July 17, 2019
I am a procrastinator by nature. Though I’ve gotten better about it over the years, when I was in college, I turned it into an art. I began by waiting until a few days before an assignment was due to start working on it. Then as time went by, the starting point moved to the day before.
Eventually, I began setting my alarm early on the due date and rushing through the work. There were times I would print up papers and run to class to turn them in with seconds to spare.
As I have grown older and begun to look back at those days with a little more wisdom, I realize that I was often simply compromising with myself. The problem was that the more I allowed myself to make deals with myself, the less principled I was about those things the next time around.
I think it’s because once I established that my performance in school was less important than the goofing off I wanted to do, it slipped lower and lower on the priority scale. At the time, I would have said that school was really important, but my actions spoke otherwise.
In reality, some very important things in life are often allowed to fall to the wayside in the name of less important things. One of the most common things is marriage and family relationships. It’s easy to put off spending quality time with your spouse because it takes effort. It’s much easier to compromise with that very important relationship in favor of easier pursuits.
Unfortunately, what’s easy in the moment is a poor trade over the long term. There are other areas of our lives where compromising with ourselves in the moment can cost us more important things in the future.
Anyone who has ever had to change their diet or exercise regime for health reasons knows that making the decision to compromise today by skipping exercise or having seconds on pie can quickly turn into a headlong slide of compromises.
Skipping the gym one day can easily become two, then three, then 5 months. Choosing to watch TV or scroll Facebook instead of engaging with your wife one time can easily become two and so forth. The problem is that when we compromise, we are basically deciding that what’s easy or comfortable is the most important thing for us.
We are the only ones who can hold ourselves accountable for such things, and we are in cahoots on compromise. Forging a new path isn’t all that hard. You simply have to decide what’s important and act like it’s important. If your marriage and kids are more important than Facebook or a rerun of some show, then act like it.
If health is more important than comfort, then act like it. I’m not saying that we can never take a day off or rest. Rather, I am saying that such decisions should never be taken lightly because the easier it is to compromise with ourselves, the easier it will be next time. Further, such decisions have a real impact on what is high priority and what is not. We should always be aware of that danger.