What is the secret of perfect timing? When is the ideal time to achieve a goal?
It is no surprise that ‘when’ refers to time, but achieving perfect timing is not so straight forward. Timing is critical though as time is the one truly limited resource. Timing makes the difference between success and failure but perfect timing is hard to achieve. It takes an equal measure of planning and wisdom to know when to implement strategies, to go for goals and ultimately achieve a mission. Therefore we have to choose how to invest our time and know when it is best to do so. Knowing when to move and how much time to invest is the secret of perfect timing.
“You may delay, but time will not.” Benjamin Franklin
Application of time
We would all like quick success but our biggest dreams will take a considerable time and a lot of hard work to achieve.
Malcolm Gladwell did a study (Outliers: The Story of Success) that explored the lives of many of the worlds ‘most successful’ people and looked at the patterns behind their success. One large theme prevails: that it takes concerted effort to achieve anything truly great. Gladwell estimates that it requires 10,000 hours of real application and practise to become an expert at one given thing or become world class in a particular field. This may not be a scientific proof but it is certainly indicative of the requirement for dedicated application of time if we are going to achieve our goals and our dreams.
If we are going to be that focused and invest our resources one particular way we are going to have to count the cost. For every outlay of time or money there is an opportunity cost; the cost of not investing our resources somewhere else. In other words when we choose to do one thing, by default we choose to not do various other things.
We watch sports stars on TV, standing on a podium receiving their gold medal at the moment of glory. What we don’t see is the years of training, the sweat and tears spent hour after hour, day after day, invested in the dream of that moment, in the winning of the prize. How many days and evenings out with friends were sacrificed? How many holidays were foregone? How many alternative careers declined? Whatever it was, you can be sure that the opportunity cost was high.
There is no easy or quick win but through the right application of time we can create perfect timing. The fulfilment of a vision is going to take time and hard work. That is why we need a dream to compel us, a mission to focus upon, and a passion to spur us forward, no matter what the obstacles are that lie in the way. If we have that level of compulsion we can make the investment of time that is needed to succeed.
Our time is finite; once spent we cannot claim it back. Therefore we need to be careful in how we spend it and when we spend it. Application is needed over the course of time to achieve success, but there is often also a key moment to play the high stakes if you want to win big.
You can invest the same amount of money in the stockmarket for a given amount of time, but when you invest that money will make the difference between you gaining or losing money.
A marathon may take hours to run, so for an athlete, choosing the correct moment in the race to dig deep and close down the front runner could make the difference to between winning and losing.
Picking the ideal time is vital in maximising our effect and fulfilling our potential.
What a casual observer might call serendipity or synchronicity, those involved in a successful venture would call the careful aligning of positive factors – however seemingly unrelated – to bring about a positive outcome. Successful people create the conditions for perfect timing.
Steve Jobs, the late CEO of Apple, was a master of this. It would seem that he was fortunate to launch products just when people needed them. The iPod, the iPhone and the iPad have all helped redefine the market for gadgets and made Apple a world leader in mobile technology. But it was not chance. Steve Jobs knew that you made your own luck, your own perfect timing – he produced not only a product but he also stirred people’s perceived need for his creations. The genius of Steve Jobs was that he did not do what his customers wanted; he did what they were going to want. Purchasers never quite knew what they needed until they had one, but upon owning an Apple product they were left unsure how they managed without one before (I fully confess to being such a person).
The conditions for perfect timing
It takes discipline as well as wisdom to seize the moment. Like a vigilant soldier we need practice, patience and poise; practice to ensure we have all the preparation we need, patience to wait and poise in order to strike at the right moment.
It needs to be the right moment as even a good idea can fail because of bad timing. For example there are good and bad times to change a career or launch a business. Everything has its season.
Equally some visions are ahead of their time. Leonardo de Vinci designed a revolving flying machine that preceded the invention of the helicopter by 400 years. We just have to hope that our dreams do not take so long to come to fulfilment!
So what is the perfect timing for achieving your goal?
“Life is all about timing… the unreachable becomes reachable, the unavailable become available, the unattainable… attainable. Have the patience, wait it out. It’s all about timing.” Stacey Charter
Have you got an example of ‘perfect timing’? Please do leave a comment and share your story with other readers.