May 182011
Timing by Ben Harrington

Many factors lead to victory and success in life, but one of the key factors is timing. Knowing when to act is critical in anything you do. If you are aware of the importance of timing, you are likelier to attain success. But if you ignore the importance of timing, success is an uphill struggle. What then is timing and how does it influence your success?

What is Timing?

Timing is the state of affairs that determine whether you will be able to reach your goals or not. It can be the conditions you create or the hand that life has dealt to you at any given point.

When the times are against you, everything you do is akin to swimming against the current. Despite great effort on your part, there are little results to show for it. At the end of the day, you are no closer to your goal than when you first began.

But when the times favour you, what you do is like water flowing rapidly down a waterfall. Nothing can stand in your way. Like the swift current, you are able to overcome all obstacles as you press on towards your goal. Every effort you make gives you double the results or more.

The Great Jedi Purge

Until the time is right, disappear we will. -Yoda

Here, a good story like Star Wars helps to better illustrate my points on timing. In the Star Wars universe, the balance of power shifted frequently between good and evil. Over the thousands of years, the evil Sith and the Jedi struggled for control. At different points, both sides held the upper hand, but it was never for long. From episode 1-3 of the Star Wars movies, the Jedi were in power while the Sith remained in hiding. But this would all change dramatically.

For many decades, the Sith Lord Darth Sidious schemed to gain control of the Galactic Republic. But instead of hiding in the shadows, he hid in plain sight and entered politics as Senator Palpatine. He was so adept at acting that no one saw through his facade. Then, through a series of complex plots, Palpatine managed to become Chancellor of the Republic. This gave him great power and influence and placed the Republic more firmly within his grasp. But one obstacle stood in his way – the Jedi Order. If Palpatine wanted to rule unchallenged, he had to do away with them.

To achieve this, he turned the young and emotional Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker into his apprentice Darth Vader. Together, master and pupil caught the Jedi off guard and massacred most of them. With one masterstroke, the Jedi were almost extinct. Yet as fate would have it, the Jedi Grandmaster Yoda and Master Obi-Wan Kenobi survived. But even they failed in their attempt to defeat the Sith Lords for good. With the times clearly in the Sith’s favour, Yoda and Obi-Wan had no choice but to go into hiding. The Sith Lords controlled the galaxy for now, but the times would change again. As long as the Jedi lived, there was still hope for the galaxy.

Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith Ending Scenes

Why Timing is Important

In the aftermath of the Great Jedi Purge, Yoda and Obi-Wan decided to strike at the Sith Lords before they consolidated their hold on power. It was a desperate gamble and they only had one chance at it. Sadly, they failed in their attempts to finish off the Sith. By now the Sith were firmly in control and on their guard. It would be suicidal for Yoda and Obi-Wan to persist in a direct assault. They could not throw away their lives because there would be no one else with the power and skill to stop the Sith. The only option left was to hide, wait and prepare for the times to change.

I firmly believe in learning from my mistakes and failure. But I also believe that if it is possible to avoid failure, it is best to avoid it. After all, each failure has a price. It makes no sense to fail in a spectacular manner if I can avoid it. Even if I am not afraid of failure, I might not be able to afford the losses involved. Knowing whether the chance of success is high or low is vital to the mastery of timing. Here it is important to have a realistic grasp of the situation. Awareness is the key as it helps me to assess my preparedness and the circumstances I face. This ensures that I avoid needless failure to succeed.

Timing, Process and Success

When we speak of timing, we must not forget the importance of process. Everything in life has a process. As processes go, starting is usually the most difficult part. But as we go along, it gradually becomes easier due to experience and understanding. The times can change in our favour if we break down the process to manage it. If you think about it, what is success? Success is a matter of going through all the needed steps to reach your goals. The problem is that these steps may not be immediately clear especially if we are not familiar with what to do. But the good thing is that through trial and error, we will become more aware of the steps that lead to success. When the proper foundations are in place, the times are likelier to favour you.

My Experiences with Timing

It is a curious thing to observe events as they unfold through my divination practice. When I embark on a new project, I usually get readings that show difficulty and hardship ahead. This is expected, but in my early days, I used to fear such readings. Whenever I got them, I felt as if the sky was falling because difficulties stood between my goals and me. At the back of my mind, I feared I would never succeed. But in truth, success depends on the choices we make and the actions we take. Difficulties only mean that I have not yet done all I can to clear the obstacles in my path. How then can I expect favourable readings?

