Tag Archive for 'happiness'

Time Debt and Harvard’s Addiction to Over-Commitment

My Economics professor made an interesting analogy last week, comparing time commitments to “time debt.” Harvard students have a tendency to “promise” time to other parties that will be collected at a future point in time in exchange for things like grades, money, fun, etc.

Unfortunately, we too suffer from time inconsistencies regarding our time use. We commit to too much now, but have to perhaps renege on our promises later. Time inconsistencies are generally used by economists to explain things like addiction to procrastination, but at the core of it all, is a self-control issue. Whereas some people cannot help but to pull out their credit card to buy that new pair of shoes, we cannot help but to say yes to an awesome opportunity that will only maybe just take 2 hours a week.

The funny thing about “time debt” — a promise to pay back time/effort at a future date — is that the interest compounds. Time commitments snow ball, people expect and demand more from you, and soon your 2 hour a week gig ends up 3 or 4 hours a week, during a week, of course, of midterms.

So what is this “time debt,” and why in the world is this a problem of many successful people?

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Treat Yourself Like You Would a Good Friend

The folks at lifehack.org have an interesting article titled “How to Be a Friend of Yourself” –

We often focus on building relationships with others that we forget the essential first step: being friends of ourselves. That is the crucial first step if we are to have good relationships with others. How can we have good relationships with others if we don’t even have good relationship with ourselves? (read the rest)

It’s a fantastic article — but I think in order to be a good friend of yourself, it doesn’t just mean being able to accept and embrace yourself. Rather, to be your own best friend, you need to start treating yourself like you would a best friend.

Would you demand as much from your good friend as you do of yourself?

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Happiness: The Most Underutilized Asset at Harvard

It is uncanny how many of my friends have confessed with particular enthusiasm: I hate Harvard. Some attribute it to the “sophomore slump.” Others complain — rightly so — about the arrogance, stupidity and frustrating qualities of our classmates.

I will admit it is true. One of the one true pastimes of the Harvard student is complaining about Harvard. From food to bureaucracy, from professors to classes, Harvard students are notorious for the amount of complaining they do.

But — for all of our complaining, we do very little to try to nip the unhappiness bud. It seems like we glorify our unhappiness: you think your life is bad? well, I just had 3 200-level problem sets due, a thesis to write, and ten organizations to save from self-combustion.

Right. This entry will be dedicated to why happiness is as important of an asset as time (arguably one of the most valuable things a Harvard student has, but that’s another entry).

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