How to Rethink Time to Become Fulfilled


(3 min read)

Raised in western culture, I think of time as an arrow. That is, I feel I’m constantly moving forward to the future leaving the past behind. Implicit within this is the notion that I’m progressing. While this has many benefits, it has many shortcomings too. A fundamental one is that I’m never happy where I am. But there are other ways to think about time, which can make life more fulfilling:

Think about the age of your parents – say they are seventy years old. The average life expectancy of an adult is eighty years old, so your parents may just have the ten years to live. Then, think about how often you meet your parents each year. Let’s say it’s twice a year. That means that you will meet your parents twenty more times before they pass away.

Suddenly, ten years becomes more real. It will make you appreciate every interaction you have with your parents. You can apply this way of thinking to all aspects of your life from sports days with your children to activities you can do with a healthy body.

Think about the oldest person that held you as a baby – say they were 80 years old, then as a baby you were connected to their 80 years on earth. And at the end, when you are 80 years old and you hold a baby, you are connected to a life that will spend the next 80 years on earth. This means that in total your presence expands to 240 years, not just your 80 years on earth. So, if you’re 40, your expanded presence goes all the way back to 1900 and will go forward to 2140. That’s a lot of time – you touch more lives than you think.

This also means we can see life as a cycle too. Humans are born, grow up and die, then the cycle repeats. It also means governments rise and fall. This way of thinking makes one less fearful of the future and less fearful of dark times – it’s a cycle after all.

So, stop thinking that time is just an arrow – it will expand your mind and it will expand time!


Bilal Hafeez
 is the CEO and Editor of Macro Hive. He spent over twenty years doing research at big banks – JPMorgan, Deutsche Bank, and Nomura, where he had various “Global Head” roles and did FX, rates and cross-markets research.

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