This “Unit Theory” is something that has crossed my mind a few times over the past few months. I THINK it was kind of sparked from speaking to my brother and listening to how many hours he puts in at the office and how out of shape he’s getting because of lack of time and having to eat more unhealthy “convenience” foods….. He never gets out in the sunshine (stuck indoors all day) and has put on loads of weight. To this end I started calling him “Moby” (You know…. Moby Dick…. The “white whale”! 😉 )
It occured to me that, even though he’s working hard for his family and bringing in some great money (by anyone’s standards) he MAY not be getting a great trade. It got me thinking that in life we all have currency to trade. We’re born with two types and basically everyone on the planet has to work (in some way) for the 3rd.
The 3 currencies or “units” are:
We’re ALL born with SOME amount of health and time (some more than others obviously). And we all need to “work” for money. The trouble is, I think we put a little, if not a LOT of emphasis on the Money and not enough on the Time or Health units. You hear of people bringing in extraordinary amounts of cash per year but they don’t ACTUALLY have the time or relaxed environment to enjoy it. People who strive for the Money find it really hard to unwind and switch off. And when they DO finally slow down and take a break they get sick! Of course this isn’t EVERYONE. There are ALWAYS exceptions. But I’m talking in general.
You most likely know people who sit at a desk all day. Eat shitty foods and don’t exercise. They’re hunched over at a computer (kind of like I am now :-/). Complain of headaches and their bodies seem to get more doughy or out of shape by the day. THESE people are trading Time and Health units for Money units.
But do you see? They’re trading TWO for ONE!! Is this a good deal? And if not, could it be better??? I’d like to think so.
Every decision we make should take into account all 3 units of currency. And wherever possible we should trade ONE for TWO! And if THAT isn’t possible at least ONE for ONE. If we NEEEEEEEED to earn the money (remember my post about Need vs Want?) then try to minimise the damage to the Time and Health columns.
You see people on the news out in so called “3rd world” countries working in fields all day. People describe this as “back breaking work” and no doubt in a lot of ways it takes its toll. But are we any better sat at our desks in our offices in high rise buildings living in polluted cities working 14hr days?? I don’t think we are. They have clean, fresh air. Ours is dirty. They have nice fresh foods. Ours are processed. They’re using their bodies to move and bend and stretch. Ours are sat, static. They might not have much money, but are they REALLY worse off?? They have more Time units and for the most part and more quality Health units too.
Yes in the “modern world” we have great medication. We have a medication for EVERYTHING nowadays. But it’s all artificial. Headache bought on by stress? Here, take a paracetamol. Asthma bought on by pollution? Here, have an inhaler! We may be living longer… but are we actually any HEALTHIER?? (And remember, living longer means we also have to WORK longer too!). Nowadays we have MORE and MORE health issues. MORE and MORE of us are sick day to day. We’re surviving, but we’re not HEALTHY.
Health units means things like having less stress in your life or not catching every cough and cold that goes round, not just “managing to stay alive”!
Time units means things like having time to socialise, spend time with loved ones (which actually has GREAT effects on Health), relax, enjoy taking a walk without the worry of HAVING to be somewhere at a certain time.
Take a man who has a family and then works day and night and all weekend to “provide” for them. He rarely gets to SEE them. And when he does he’s too preoccupied, ill, tired or otherwise to actually ENJOY time with them and, just as importantly, for them to enjoy time with HIM. Is that man really “providing” for his family? Or is he just paying for objects in his life much like a T.V, car or house??
We live in a world of over 7 billion people at the time of writing this…. This planet is already over populated. So he’s not doing it because the human race depends on him! He’s doing it because it’s expected. Because society says it’s the done thing. But the trouble is, society is, for the most part, fucking stupid! I’m going to steal a quote from Agent K from Men in Black….
“A PERSON is smart…. PEOPLE are stupid” (No truer words have been spoken)
We all just trundle along on this wheel trying to get more and more money. Working every day. STUCK in a loop that we can’t get out of. Throwing away our Time and Health units in exchange for Money. Forgetting that money is simply energy which flows from one person to another and no sooner do you have it, it’s gone! But you can NEVER get your Time and Health units back!
We’re all guilty of it. The point of this post is not to preach. I don’t have it right by any stretch. But it’s on my radar.
I’m very lucky in some ways I guess. Because of my lung condition, ever since I was a kid I was forced to think about Time…. how much I might have left. And hand in hand with this I considered how everything I did would impact on my Health. (Remember, health is both MENTAL as well as physical. And I’m willing to admit from first hand experience that if you OVER think this shit you WILL go insane!!) People rarely think about how much they’re drinking at the weekends. Or how little they’re working out or simply moving their bodies. Or how eating Maccy D’s (what we call McDonalds where I’m from!) every night for a week will actually impact on their lives. But I’ve got news for those people…. IT DOES! As the famous quote goes:
“Every action has an equal and opposite reaction”
And it’s true that every adversity is blessed with the seed of equivalent benefit. Because I was forced to think about these things I’ve made every effort to sculpt my life the best I can to give myself enough Money, enough Time and enough Health to at least stand a CHANCE at a good and fulfilled life. It’s true, PEOPLE are stupid…. but YOU are not. So take a look at your life and see if there’s any room for improvement. Could you be healthier. Would it be possible to get more time off? Would taking slightly less money massively improve the quality of your free time and the state of your health?
So I urge you to stop and think for a second. Think about what you’re giving up in exchange for what you’re getting. Take time to negotiate. Be brave enough to say “no”. Have the balls to step up say something when you’re getting a bum deal! At every opportunity trade ONE for TWO, or at LEAST ONE for ONE. But ALWAYS try to avoid TWO for ONE.
Money can always be made. It will come and go but make your Time and Health units count as you can NEVER get them back.