Interestingly, as I work through the process, my readings begin to change as well. As I get through each stage of the process, my readings reflect the changes in the times. Finally, as the times shift in my favour due to my efforts, my readings reflect this as well. At this stage, I am prepared to seize the opportunity because I have been waiting and watching for the moment to make my move.

What matters when it comes to timing is awareness of the bigger picture. This serves a few purposes. Firstly, you know where to expend your energies to reap maximum results. It guides your actions and efforts so you know what you should do and when you should do it. Secondly, the view of the bigger picture gives you the patience and the perseverance to wait for the times to change. By being aware of which stage of the process you are at, you are likelier to persist until the times favour you. Nothing is worse than groping about in the dark wondering when things will change for the better.

Waterfall by Rosalie

Taking Action

When I was younger, I knew little about timing. I acted as and when I pleased. When I should have let go, I held on stubbornly. When I should have held on, I let go. As a result, I wasted a lot of energy for nothing. Becoming aware of timing changed my life. Yet like all things, the process happened gradually. Today, due to greater familiarity and awareness, I am able to conserve and expend my efforts in harmony with the times. This has made it easier for me to reach my goals.

What are your views on timing? How important is timing to you? Do you give it much thought when it comes to the pursuit of your goals? Do you act in harmony with the times or against it? What were your experiences like? Do share your thoughts and comments below! :)

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  24 Responses to “The Vizier on the Importance of Timing”

  1. The most brilliantly written piece on timing, my Vizier. I am stunned and impressed with your in-depth understanding of topics that are every day common ordinary things and how you articulate them so well. I know what you mean because I believe my timing on my exit from the corporate world was ideal. Sure, I wonder what if I had left earlier but I know that down to the day, it was the right and best time for me to leave and the momentum on the other side of my life was building up enough to where it could no longer be ignored. Sometimes you FEEL a window of opportunity opening and closing and you have but so long to act. Thank you for making me think of all this, dear Irving!
    Farnoosh recently posted..17 Effective Tips on Speech Writing and DeliveryMy Profile

    • Hi Farnoosh,

      I am glad you appreciate my article. Timing is not something that I was aware of until I became older. But now it is an important part of my life as acting in harmony with the times helps me to reach my goals.

      Clearly your leaving the corporate world at this time is ideal because you believe it to be so. In truth, no one understands your situation and opportunities better than you do. Another person might view things very differently because timing can be subjective given our unique strengths and weaknesses. Still you make a good point when you say that we must seize that window of opportunity before it closes.

      Thank you for sharing your brilliant comments! :)

  2. Timing is a fascinating topic. Aren’t some spectacular victories predicated on risk rather than timing. And sometimes greatness ( e.g. ascendencies of nations into global powers) requires sacrifice made by many over multiple generations. I really have trouble buying into sacrifice when future generations reap the rewards.

    • Hi Riley,

      Timing is a fascinating topic. It is in fact an important part of military strategy throughout the ages.

      I believe that timing can be subjective. Different people might see different opportunities based on their strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes there might be obvious overlaps, at others opportunities are unique to the individual in charge. But even with the ideal timing, action always involves a certain amount of risk. And the window of opportunity may be small so speed is of the essence, hence the risk involved. Again timing is subjective and depends on the reaction speed of the individual who can sense it.

      It can be hard to think of sacrifice over many generations, given our finite grasp of time. Another way to look at it is to consider the sacrifices that parents make for their children, that is closer to home and easier to imagine. I believe all parents would happily sacrifice so that their children will reap the rewards. If we have the extraordinary long life of Leto in Dune the God Emperor, we would see time very much differently. Sometimes, a little imagination helps in viewing time and timing differently.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  3. Some of my most momentous life changes happened because I was alert to the timing. Sometimes it was something I had to plan. I had to find my way through and around obstacles. I had to wait. Other times it was more like seeing an unexpected opportunity open up for just a brief time and knowing I should seize it.

    When I read your article, I also thought about timing of world events, like the planning and execution of the raid on bin Laden’s compound. (I’m not making a political statement about that. I’m only pointing out the role that timing played.)

    Being attuned to timing is, as you say, critical to success. Plus I enjoyed the Star Wars connection!
    Galen Pearl recently posted..Heart HospitalityMy Profile

    • Hi Galen,

      Your grasp of timing is as sound as can be. More importantly, you have a wealth of experience to back up your awareness.

