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Happy New Year 2023

December 30, 2022


Humans seem to have an innate desire to know their place in time. Marking the passage of days, months, and years precedes written history. We live by the seasons and mark our lives in years. The third chapter of Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament, reads in part, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted.” Albert Einstein taught that time is relative. He declared, “Time is an illusion.”[1] For most of us, however, time is very real and passes in a linear fashion. This weekend we will once again mark the passage of time as the old gives way to the new.


Best-selling author Harvey Mackay once stated, “Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.”[2] Mackay is correct. Time has been called a “life currency” that you can spend; however, you can never get a refund once it has been spent. Time has often been declared our most precious commodity. Glenn L. Friedman, CEO of the accounting group Prager Metis, observes, “You have to use the time you have when you have it. It’s the most precious commodity you have. … If someone gives you their time, you should appreciate it. If you give someone your time, they should appreciate it. Think of time as a precious gift that is often in short supply, both at work and at home. Nobody should spend time on anyone or anything when that time is not valued.”[3]


Although Friedman argues that even the wealthiest people in the world can’t buy more time in a day (which is true), well-off individuals are better situated to buy more “free time.” A few years ago, journalist Elizabeth Harris reported that an academic paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, entitled “Buying Time Promotes Happiness,” concluded, “Working adults report greater happiness after spending money on a time-saving purchase than on a material purchase.”[4] She explained, “Researchers examined the idea of what they call a new form of poverty ‘time scarcity’ connecting so-called time stress with reduced well-being, happiness and increased levels of anxiety and insomnia as well as being related to worse health with higher rates of obesity and reports of a lack of time as being responsible for not eating healthy foods or exercising regularly.”


Harris concludes, “If time is the most valuable commodity you have, perhaps it makes sense to really understand its value to you and then make that calculation a part of your financial everyday decision-making.” Businesses can suffer from “time scarcity” in much the same way as individuals. To help address time scarcity, Friedman suggests you consider investing in time-saving technologies. He explains, “Suppose new technology, artificial intelligence, automation, and improved business processes allow you to deliver more value in the same amount of time. Instead of spending that time performing the same process, you are spending it identifying new ways to help your clients succeed.”


At Enterra Solutions® we believe that decision-makers can be relieved from having to make routine decisions by leveraging Autonomous Decision Science™ (ADS®). Using ADS, the machine plays the role of the data scientist or subject matter expert to help optimize your business and help it run at the speed of the marketplace. As a result, you can make decisions that take advantage of market opportunities as quickly as possible. Leveraging ADS, decision-makers can address some of their time scarcity.


Although your next workday in 2023 will be a lot like your last workday in 2022, you will probably look at it a little differently because the calendar has changed. Perceptions can change our realities. Most people are aware that 1 January has not always marked the beginning of the New Year. The staff at Britannica.com explains:


New Year … festivals are among the oldest and the most universally observed. The earliest known record of a New Year festival dates from about 2000 BCE in Mesopotamia, where in Babylonia the new year (Akitu) began with the new moon after the spring equinox (mid-March) and in Assyria with the new moon nearest the autumn equinox (mid-September). For the Egyptians, Phoenicians, and Persians the year began with the autumn equinox (September 21), and for the early Greeks it began with the winter solstice (December 21). On the Roman republican calendar the year began on March 1, but after 153 BCE the official date was January 1, which was continued in the Julian calendar of 46 BCE. In early medieval times most of Christian Europe regarded March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation, as the beginning of the new year, although New Year’s Day was observed on December 25 in Anglo-Saxon England. William the Conqueror decreed that the year begin on January 1, but England later joined the rest of Christendom and adopted March 25. The Gregorian calendar, adopted in 1582 by the Roman Catholic Church, restored January 1 as New Year’s Day, and most European countries gradually followed suit: Scotland, in 1660; Germany and Denmark, about 1700; England, in 1752; and Russia, in 1918.”[5]


Whether or not you perceive a change in years this coming weekend, you will awake each morning facing a new day. The late American author and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson once admonished, “Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” He was correct. As many people have pointed out: Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow is yet to come. We have only the gift of today which is why it is called the present. Happy New Year.


[1] Amy Wolkenhauer, “25+ Famous Quotes About Time Passing Too Quickly,” Cake, 8 November 2021.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Glenn L. Friedman, “Respect, Safeguard, and Value Your Time, Your Most Precious Commodity,” Prager Metis, 3 September 2020.
[4] Elizabeth Harris, “Study Shows Time Is The Most Valuable Commodity. So Here’s A Smart Way To Value Time,” Forbes, 30 August 2017.
[5] Editors, “New Year festival,” Britannica.com.

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