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When Every Millisecond Counts

When Every Millisecond Counts

Take advantage of every moment and be a champion at whatever you aspire to do.


There are many lessons to extract from the Olympics currently taking place in London, England. Olympians serve as models of being extraordinarily focused and determined to realize the goals they have set for themselves. They are not satisfied with anything less than putting forth their very best effort and achieving the best results. Watching them reminds us to pursue our dream goal with everything we have.

There is another lesson that strikes me during this Olympic season. Most of us tend to devalue time. Young people think that they will live forever and have endless amounts of time before them. Older people sometimes feel that the prime of their lives is over and spend the days trying to pass the time. Contemporary society has even developed an idiom "killing time." Technology has made this task easier as we can pass the hours mindlessly surfing the web, playing on our smart phones or flipping the channels.

From a Jewish perspective killing time is considered a suicide in installments.Time is among the most precious commodities that we have. Once it has passed, it cannot be recovered. If it is wasted, it cannot be made up. There is a limited amount of it allocated to each one of us and with every passing second we come closer to emptying our account. As badly as we would like to slow it down sometimes, or speed it up at others, we cannot control time as it moves along at a steady pace entirely beyond our controller manipulation.

Each moment of our lives is precious and pregnant with possibility. We have the choice to fill our time with noble pursuits like helping others, improving ourselves, challenging our minds, developing our souls, caring for our bodies, or connecting with family and friends. Or, God forbid, we can allow time to pass without anything meaningful, squandered, wasted and unused.

Related Article: Go for the Gold

As endless and limitless as time may seem in our lives, in truth every single moment counts. There is no place that we see the value of every second more poignantly than the Olympics. Athletes train their entire lives building up to this moment. Whether diving into a pool or pushing off the starting line of the track, everything they have worked for comes down to this. Races are often decided in the fraction of a second. The difference between qualifying or staying home, winning a medal or simply showing, being celebrated or a forgotten can be a millisecond.

Not only must we make every day in our lives count, every hour, every minute and as the Olympics teaches us, every millisecond matters, and can make or break us. If we combine all those milliseconds that we waste, we can find the time we think we don't have, to pursue noble endeavors and to achieve our goals, aspirations and dreams.

A Jew once asked Rav Yisroel Salanter "if I only have 15 minutes a day to learn, what should I learn, Bible, Talmud, the Prophets or Jewish law?” Rav Yisroel answered, "Learn Mussar, character development, and you will realize that you have much more than 15 minutes a day to learn."

Every Moment Is Precious (Author Anonymous) –

To realize the value of ONE YEAR
Ask a student who has failed his exam.

To realize the value of ONE MONTH
Ask a mother who has given birth to a premature baby.

To realize the value of ONE WEEK
Ask an editor of a weekly newspaper.

To realize the value of ONE DAY
Ask a daily wage laborer who has ten kids to feed.

To realize the value of ONE HOUR
Ask those waiting for a loved one in surgery

To realize the value of ONE MINUTE
Ask the person who missed the train.

To realize the value of ONE SECOND
Ask a person who has survived an accident.

To realize the value of ONE MILLISECOND
Ask the person who won a "silver" medal in the Olympics.

Take advantage of every moment and be a champion at whatever you aspire to do.

August 6, 2012

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Visitor Comments: 3

(3) Sarah, August 12, 2012 6:26 AM

I loved this article, how positive it was. It was just what I needed to read. Thank you for sharing these great spiritual insights with us.

(2) Edwin.Hissink, August 7, 2012 9:08 PM

this its what i like do much from discussions

Two opposite reasoning if one compares two articles today in about the Olympics. This is what I see as the real Jewish scholar character

(1) ruth housman, August 7, 2012 1:17 PM

Book Ends

You have an interesting set of articles this time on Aish, and like bookends they say different things, about the Olympics. The metaphor drawn here seems apt, about how focused attention to a goal, brings about excellence and perhaps that focus is its own reward, as in following one's deepest passions, wherever they may be. Sometimes I will say, a field lays fallow for a long long time, and we do this, in agriculture, because the soil needs replenishment, new nourishment and that can be a soul thing, and very much it is a sole thing, meaning we are solitary and we are more connected to each other than we ever thought possible. I do not judge those who fall by the wayside, who are sunk in deep depression and cannot get up for even a cup of tea. I do not judge those who find themselves in meditative retreat and on journeys that seem disconnected from the community, as in hermitage and hermits. Time in a cabin in the woods, as did Thoreau can bring about the deep insights seen in his very name, as EAU means water in French, and we "owe" a lot to these solitary and deep thinkers and also within Judaism. As in the cave story that spawned great Kabbalist insights, as in, The Zohar itself. What you consider a waste of time, could be expansive, and I say, do not judge others for how they live it, but respect them, and if they need a helping hand, do offer this. But some of the best in life comes from those who step out of the stream, and some of the best in life comes from those who go to the X tremes, who live on a different time frame. And yes, time does stop. It does for me, when I visit the exquisite and revisit the exquisite as in the simple contemplation of one sunflower. Time stopped for me a long time ago, and I live always in a meditative space, and that space tells me, it's ALL GOD.

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