For How Long

I once asked a sound engineer how loud the volume can get before it damages your hearing.

He gave me an answer I did not expect.

He answered with a question: For how long?

For how long?

I had never considered time to be a factor, but it is. Damaging your hearing is a matter of decibel level and length of exposure. Volume plus time.

What does this have to do with anything?

That simple point made me think about all the times I forgot to ask the “for how long” question in my life. I tend to think in terms of volume, not duration, and this myopia is problematic.

I often think, “Yeah, I could work that much” or “I could run that fast” or “I could carry that load” or “I can be that busy.” But I forget to ask the critical question: For how long?

The answer to this question is so important because it is the difference between the contented feeling of being poured out and the angry dryness of being burned out.

So, this question “For how long?” is one that I mean to ask from now on.

What about you? How might this question change your commitments and schedule?