Time invested, not time wasted

I was reading an article in Forbes magazine this morning and I came across the following quote:

“Japan never considers time together as time wasted. Rather, it is time invested.”

This sentence caught my attention as I read it over again. It’s an interesting perspective that made me think for a few minutes. What if we had this mindset of viewing every minute we spend with others as time invested, rather than time wasted? As we grow older, it becomes inevitable that our lives become “busier.” If the free time we spend with others isn’t a fantastic experience, it’s common for us to take that time spent for granted or thinking, “Wow, what a waste of my time.” When your parents ask you to sit down for a few minutes and watch a silly movie with them  when you have other things you’d rather be doing, it’s easy to think you’re “wasting” your time. But maybe shifting our perspective and thinking of all time spent with others as time invested can allow us to better appreciate every moment and every human interaction we have. Maybe your parents were starting to feel distant from you because you’ve been going out so much that they rarely get to see you, and those few minutes spent in silence watching that silly movie was cherished time for them? Even negative interactions with others can be seen as time invested. When you interact with others you may not like, or have any experience with someone/others that you didn’t enjoy, these moments could provide more insight and understanding toward yourself. You can understand the type of people, attitudes and behaviors that you don’t want to be around. You can think of how to positively affect and alter similar experiences if you encounter them again in the future. I found a great quote that summarizes this point:

View challenging people as your assignment. Ask yourself: “What is this person meant to teach me?” Every person in our lives has a lesson to teach. Some lessons include: To become stronger, to be more communicative, to trust intuition, to be more self-loving, to know when to let go, to be nothing like this person.

In the end, we should strive to cherish the time we spent with those we care for, and to try to find the hidden lessons in our challenging encounters.