I am teaching a leadership class this semester, and as part of that experience I conducted the Marshmallow Challenge as an exercise. You can learn more about it at the link below, but in summary, groups have 18 minutes to build a structure with only sticks of spaghetti, string, tape and one marshmallow.
As part of this, I projected on the screen a digital timer that counted down the 18 minutes. It seemed to go exceedingly fast as we watched the seconds and then minutes tick by.
And then it occurred to me that this was a timer in “real time” — it wasn’t an accelerated speed, rather the 18 minutes did truly elapse in, well, 18 minutes, even though it felt like much less.
Would we live life differently if there was a giant countdown clock always before us? I think we would if we knew that we only had X days/hours/minutes left to live, but I’ll bet it would influence our behavior if we just became more conscious about the time we had left today or until a major project was due.
Time is the most precious thing we have. Don’t let yours tick away without intentionality.
Thanks to B’Ann for introducing this activity to me.