Investing Daily Action in Worthwhile Pursuits
Pointing our efforts toward ambitions with durable benefits.
The key is in not spending time, but in investing it.
Steven R. Covey
In his book, Die With Zero, Bill Perkins measures the value of our lives with Life Experience Points. Different experiences are worth more than others. For example, a day spent running errands is worth far fewer experience points than a day spent on vacation with your family.
Perkins argues it doesn’t make sense to leave money in the bank when we die, and we should deploy our money thoughtfully to maximize the creation of Life Experience Points instead.
A core piece of Perkins’ argument for creating meaningful and memorable life experiences is what he calls the Memory Dividend. Not only do we build up Life Experience Points during the experience, but every time we remember the experience fondly or rehash it with family or friends, we experience the benefit of a Memory Dividend, which further improves the experience of our lives.
This idea is obviously comparative to compound interest. The same way we decide to spend our time and money on experiences that have varying degrees of enjoyment, we allocate our money into locations that provide varying degrees of return. We can put all of our money in a savings account and receive linear returns or we can invest it compound or exponential returns.
Extending this metaphor one more time, the same logic applies to the time and effort we invest into our Daily Actions. I often talk about what I call Worthwhile Pursuits. These are leveraged pursuits that make us, and the people around us, a bit better each day. When we point our Daily Actions towards Worthwhile Pursuits, our efforts are beneficial for their own sake and we receive dividends down the road.
What classifies as a Worthwhile Pursuit is different for everyone, but the distinguishing factors are Daily Actions that move us forward that day and provide perpetual dividends for years to come.
We can only invest our time and energy into a small number of things in any given day. If we invest in watching tv and eating Doritos, we can probably agree that we’re not moving ourselves forward that day, and there won’t be any dividends from those pursuits years down the road.
If we invest our Daily Action in exercise, reading, or intentional time with people we care about, there is an immediate benefit, and these pursuits will continue to pay dividends for years to come as knowledge, memories, and fitness provide durable benefits over time.
The more of our Daily Action we can point towards Worthwhile Pursuits, the more enjoyable and fulfilling our lives will be. Most of us are focused on increasing our earnings and saving for retirement, not so we can sit around and do nothing all day, but so we can invest more of our time into things we deem worthwhile.
The later we wait to point our Daily Action toward Worthwhile Pursuits, the less time we’ll have for the dividends to compound. The earliest each of us can commit to something incredible is right now.
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What is the most important Worthwhile Pursuit in your life?
Are there any Worthwhile Pursuits you’ve been neglecting? Inconsequential pursuits you need to neglect?
How is your Daily Action allocated right now? What would your ideal allocation look like?
A very interesting book presenting a unique framework to view money and its purpose.
Thanks for reading! I’ll see you next Sunday.