The Connection Between Time and Money

By Jimmy Warden

Introduction Story

On December 30th, 1984, a baby boy was born in Akron, Ohio. He grew up in a poverty-stricken neighborhood and was raised by his mother; his father was not in the picture. As he grew older, he started to use his time effectively by playing basketball. He became fond of the sport, and he couldn’t get enough.

His skills improved with the time he dedicated to the game. Once he got into high school, he was a household name in the basketball community. He was even named “The Chosen One” at the tender age of 17. The young man couldn’t even buy tobacco, but he was deemed the next hoops legend. In the 2003 NBA draft, he got drafted with the first pick overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers. This young man was none other than LeBron James.

A photo of LeBron James in high school, via Google Images
A photo of LeBron James in high school, via Google Images

How LeBron’s story is an example of the connection between time and money

You might be wondering why I wrote a synthesized version of LeBron’s origin story as the introduction to this post, so let me explain.

The amount of time that LeBron put into becoming the basketball player he is today is absurd. At this point in his career, he has spent well over 10,000 hours on his craft. I’m not 100% sure of how much time he put into developing his skills before he got drafted, but I am going to estimate that it was close to that 10,000 hour mark, considering he was deemed “The Chosen One”. Between skill sessions, high school winter basketball, spring and summer AAU, and countless other leagues, it was hard to find a time when James wasn’t in the gym, especially when he was growing up and had nothing else to do except stay off of the streets.

Why is that 10,000-hour measure so important? Here’s why:

Enter the 10,000-hour rule.

The 10,000-hour rule

The 10,000-hour rule was developed by psychologist Anders Ericsson in 1993. Ericsson and colleagues conducted a study with violinists that measured their abilities. The study aimed to determine how much time the best violin players allocated toward improving their craft.

Aaron Rosand, renowned violinist, Google Images
Aaron Rosand, renowned violinist, Google Images

The results came back, and the violinists who were the cream of the crop put in an average of 10,000 hours of deliberate practice. That equates to 20 hours of practice a week for 50 weeks, over 10 years. For the number crunchers, 20 x 50 x 10 = 10,000.

When someone spends 10,000 hours on their craft, they’re often considered a master. Does it always work out this way? Yes and no. Some people take less time to become masters, and other people take more, but the average is 10,000 hours.

That’s cool, but how is this related to money?

A boss I once had always used to say: time is money. In many ways, he was and still is correct in that regard. And the 10,000-hour rule is no different.

The 10,000-hour rule is more of an analogy than anything else:

Wherever you deposit your time, you become rich.

Using that analogy, time is literally money. LeBron James deposited years of his life toward mastering his roundball prowess and is arguably the greatest player the world has ever seen. The violinists that were part of Ericsson’s experiment did the same. They spent so much time on their skills that they were part of prestigious orchestras.

So what does that mean for us?

How it applies to the everyday person

We have two limited resources in our lives: time and money. Both of those resources are intimately connected to each other, but time is the one that people value the most. A lot of us believe that no amount of money can equate to the value of the time we have to live. A lot of us also believe that we should spend time wisely. The paradox is that we don’t always do that.

Face of regret, Google images
Face of regret, Google images

Think about the amount of time that we’ve wasted on our phones. Think about the time that’s vanished doing things we don’t enjoy. Think about the regrets that manifest from not being wise about how time was spent.

Were we making thoughtful deposits with our time? In one word: No.

To spend our time well and deposit it in the right places, we need to figure out what to spend it on. We must also have the right level of self-awareness; we won’t know how to schedule our time if we don’t have that. Having a high level of self-awareness helps us understand what our passions are, what we love doing, what we can’t stand doing, what attributes we love about ourselves, what attributes we wish to change about ourselves, what purpose we have for living, and most importantly, what type of person we want to be. All of that information contributes to aligning our days, weeks, months, and years to ensure we’re maximizing our limited time on Earth.

Taking the time to do this helps us deposit our time in the proper locations. More time will be spent doing what we know is right, and less time will be spent on what causes us agony.

Although it may not equate to riches in the sense of money, it will equate to rich time. And that’s the best asset anyone can have.

Bob Marley quote from an interview when asked about being rich, Google Images
Bob Marley quote from an interview when asked about being rich, Google Images

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