Taking a Minute

By Paul Yung 

Welcome to the second last month of 2023!

My goodness, where has the time gone.

In the hustle and bustle of this year, there is no doubt that time is the most valuable commodity we have.

While efficiency and speed are crucial in many aspects of life, there’s a hidden power in taking a minute that most of us overlook. A simple pause, a brief reflection, or a moment of mindfulness can mean the difference between something that’s merely good and something that’s truly great.

Imagine writing an email. The email may convey all the necessary information and is technically correct. However, with an additional minute spent revisiting it, you might catch a minor typo or realize that a sentence could be clearer, or the tone could be different. After all, text has no emotion! A minute spent re-reading allows you to transform the email from being simply informative to being impeccable and compelling.

Similarly, think about giving a speech. The difference between its final draft and its final version often lies in the moments of reflection in between. Taking a minute to review, to breathe, and to recite it out loud, in front of a mirror helps refine tonality and delivery. It’s in this minute that you might find a better phrase, a more engaging story, or a more persuasive tone. I have given hundreds of speeches and trainings and I’m still amazed by the difference a minute of reflection makes when I thought I’ve completed my final version.

Beyond work, the power of a minute is also important in our personal lives. Have you ever left a restaurant only to realise halfway home that you forgot your favourite scarf or sunglasses? All it would have taken to prevent that was a simple sixty-second glance around before we leave. Sure, we may be able to get it back, but that would’ve meant we wasted an hour of time or more, making the detour. Just take the minute.

As valuable as these examples are, there’s an even deeper, more profound way in which taking a minute can give more meaning to our lives. The time we spend with our loved ones.

The last few months have been hectic for me, like non-stop. I’ve found my days filled with tasks, responsibilities, and digital distractions. By the time I get home, I’m exhausted or must continue work. These tasks easily eat into the quality moments we share with those close to us. But pausing for a minute, setting aside our devices, looking into the eyes of a family member or friend, and genuinely listening or speaking from the heart can create memories that last a lifetime.

It might be a minute spent asking our child about their day or listening to a story they’ve excitedly crafted in their mind. Maybe it’s a minute to hug a partner, hold their hand, or simply be present in their company. Each of these moments, fleeting as they may seem, builds the foundation of relationships and creates the tapestry of our shared experiences.

Sadly, time has a way of escaping us. Children grow up, friends move away, and the uncertainty of life means we wouldn’t know what lies tomorrow.

In those moments of reflection and nostalgia, it’s the memories made during those ‘taken minutes’ that will shine the brightest. They’ll be the ones we treasure, the ones that make us smile, laugh, or shed a tear of fond remembrance.

For every milestone we celebrate, it’s the countless tiny moments—the minutes taken—that truly define our connections with others. These are the moments that differentiate a life filled with deep, meaningful relationships from one of mere acquaintances. One of my best friends passed away, last month and I was broken. When attending his wake, I realised it really was those minutes we spent that made us the best of friends.

Life offers us countless opportunities to make a difference, both big and small. But often, it’s not the grand gestures or the monumental decisions that stand out; it’s the seemingly inconsequential minute here or there. Whether it’s perfecting a task, preventing an oversight, or deeply connecting with a loved one, the power of taking a minute cannot be overstated.

So, as you go about your day, remember the magic that lies in taking a minute. Pause, reflect, engage. For in that minute, you have the chance to elevate from good to great, to craft memories, and to make a lasting impact.

Just take the minute. 

Wishing you an awesome November!