      You are perfectly right about the timing of the raid on Bin Laden’s compound. If the raid had taken place a little later, they might have missed him with serious repercussions. So many of the events in the world depend on timing and a great many of the disasters that happen is also the result of bad timing. Those who are aware of timing prosper, those who are less attuned will find it harder to reach their goals.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  4. Irving: Great post and so true. Timing really is everything. We have to read the signs and know when we should and shouldn’t move. I really appreciated your advice to watch and be waiting. It really is so important and is definitely something we should all work on learning. Great post.
    Sibyl – alternaview recently posted..What You Absoutely Must Get Rid of If You Want SuccessMy Profile

    • Hi Sibyl,

      Watching and waiting with patience can be hard. But if we are aware of timing, it makes the wait easier because we can see the bigger picture with all the opportunities and pitfalls laid out before us. This awareness is often crucial in helping us to reach our goals.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  5. Hi Irving,

    I’ve never given the area of ‘timing’ much thought before reading your article – but now I appreciate just how important it can be.

    It’s often said that timing is everything. I guess many plans have not worked out due to the fact that the time wasn’t right. Yet, that exact same plan could’ve gone brilliantly had all the necessary factors been in place – with the factor of timing being very important.

    People also talk about someone having ‘perfect’ timing. While I don’t believe in the idea of ‘perfect’, I do think a person can have a better developed sense of when conditions are right to give the best chance of success.

    Thankfully – as you’ve found – it’s possible to develop a better, more finely tuned sense of timing… with practice and patience.

    • Hi Scott,

      I am glad you learned something new about timing. :)

      You are perfectly right about how plans can fail and succeed because of timing. It’s amazing how timing can cause such great upsets, but there are many examples in history which back up this truth. One example that comes to mind is how the Byzantines recaptured Constantinople from the crusaders in 1261. A Byzantine general happened to be near Constantinople and he learned that the crusaders were away. Although it was risky due to his small force of 800 men, he manage to take the city through a secret passage. If he had missed this opportunity, more lives would have been lost in an all out siege that the Byzantines might not necessarily win.

      I feel that perfect timing is a combination of planning and action. You’re right when you say there is no such thing as perfect timing. It is merely an opportunity that someone has the means to take advantage of.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  6. Irving,

    I loved this post. Probably because it made mention of Yoda and my son is a huge Star Wars fan. Timing in my life is extremely important. The challenge I have is finding the appropriate time to act and the time to wait. Right now my clock seems to be telling the wrong time. In my ignorance I have jumped the gun and acted to soon similar to taking cookie dough out of the oven before they are done cooking. I wasn’t mature enough to handle some of the situation I threw myself into. As I have aged, :-) (I’m only 26) I have learned that patience requires a great sacrafice but in the end you end up perfecting the ability to act when the timing is right. I hope.

    I found a ton of value in this post. Stay strong young Irving the force is with you. lol!

    • Hi Frank,

      There is so much we can learn from Star Wars. I am glad your son enjoys the movies. :)

      Waiting can be the hardest thing to do. But it helps if we are able to see the big picture so that we know why we are doing what we do. With an awareness of the opportunities, pitfalls and how all these tie in with our success, we will have the patience to wait things out. Under such circumstances, patience comes a little more naturally and the sacrifice is not felt as keenly.

      Haha! Like you, I am only 31, but am still not as patient as I should be. In playing grand strategy games like Total War, I have made spectacular mistakes due to my impatience. Thankfully it is only a game and I can apply these lessons to real life.

      May the force be with you Frank! :)

  7. Irving,

    Star wars is one of my favorite movie series, I am geek at heart and always have been. (I like old one better than prequels though). Interesting thing about that movie is many things we can learn and be aware of it in our daily life as you mentioned.

    Timing is right and like some wise man have said “at the right moment, the truth will be revealed to you”. I waste lot of time so I am afraid I may miss out on it.

    Zengirl @ Heart and Mind recently posted..6 Surprising Ways to Boost Your HappinessMy Profile

    • Hi Preeti,

      I am glad you enjoy Star Wars. I prefer the prequels maybe because of the former spledour of the Galactic Republic. As you can tell, I enjoy learning about life from stories, movies and so on. There is really so much we can learn if we pay attention.

