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The Wasted Time Principle

On January 19, 2010, in Leadership Principles, by Neculai Fantanaru

The time spent with a friend is never wasted.

Days passed by, then weeks, then years. Edmond Dantes continued to wait, with an unsettling hope, to be released from d'If castle. Or, at least, have a change in his life, because he couldn't resist for long all alone in the same cell. He prayed to be taken from his cell and moved to another one, even a deeper and darker one. A change, even for the worse, would have meant a change, however. He prayed to be taken out for a walk, to be given air, books to read, tools for work. Something new to be done, anything, would have meant redemption. But everything remained the same, except time, which flew inevitably.

The poor man had forgotten how many days had passed since he was imprisoned. He lost his self-confidence. He lost his faith in God. He lost any hope. He only had his so limited, so dark past and so uncertain future.

But all his suffering, this state of discontent and frustration which he was going through disappeared when Abbé Faria appeared. Everything that seemed dark and gloomy started, all of a sudden, to have color. The joy of having a friend to share his thoughts, feelings and everything that obsessed him was so great that he lost track of time.

Time became Dantes' ally

If you read the novel "The Count of Monte Cristo", then you know that Abbe' Faria had an extremely important role in Dantes' success. He comforted his suffering and strengthened him morally. He miraculously saved him from despair or maybe something even worse.

Long work (digging the tunnel) filled Dantes' days and, when he rested, he had his hopes to comfort him. The old man's words, which had a lot of teaching in them, made him listen to him with more and more interest. They even drafted an “education plan”. While working, Faria gave lessons to Dantes, speaking to him in different languages, teaching him of the history of nations and great people. So, the days passed faster and full of teachings. In a year's time, Edmond Dantes became a different man.

Dantes spent half of his youth in a cell, but he didn't lose time, because Abbé Faria taught him everything he needed in order to become a respected person in the society, with a special authority, worthy of envy, with special knowledge in various fields. With no doubt, Dantes needed what Faria had to offer, and his presence made captivity easier. He may have never gotten an educated man, with higher abilities, with a behavior adequate to high society id he hadn't met the old man. Moreover, he would certainly not have found Spada's treasure.

Leadership: Do you have the power to transform a friend into a man of great character?

Perseverance, the will to learn, to perfect, to gain new abilities, turned Dantes into a different man. The words which the Count of Monte Cristo (Dantes) put down in his goodbye letter are memorable: „Only he who felt the worst of unhappiness is capable to sense the greatest of happiness.” The time he spent with Abbé Faria was not at all useless, wasn't it? In the end, it brought him the greatest happiness.

Technically, Dantes' success was greatly due to the relationship he made with Abbé Faria. The old man, who had served cardinal Spada, had kept, however, something from the straightforward language of the people and, thus, Dantes was able to understand him easily. He learned from the old man to appreciate the importance of lecture, he learned how to write and read, he learned Mathematics, Physics, he learned new things about civilizations and cultures, about History, Geography, and even Astronomy. And even more important than all these, he learned how to be a mannered and influent person.

What do you have to learn from a relationship?

In a human relationship, you always have something to learn. You exchange opinions, you share knowledge and experiences, you become more informed and more motivated to get to action. No matter who you are, no matter where you are, no matter what you do, the time you spend with a friend is never wasted. You can learn something new from anybody, usually, from the person you least expect. Therefore, appreciate the moments you spend with your friends and don't exchange them for anything in the world.

Writer Les Giblin illustrated very well this aspect: „No matter how you would define happiness, you will ultimately be convinced that your own happiness depends on the relationships you have with others.


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