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Today, Rika and I attended the wake of our late neighbour, Peter. Reading through a leaflet about him and his life that was handed out, I realized with deep regret how much I have lost by not having made the time to spend more time with this great man. Oh, there are the usual excuses: I always seemed to chat with him in passing, when each of us was on his way somewhere, or arriving home, and there was always something waiting for me… But excuses never accomplish anything. The loss is there.

I had a lot in common with him that I never took the time to discover before it was too late. I could have learned a lot from him. My life would have been singularly enriched. And hopefully he would, in turn, have benefited in some small measure by knowing me. While we procrastinate and evaluate and vacillate, time slips by. And as I get older, time seems to speed up. So much to do, so little time left… From Quintilian: “Whilst we deliberate how to begin a thing, it grows too late to begin it.”

Og Mandino wrote that “there is an immeasurable distance between late and too late.” Too late for tears. A time when any amount of tears is simply too little. Any amount of apologies is insufficient. Some relationships can be restored, if we are sufficiently motivated and understand the potential loss.

Business mirrors life. We miss important opportunities and render potentially invaluable relationships stillborn, usually by little mistakes right at the outset. The first impression, the first meeting, the first missed deadline. When we fail those first all important tests, we make sure that the caterpillar dies before it can become a butterfly.

William Shakespeare wrote,”Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.”

Let’s not lose a million dollar relationship because we’re too busy sweeping up the cents. Life is short, and death often visits unexpectedly at the most inconvenient of times.

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