      I am sure that since you are now a little more aware of timing, you will not miss the truth. This is especially so if you keep an eye out for it and prepare.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  8. Irving,
    I’m stunned by how much you put into your articles! I’ve never delved into the topic of timing so deeply. I do give it though when it pertains to my life and well being, but perhaps not as much as you! LOL.
    I tend to follow my gut – as everyone probably knows by now. There’s a time and a season for everything under the sun and I allow my inner compass to guide me when choosing my timing.
    Angela Artemis recently posted..How to Follow The SignsMy Profile

    • Hi Angela,

      Thank you for your compliments. It is always a pleasure to receive them from someone who is attuned to her surroundings as you are. :D

      I believe that once we are aware of timing, our intuition will adapt to this new awareness and we will be able to attune ourselves to the right time and season for action.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  9. Irving,

    This is an important topic and how engaging to use Star Wars as an example. I’ve been impulsive almost all of my life and often full charge ahead without considering circumstances. I’m lucky to have spent time around spiritual masters who do not operate this way at all. They are quite clear that when the time is right the auspicious circumstances come together. I’m more capable now of pausing to look at the bigger picture, and more patient when it’s appropriate to wait. I’m far from perfect but a little better.

    I very much appreciate your advice here. The first step is having the education that you present in this article to understand the importance of timing. Otherwise, we are just clueless and flub things up. I agree fully that awareness is a key factor in getting the timing right. I loved this example:

    “But when the times favour you, what you do is like water flowing rapidly down a waterfall.”
    Sandra / Always Well Within recently posted..Getting Beyond the Fear of AgingMy Profile

    • Hi Sandra,

      Like you I have also been impulsive most of my life. Such is the impatience that comes with being Aries and not thinking things through a little more carefully. Unlike you, I did not spend any time with spiritual masters, although I did read books on Eastern Philosophy. I learned to be aware of timing and patient from history and my study of Chinese military strategy and philosophy. It is a nice contrast to see how timing is important in different fields.

      I won’t say that I am always in control. There are times when I act too hastily or slowly in my grand strategy games resulting in massive defeat. Thankfully it is just a game and I can always reload it. What I appreciate here is that I can take those lessons and apply them to real life.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  10. Hmm. You have some very good points about timing, my friend, and also some really good questions. I’m not entirely sure that I ever paid attention to timing. I learned to pay attention to my intuition, which was always a good gauge of when it was the right time to do something, but I never paid attention to what my intuition was using as a gauge. So I was always subject to what “felt” right or not.

    Now, however, I’m going to pay a bit more attention. I’ve always been rather impatient, which hasn’t always served me in well in the past. =)

    Delena Silverfox recently posted..VitaDigest Coupon CodeMy Profile

    • Hi Delena,

      Always good to see you here. Like you, I believe we should pay attention to our intuition. But paying attention to intuition alone only allows you to focus on what is in front of you. It just shows you part of the picture depending on where your focus in. Being aware of timing allows you to gain a bird’s eye view of the big picture. This expanded awareness will in turn improve the scope of your intuition.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  11. Hi Irving, have you read the book Outliers? The author believes that timing is crucial to success so your post reminded me of it.

    I liked your example of Star Wars and the importance of timing. I think a big part of that is patience. I know I made some financial decisions years ago that really started paying off recently. If I rushed things or second guessed myself, I wouldn’t have succeeded with these moves.
    Jennifer Barry recently posted..From Gunslinger to MonkMy Profile

    • Hi Jennifer,

      No I have not read the book Outliers even though I have seen it. But it is good to know that you came across the idea of timing being crucial to success there.

      Yes you are perfectly right. A big part of timing is patience because we have to wait for the right moment to act. It therefore helps if we can be aware of the bigger picture to put things in perspective and allow us to act at the right time.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  12. The description of your experiences with timing has helped me. Often I am in the dark, and I did not realize the source of the darkness. I don’t have a specific life goal, this makes it difficult to find out how best to use my time. This is changing, due to our discussions, I do realize what my first priority is in life right now. It is disappointing that I cannot always have my way. I am better understanding the “seasons” in life, and now better able to handle ups and downs.

    • Hello dear Wisdom’s Pearl,

      So nice of you to finally stop by! :)

      Learning how to deal with life in general is not easy. It took me many years to get to where I am today and I still have a long road ahead in terms of my development. One thing that has helped me is that I love to read widely and hence I have been able to pick up ideas from different fields and eras.

      I am glad to know that you know what your priorities in life are now. That is the first step to taking control and living the life you want. If you work hard now at sowing the seeds and setting your life in order, one day you will surely reap the harvest of your efforts and get your way. The important thing is not to give up and keep on adapting as needed.

      Thank you for stopping by and sharing your lovely comments! :)

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