Life is all about making choices on how we use our time and taking responsibility for the consequences of those choices.
Lots of the questions we get are around:
Should I go to college?
Which college should I apply to? Which college should I attend?
What activities should I do to get into college?
Should I retake the SAT to get a better score or focus on my AP classes?
What should I major in?
Which companies should I apply to work for? Which job offer should I accept?
The scarcity of time
The reason these questions get asked is because of the scarcity of time. It doesn’t matter how famous, powerful, or rich you or your family are, we all get 24 hours each day. We have to make choices because we don’t have an infinite amount of time to do everything.
Given that time is finite and valuable, it is key to use it in the most productive manner possible, to get us closer and closer to our long term goals.
Investing vs. consuming
In the Book of Matthew’s Parable of the Talents, a man gives silver to his three servants. Upon his return, he discovers that the first two invested the silver and earned an additional return with it. The last servant dug a hole in the ground and hid the silver (i.e. he didn’t do squat).
Contrary to what many may think, being in debt is not necessarily a bad thing. It just depends on what you’re borrowing for.
If you’re using that money as an investment to make even more money than you borrowed, then that is good. Taking on debt to consume is bad, as that is just an expense (e.g. buying a depreciating asset like a big screen TV) that won’t make you more in the long run and only saddles you with increasing debt that you won’t be able to pay off. It’s like buying an orange and eating it versus buying orange seeds to plant a tree and eating (or selling) all the oranges you want later.
Invest your time wisely
The same idea applies to our time. We’re not advocating working like a dog with no time for relaxation. Obviously, it is important to let off some steam sometimes.
But it’s possible to kill two birds with one stone: do things that are fun AND good for your personal development, instead of merely having fun doing things that provide no long term value.
Example: one of our students happens to like hanging out with people and having interesting conversations. So when taking some relaxation time from his daily responsibilities, instead of watching Netflix for four hours straight while eating popcorn, he accomplishes the same (taking a break, having fun) by going to Times Square. There he struck up a conversation with an Irish businessman and ended up making a new friend while accomplishing his immediate goal of letting off some steam.
Obviously, customize your tactics to your own situation, as you know yourself best. But you get the point.
All this is why it is important to have a conceptual idea of what your long term goals are, so you can align them with your leisurely pursuits and evaluate whether or not you are using your time wisely. That way the fun you have now will pay off now and in the future. How good is that?