I first noticed it in the last semester of business school when most students were complaining about having to choose between job offers. All the offers more than met their standards. Dwelling in their decisions instead of choosing and living their lives made them miserable instead of enjoying themselves.
What made them miserable wasn’t that they had multiple offers—that is, the problem didn’t come from outside. The problem was their inability to choose, which came from a lack of skill, discipline, self-awareness, or something like that.
Schools offer tons of so-called opportunities to lead—student-run clubs, student governance, etc. Many people think “Community is better than not community, so I should sign up.” Later they move to “Showing leadership is better than not showing leadership, so I should run for office.”
Everyone feels the motivation to sign up to more activities. And not just at school. You know the feeling.
What counters it? There are more activities you can oblige yourself to than you can count. How do you stop signing up?
Most students stop when their performance suffers. They complain they have too much to do.
I can’t think of a role model whom I admire for doing many things. Maybe Da Vinci or Michelangelo—once in a millennium types. Otherwise people I emulate do one thing well.
People running around doing many things complain about “not having enough time”—that is, blaming something external for problems they create.
I’ve reached the point where I find people with “too much to do” or “not enough time” repellent. I’m not saying they’re wrong or bad or that I can’t work with them. I just hear that they don’t know their values or how to act on them and blame outside circumstances for their inner problems. I don’t like people who blame others for their problems. And I like people who get things done.
There’s no rule for what is too much work or not enough time. The issue is how you feel about it, and how much you do relative to how much you expect to.
I prefer to ask “what can I get rid of that’s less important to do more of what is important” instead of “will this look good on my resume/transcript/etc” without asking what you’ll also get rid of.
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