same.
I hope I have made you feel a little uncomfortable this week. Just as uncomfortable as I started feeling the last time I watched Pitch Perfect 2, and heard the ‘toddler in a tiara’ line. We all only get one shot at life on earth, and as we head, at a rapid rate, towards the halfway point of 2023, isn’t it time to make sure we prioritise the greatest and most vulnerable resource we have? This week, look at ‘the toddler in a tiara’ and make the decision to live your life with the attitude that your time on this planet truly is precious and short.