Time and tide waits for none

This article explains how precious and mighty both time and tide are. This proverb teaches us that both time and tide neither can be captured, nor can be made to return. Even the mightiest of us are not able to bring them back.


Time is considered to be the most precious of all the things in life. Once it passes away, it never comes back. Such is its significance and such is its dilemma. It is therefore compared with tide and this is because both time and tide never return back, no matter what happens. Strong eminent personalities are able to accomplish even the impossible i.e., they are able to turn the tables and change everything. Even they who are blessed with such immense power cannot bring back the time and tide which has bid good bye. Time is considered to be more immensely powerful than all those individuals who are able to capture everything in the world and bring revolution in each and every walks of life. All of them fall short in front of time and this is because despite of their immense power and control, they are not able to capture time or hold it still. No one can fight a battle with it and if someone does then defeat is for sure. One may survive in hardships and may fight with odd circumstances but can never be able to hold time or bring it back once it elopes. No one is ever going to be so immensely powerful or mighty to cease the march of time.


It is a very self-explanatory proverb. Life is precious, but value of time cannot be determined i.e., it is inestimable. Each and every second matters and each and every moment which passes by us in our life is of some importance. Time is a collection of these seconds and life is a collection of all these moments. When we waste time, we waste moments and when our moments get wasted then in turn our life gets wasted. Whenever and wherever we are trying to kill time, we are trying to shorten our life. Our life is nothing but a journey and time plays a very important role in it. At the end if we want to feel contented of living life to the fullest then we need to start living it right now. Time is free, but it is priceless. We can use it, but we cannot take its ownership. Once it passes by us, no matter how many efforts we make, it is never going to come back. We can spend it, but we cannot keep it locked. We need to learn to adjust ourselves according to it. We can't run ahead of time nor can afford to remain behind in the race. If we keep ourselves updated, only then we will be able to run along with it. This is more like living in a moment or in other words, going along with the flow. Time and tide also symbolize opportunities. When one comes, just grab it. Both time and tide are natural phenomena. Both of them are not biased to anyone. They have no consideration or regard for any particular individual. Even the mightiest of us fall short and feel helpless before them.

Literal interpretation of the word "tide"

When the phrase time and tide was coined in this proverb, tide actually did not refer to rising and falling of the sea. In the original version of the phrase, tide meant to be a period of time. It was used in context to describe a season, or simply a period of time, or a while. Tide waits for no one and it meant an event or an occasion which has usually passed, irrespective of whether it is favorable or unfavorable. It is passed and is never going to come back at least in the exact form. Time and tide in this phrase is just rhetorical duplication of the same thing. There is a story in England regarding tide. One of the king's courtiers always flattered the king. Once he said that king was so powerful that he could stop anything in the world. King wanted to know the truth. He went to the seashore and ordered the waves to stop. His command was disobeyed. He learned from the whole thing, turned back to that courtier and said that time and tide waits for no one, no matter how immensely powerful they might be.

Importance of time

Money is considered to be the most valuable entity in the whole world. We count everything in terms of money and we have become so much money minded that we attribute our each second to making money. We are ignorant with the fact that time is more valuable than money. There is no way that we can earn money if we do not learn to properly utilize time in right direction and understand its value. We can earn some money, but can we earn time? Time neither can be earned nor can be saved or stored in some form so that one can use it from time to time when necessity strikes. With passing time, opportunities keep knocking doors. But do remember that door only will be knocked for once. When time passes then with it, opportunity too gets passed away. Thus, if we finish our work on time and run with it then we will be benefited greatly and this is because we will then never allow any opportunity to get away. Instead we will grab it from both our hands when it arrives at our door. Only those of us can describe importance of time or importance of a minute who have missed the train by a minute or a few seconds and because of this they had to postpone journey or just knock off the whole traveling thing which was planned. For rest of us, time is time. We just remain idle, waste our time and do not even realize that wasting time is same as wasting life. We just keep wasting our time and postponing things to future. This kind of procrastination is really bad.

What does time and tide teaches us?

Time does not wait for anybody. Lost time is never going to come back. This is the reason that we cannot afford to live a lazy life and we should not procrastinate or delay things for no reason. Our concerns or events can in no way stop the passing time, irrespective of what efforts we make. This phrase emphasizes that since we are not powered to stop passing time, any delay made can only make us regret and make us suffer huge losses. It shows how powerful time is and how much is its importance in our life. Therefore we must learn to value it. It costs us a lot. It tends to destroy the ones who destroy it and benefits the ones who value it. This phrase teaches us to make best use of time available and fulfill all our duties within the allotted time. We should never procrastinate or delay things and grab each and every opportunity by acting wisely and decisively. We need not count every second of our day or life. All we have to do is spend it easily so that each second of our life counts. This proverb is a lesson for all of us. It casts importance on desirability of our preparedness. The more prepared and vigilant we are, the more risk free we become from suffering by colossal loss. Once the loss caused is forever the loss caused. It cannot be changed and no amount of repentance can compensate for the loss. Opportunities if grabbed can prove to be a boon in one's life and if missed can ruin the same.


