The ultimate investment

Each day, we read about great business leaders and what they have achieved, and there’s always someone topping what the last person accomplished.

Bill Gates rose from obscurity to create the world’s most dominant software company. Michael Dell reinvented how computers are sold. And Steve Jobs at Apple has changed the way people think about music with the iPod.

We are always reading lists of the wealthiest, greatest, biggest and best people in their industries. We have also all heard the expression, “Time is money.” Day planners, Microsoft Outlook, Palm Pilots and even cell phones keep track of our time.

The problem with time is that, in the big scheme of life, the master clock is covered, so we don’t know how much time we really have to achieve what we want.

Time is not only money, it should also be looked at as opportunity. The most precious commodity each of us has is time. As we approach the end of another year and the beginning of a new one, each of us should stop and reflect on what we are investing our time in.

Consider the story of a father and son walking through a cemetery. The son was looking at the date of birth and date of death on the tombstones to see how long each person had lived. The father said to the son, “The most important thing is not how long they lived but the dash in between the dates.”

Every day, we are, in a sense, writing our own epitaph.

The question we should ask ourselves is, “What are we investing in that will outlive us?” The answer should be relationships, because everything else we do depreciates.

Everyone wants to last longer than his or her life. People want to be remembered.

Finding ways to make a difference in people’s lives is what you should strive for, because in the end, relationships are what will be remembered, not your business accomplishments. The movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” shows that even when you think you are living a life of insignificance, what is truly remembered and what truly makes a difference are the relationships you form with others.

So this holiday season, stop worrying about how big your buildings are, how high your profits are going to be and how you are going to leave your mark on the business world, and instead make sure your relationships are making a difference in people’s lives.

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