Time is about present. It is about accuracy. It is in our control to use it meaningfully. Timing is about present, past and future. Timing is about harmony. It is not in our control completely.
If you are the lead vocalist of your band, you respect time by getting up on time, practicing every-day for a specific time. But your performance on a specific day will depend upon timing – how other members play their instruments in unison, how the sound system functions, how the audience respond to your performance. When the actions of so many people and situations are synchronized, it creates the magic we call ‘perfect timing.’
“Sometimes I arrive just when God’s ready to have someone click the shutter”.
Time brings discipline to our lives but timing brings elation. “It is always about timing. If it’s too soon, no one understands. If it’s too late, everyone has forgotten”.
Timing at Individual Level: We try to perfect our timing with precision while dunking a biscuit in milk or tea, while baking a batch of cookies, while playing a video game or while clicking a selfie.
We know when it goes wrong. The biscuit disappears in the milk, the cookies turn ashen, our Mario bites the dust and eyeballs shift in a selfie. Repeated actions improve our timing as individuals in doing certain things.
Practice improves our timing as an individual.
Timing at Group Level: As mentioned earlier, magic is created in a musical performance, on a cricket ground or in a business meeting when every stroke falls in place and the receiver is in sync with your effort and its execution.
Team work reaches another level when the timing of ‘alaap’ of the vocalist coincides with the beat of the tabla, when the cricket ball is caught between the palms, when the win-win situation is tactfully negotiated in the boardroom.
If the timing goes awry, the collective disappointment binds the team together and makes them hungrier to perform better provided everyone feels the disappointment.
Passion of the team helps us to face what “timing” does to us.
Timing at a Macro Level: In Life, many efforts become super successful or phenomenal failures due to the right or wrong timing of an external, uncontrollable factor.
Airbnb has transformed the way we travel by creating a global network through which anyone anywhere can rent a spare room in their home to earn cash. It was not that simple though to convert this idea into a multi-million dollar company without the timing of so many other developments.
Brain Chesky, one of the co-founders, thought about it in 2007. Free connectivity between nations was taking roots at that time. Paypal appeared on the scene at the same time making online transactions possible. People needed to ascertain if they were meeting real people. Facebook, which exploded in 2007, helped them connect with each other.
With the help of all these innovations in terms of software, social networking platform, online payment portal, Airbnb became a trusted, technological innovation.
Xerox, the paper giant failed not because it became obsolete. It had brilliant ideas to go digital but when World Wide Web opened, AOL and Yahoo arrived. It could have still survived but Google happened.
Sometimes, we consider ourselves geniuses by being efficient and effective time managers but we fail to anticipate and acknowledge the ‘timing’.
Respect ‘time’ and play with it. Acknowledge ‘timing’ and watch the show.