Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Alexander's Three Wishes

On his deathbed Alexander the Great summoned his generals and told them his three ultimate wishes: 

  • The best doctors should carry his coffin
  • The wealth he had accumulated (money, gold, precious stones) should be scattered along the way to his burial
  • His hands should be left hanging outside the coffin for all to see
Perplexed by these unusual requests, one of his generals asked Alexander to explain these wishes:

Alexander & Aristotle
And this is what he said: “I want the best doctors to carry my coffin to demonstrate in the face of death, even the best doctors and physicians have no power to heal. I want the road to be covered with my treasure so that everybody sees that whatever wealth you acquire on earth, stays on earth. I want my hands to swing in the wind so that people understand that we come to this world empty-handed and we leave empty-handed after the most precious treasure of all is spent and exhausted — time.” 

Yes, Time is our most precious treasure because it is limited. We can produce more wealth, but we cannot produce more time. The ultimate mystery is that no one knows how much time we really have on Earth, so use your time wisely.

In that vein, here are some quotes that echo Alexander's feelings about time:

“Does't thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.”
--Benjamin Franklin

“How you spend your time is far more important than all the material possessions you may own or positions you may attain.”
—Denis Waitley

“Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful, lest you let other people spend it for you.”
—Carl Sandburg

“Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend.”

"The bad news is time flies. The good news is you're the pilot."
--Michael Altshuler

"Lost wealth may be replaced by industry, lost knowledge by study, lost health by temperance or medicine, but lost time is gone forever."
--Samuel Smiles

“We cannot waste time. We can only waste ourselves."
--George M. Adams

“It will take you less time and effort to do a thing the difficult way than it will to buy, try and discard all the shortcuts.”
--Seth Godin

“Too often man handles life as he does the bad weather. He whiles away the time as he waits for it to stop."
--Alfred Polgar

"The strongest of all warriors are these two: time and patience."
-- Leo Tolstoy

“Don't be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the year as you make use of."
--Charles Richards

"Four things come not back, the spoken word, the sped arrow, time past, and the neglected opportunity."
-- Arabian Proverb

“When you kill a little time, you may be murdering opportunity.”
--Harvey Mackay

"To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time."
--Leonard Bernstein

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