Last night, HuffPost hosted a special screening for the movie About Time -- a touching story that is quite literally about time. The director of the film, Richard Curtis (known for Love Actually and Four Weddings and a Funeral) says this is his most personal work to date. The story uses time travel to take us on an emotional journey and pose an important question: How do you make the most of life?
Making the most of life is a topic we're very focused on at HuffPost as part of our Third Metric initiative. The Third Metric is about redefining success beyond money and power to include things like well-being, wisdom, wonder, compassion and giving. As Arianna Huffington says, there is something in the Zeitgeist right now -- people are looking for fulfillment beyond money and power. About Time taps into this burgeoning movement by highlighting the unhealthy ways we sometimes manage our own time.
As I watched this movie, I realized just how much time I spend (or waste) worrying about things that don't matter and outcomes I can't control. I used to think worrying made me more prepared. But the truth is worrying is usually totally irrational, causes an inordinate amount of stress and sucks the joy out of time that is better spent focused on friends, family or even myself.
There is a great montage in the movie that I particularly related to where the main character, Tim Lake -- played by Domhnal Gleeson -- makes his way through an ordinary day enduring the tensions of life. As the day progresses, he encounters a number of things to worry about, like an annoying guy on the subway listening to music through his headphones a little too loudly, getting stuck in a line at a cafe, which causes him to be late for work, and an important verdict at work (he portrays a lawyer in the film) that nearly gives him a panic attack. Of course, at the end of the day, none of these things mattered and everything was fine.
I don't want to reveal any spoilers, but I promise I'm not giving away too much by saying he eventually learns not to let these things bother him. For instance, rather than rushing through a busy court building because he's running late, he stops to realize the beauty of his surroundings.
That scene reminded me of a piece of advice a very wise man once gave me about being five minutes late. If you're running five minutes late, and you spend a 20-minute trip agonizing over those five minutes, you could wind up missing out on some beautiful things along the way. So, rather than tormenting yourself, just sit back and enjoy the ride.
Granted, being late sucks. But chances are it isn't the end of the world.
One of the virtues The Third Metric extols is having a sense of wonder for the world. I don't want to rob myself of the ability to wonder in favor of being riddled with anxiety over something that doesn't make a difference in the grand scheme of things.
So, going back to that important Third Metric question at the heart of this movie, how do you make the most of life? I had a wake-up call while I was watching About Time -- worrying is such a waste of time!
This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post in conjunction with our women’s conference, “The Third Metric: Redefining Success Beyond Money & Power,” which took place in New York on June 6, 2013. To read all of the posts in the series and learn more about the conference, click here. Join the conversation on Twitter #ThirdMetric.