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The Perfect Free Gift

by John P. Strelecky- International Best-selling Author of The Why Café

Would you like to give someone the perfect free gift? Would you like to give yourself the perfect free gift? Try giving the gift of time. Not time as in a new Rolex, or Movado watch, but rather give precious minutes of your life to yourself and those that you love.

The average human life is about 27,500 days. Sometimes it’s less, hopefully more, but usually around 27,500 days. Take a moment and subtract your age from 75. Now multiply by 365. That is about how many days you have left. Multiply that by 24 and that is how many hours you have left. Who are you going to give your time to? How are you going to spend it? Time is unique in that it has a shelf life. Each day you get a certain amount, but it is only good for that day. When the day is over, you can’t get it back.

Your time is a precious commodity. That’s why it makes such a significant gift. Dedicating a day of your life so that someone else enjoys a day of their life is one of the most generous and thoughtful gifts you can offer. Dedicating a day to yourself, where you only do things that make you happy, is one of the best gifts you can give yourself.

It is easy to get caught up in a regular schedule where our hours each day are given to responsibility type tasks like work, paying bills, taking care of the yard, and doing other activities. But the reality is that no matter how much work we do there is always going to be more that needs to be done, the lawn never stops growing no matter how many times we cut it, and it is highly unlikely the earth will leap off its axis if we put off our bill paying for a day. So on any day of the year, consider putting all your regular activities to the side, and give someone important to you the gift of your time.

If you are looking for some ways to give the gift of time, try one of these ideas.

Spend an extra hour in bed.
If you have a significant other, take the extra hour to do nothing except be with them. Hold them. Look at them. Tell them how much you appreciate who they are. Take 5 minutes and picture how much you would miss them if they weren’t there, then tell them all the things you would miss.

If you don’t have a significant other, spend the hour reading from that book you have wanted to start for months, or just enjoy an extra hour of laying in bed and doing nothing. Relish the experience of having time dedicated just to yourself.

Help Someone Else Enjoy Their Type of Fun Day
Most of us know what our significant other or friends like to do in their spare time. Take some of your time and use it to help someone spend the day doing what they like. Take the initiative to plan a day at the beach, find a new antique store they don’t know of, or rent and watch with them three of their favorite type of movies.

If they are the type of person who likes to do things but are always too busy to plan them, organize a full day of fun for them. Be their social coordinator for 24 hours. If they love planning things but can never get people to go along, tell them you are dedicating a day to them, and let them search the Internet, make reservations, and organize a full day of activities for the two of you.

If you're by yourself, then spend the day doing what you like. Rent three of your favorite type of movies, or dedicate the entire day to your favorite activities. Don’t use up your time on the things you feel you should do, use it on the things you want to do.

Ask a Good Question and Listen to the Answer
When was the last time someone asked you a really good question? Every once in a while you get one. Someone will offer up something so thought provoking that just hearing the question and thinking about your answer actually improves your life in some way.

Asking someone a great question and then really listening to their answer is an intriguing gift because it is like giving three gifts in one. You are giving them an interesting concept to ponder, you are giving them your time and attention while you listen to their answer, and you are giving them a piece of yourself by sharing your thoughts and ideas in the ensuing discussion. It is a great “time” gift, and unique too.

Try this. Schedule some time with someone and ask them what their “Big Five” are. The “Big Five” stands for the five most important things they absolutely want to do or try in their lifetime. Ask if they have always had the same Big Five, or if it has changed over time. Then follow it up by asking how you can help them fulfill their Big Five.

If this doesn’t sound like much of a gift then get ready to be surprised. One of the most sincere and appreciated things we can do for others is to give them our time and listen to them. In this case, be the person who helped someone think of the five most important things they want to do with their life. If you can somehow help them achieve those things, that is even better, but just listening and offering encouragement is a special gift all by itself.

There are many expensive gifts that we can buy for others and for ourselves to celebrate various occasions. The impact of most of them won’t last until the next special date. How ironic that the impact of giving the gift of our time, which has such a short shelf life of its own and is free, is something that can last a lifetime.

Copyright © 2006 John P. Strelecky

John P. Strelecky is the international best selling author of “The Why Café” (Da Capo Press; April 2006; $12.95US/$16.95CAN; 0-7382-1063-3) and a highly sought after inspirational speaker on; “How to Achieve Maximum Success with Minimal Effort.” His CD series of the same name has received rave reviews from listeners. A graduate of Northwestern University’s MBA program, John has served as a business strategist for numerous Fortune 500 companies. Through his book, CDs, articles, and appearances on television and radio, he has positively impacted the lives of millions of people. John can be reached through his website at, or by calling 407-342-4181.