Time is demanding and never stands still even for a second. A lost second is a lost second. We all have limited time and we need to learn to make best use of what we have and this can only be done if we learn the art of time management. We need to cast away slackness and take timely as well as right actions to achieve success in life. It is a precocious commodity. Time is as important as life. We commonly use the term lifetime which simply means our life. Our life is nothing but a collection of moments and these moments are collection of seconds. Such closely life and time are related to each other. Time is an irreversible process and yet almighty. Time once passed cannot be recalled just like tide or flowing river. We cannot command and undo anything from our past. Time is uniform and impartial to all of us, irrespective of whether an individual is wealthy or poor. It works at the same pace for all of us and thus we have no reason to complain about anything. We just wink our eye and moment gets passed and still we divide time into past, present and future. Rather the truth is that time is indivisible. In no time, time becomes past. Just remember that there may be retakes in a play or a movie, but there cannot be any retakes in our lifetime. Time is the cruelest teacher and that is why we learn as we grow older and gain more experience. A tide never waits for the sailor. Instead a sailor has to take advantage of the tide. Similarly, time runs very fast. Just know when is the right time and act decisively i.e., act with full vigor when time comes and stop postponing things. Just learn to complete the work within the given time frame by knowing how to manage time.

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Author: DR.N.V. Srinivasa Rao09 Oct 2017 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 3

A very well written article. The author brought in many aspects of irreversible nature of time. So time lost is lost. But sometimes we will gain time also. For example, we have planned a work and estimate the time required for completing the work and follow as per the estimation. By our hard work and proactiveness, we may be able to complete the work early than planned. So I call it as gained time. So the time losing or gaining all depends on the individual and his commitment to the work. It is better to have a plan of time management and act as per the plan so that we will not lose time. One thing is true that gone time is gone we can't bring it back. Nobody can bring the time to his control. We have to sail with time. No other way. A very good narration and a good article.

Author: Natarajan09 Oct 2017 Member Level: Gold   Points : 5

A wonderful write-up for everyone and for people who wish they had more time to do this or to do that.
If there is anything as certain as the sun rising, it's the ticking of the time and the flow of the tide; once missed, forever gone.

Many of us, including myself, have gone through moments like, I wish I had completed the assignment, I wish I had paid the EMI in time or I wish I had spent time with my children before they went off for their higher education etc.

In terms of time, many of us don't realize the time we spend sleeping, traveling to and fro from work, time spent in idle chitchatting or gossiping etc that's taken out of our 24 hours fixed allotment. So it's up to us to use every minute meaningfully and productively. I think most of us know what to do every day, the problems come in differentiating between important work for the day and priority work for the day. Once we know what is not important and what's important as also what in the important group are of highest priority, then it becomes easier.

People commonly interchange these terms - urgent and important with respect to time. I use the quote "The urgent problems are seldom the important ones." by former President Dwight D. Eisenhower to drive home the difference. Urgent ones may not be important but have to be done first.

Author: T.M.Sankaran11 Oct 2017 Member Level: Gold   Points : 2

This is well quoted saying. Everybody knows time once missed will never be back again. Every person would have felt at one time or other that 'I would have done that'. But because certain temporary reactions it was left incomplete. Time is something which is not in the control anybody. Unless it is made use of in a useful manner later everybody will regret. It will not wait for anybody. Tide also has the same characteristic. One after other the tide comes and goes.

Author: K Mohan13 Apr 2018 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 2

The article once again reminds us of the golden saying that time and tide won't wait for anyone, no matter he is a big person in the society. Those who know the essence of life must respect the time and do the things accordingly without wasting his time and also be caring for others' time. Normally our politicians waste time when they agree for inauguration of any program or event, but they seldom feel that many are waiting for his arrival and other programs are inter related and connected with the inauguration. When people respect the time, they respect the society at large. Likewise when you cannot swim against the tide, better swim along with the tide and reach the shore, otherwise you would be nowhere and sink in the middle of the life.

Author: Sanjeev Gupta23 Nov 2018 Member Level: Gold   Points : 2

This is a famous proverb. Time is precious than money, we can earn money if we have time whereas we cannot go to the past and correct things. Tide is also like the same, it comes and goes back on its own. Once we let opportunities go, we can't get back and grab it. So we must learn to utilise our time nicely. Consider the case of a student who fails the exams and curses himself why he didn't study. He realises it that if he had utilised his time he could have passed. We should do our chores well in time and should not postpone them.

Author: Deepshree Sharma30 May 2019 Member Level: Silver   Points : 1

Excellent Article. The irony is we all know and profess that 'Time is Precious' and yet the maximum we waste is time. Most of us must learn the optimum use of time as I believe in the theory 'Every Second Count'.

Author: Sheo Shankar Jha30 May 2019 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 4

It is definitely a wonderful write-up highlighting the importance of time in each of our assignments. I would not say that readers of this article are not aware of its intrinsic value but strict adherence in this regard is not followed by most of us.

In contrast to this, we could see some personalities who chalk out everything for timely execution. Time management is a skill and the time is divided into different slots for each activity. Continual improvement with respect to total time is closely maintained. If we look around such people, they would not make any complaint about the paucity of time since for each activity, there is a provision of timing and accordingly, the execution is accomplished.

This article is well written and provides tips for the successful execution of work in an allotted timeframe.

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