Since our time is limited (none of us gets more than 24 hours in a day), there is a definite limit to what we can consume. Whether it be the music we listen to, or books we read, or movies we watch, there are constraints on the number of things we can actually spend our time doing.

Which means, at some point we’ll have to choose.

And each of these choices comes with an opportunity cost. If I listen to this album, it means I’m not listening to another album at the same time. If I choose to spend my time reading this book, it means I’m not simultaneously spending my time reading something else.  And if we choose to spend time not only consuming, but also reflecting on what we’re learning or experiencing, that means there’s even less time left to use.

For some of us, this can be a bummer. There are so many things to see, to read, to listen to, to experience, and we can’t do them all. At some level, there will always be a choice. Which means there will always be things we never get to.

But depending on our perspective, we can also see this constraint as a good thing. If we’re mindful of the limits on our time — knowing that we’ll only be able to listen or read or watch so many things — we’ll also recognize the importance of what we actually choose to give our attention to.

Being aware of the limitations of our time creates a higher incentive to prioritize. We can’t listen or watch or read everything, so we’ll have to choose how to spend our time. And if we realize the finite amount of time that we do have, hopefully this will lead us to choosing more carefully.

And choosing carefully isn’t a bad thing at all.