It’s recently come to my attention that there’s loads of people in our lives. I know, shocking. But really, think about how many “connections” we have on social networking sites. I guess I use that word connections loosely there because we really don’t connect with them as much as we really should. But the point is that we’re investing our time in their lives, and they in ours.

To say that I’m a reader is an understatement. I used to hate reading. Thought it was a waste of time. Now I probably read at good portion of my day. Whether it be reading what I’ve written, blog posts, status updates, emails, text or just a good ‘ol book. Yes, I read a lot. I would venture to say that you do as well. Which made me think of all those people who are investing their time into creating work worth paying attention to and helping to create the content driven society we are all a part of.

The time we’re putting in

We should never feel like the time we’re here is a waste. I write a lot about passion and doing what you love but that doesn’t just have to pertain to a job. It means other aspects of your life as well.

I’ve recently connected with Kimanzi Constable and have really taken to what he has to say on several things. One in particular is where he defines the difference between “living” and just “existing.” He notes that if we want to really succeed at something or not look back on it as wasted time, we have to be intentional about whatever we’re doing. Know that if we watch TV for 2 hours one night, we can’t go back in time and do something more productive. This is what has been known for years as the opportunity cost.

We should know that whatever time we put into something cannot be used for something else. That time is gone. Which really makes me look back and see where I’m investing a good part of my time at. Is it a good book? Is it TV? Is it sleeping? What about time with my kid or wife? None of these are inherently good or bad, we just have to make sure that what we’re doing is, in fact, what we want to be doing. (Disclaimer: yes, I know sometimes we have to do what we don’t really want to. Let’s just keep those to a minimum.)

Forming the connection

It’s been said before that we connect with people through stories. And that’s true. Which is why I believe we connect better with certain people in our lives than we do with others. Maybe it’s personality to some degree, but I think a common story is the real connecting point for many of us. I know that I’ve met people who didn’t seem to have much zest for life or really be passionate about anything. I didn’t connect well with them. That’s not me. Their story, or lack thereof, didn’t get me.

Think of several of the people who you read the most on Facebook, talk to the most on Twitter or the blogs you read most often. Chances are they have something in common with you. We know this, that’s basic human nature. But what is their story? I think you’d be surprised to find out, if you don’t know already, that it borders yours. There’s a connection there for a reason and often times it’s the story that we’re after.

The flip side

So yeah, we’re investing our time in someone else whether they be a celebrity in our eyes, a mentor, a family member, whatever. But the flip side to that is that they are investing their time in us. Regardless of whether that mentor you look up to online has ever said one word to you personally, they have invested countless hours in you. Their books, blog, speaking or course has been created to help and invest in people just like you and I.

And that’s where I find myself today. I realize the time I invest in others is directly proportional to the time others are investing in me. And chances are, I’m actually getting the better end of the deal.

I will leave you with this. Have you checked up to see what you’re investing your time in? Is it where you want it to be? Or is it wasted time?