It’s the most important decision of your life…
What to do with the next 24 hours. And you make this decision every day.
Say you want to be a DJ, or run a marathon, or get into gardening—name your thing. But when you get home from work, you put on Netflix and sit there for five hours. This is what most people do. They get home, turn on the tube, hop on the internet, and four or five hours just disappear.
Some people watch football on the weekends. They spend a whole day, maybe two days, watching other people toss around a ball. That’s a lot of time up in smoke.
I doubt anyone lies on his deathbed thinking, “I should have spent more time watching football.” Of course not. They think about missed opportunities and the things they could have done if they’d put in the work.
I’ll be frank—if there’s something you want and don’t have, it’s probably a function of time and effort.
Say there’s a job you want, for example. Getting a new job is a full-time job unto itself. No one’s going to come to you and say, “Hey, do you want to work for us?”
Life doesn’t work like that. Simply posting your resume on LinkedIn isn’t going to create job offers. Most people have to get out there and hustle. It’s a lot of work.
One of my favorite sayings is: Nothing happens to you in your apartment. Even if you spend your time outside, going places, meeting people, it’s more productive than just sitting at home.
I won’t tell you I never kill time, because I do on occasion. But it’s deliberate. And I don’t waste time—there is a difference.
I remember a point last year when I was working particularly hard, and I just needed a break. So I turned on the MLB Network and sat on the couch watching baseball for six hours. It was relaxing, and it was exactly what I wanted to do. It’s what I needed to do—I needed a break.
Taking a much-needed and deserved break is different from killing time. I don’t suggest you kill time—it’s a waste. It does nothing for you.
When people don’t get what they want, they usually blame external factors. They think it’s because they went to the wrong school or people don’t like them. Fill in the blank. Those people have it all wrong. When you don’t get what you want, it’s usually because you didn’t put in enough effort.
That brings me to another one of my favorite sayings: You get out of it what you put into it. It applies to just about everything, especially school.
This might surprise you, but I was a terrible student as an undergrad. Just horrible. I slept in class. I didn’t do my homework. I did the minimum, and you know what? I didn’t learn anything. Certainly nowhere near as much as I could have.
Grad school was a whole different story. I really wanted to learn about finance, and I worked hard at it. I didn’t just pay attention during class. I spent hours and hours studying in the library. So I learned a lot. Then, when I got to Lehman Brothers, I knew a lot more than many of the people I worked with because I’d put in the time.
You don’t have to decide everything about your whole life right now. Just decide what you’re doing tomorrow.
If you’re tempted to sit on the couch and waste time, think about what else you’re interested in. What have you always wanted to do but never tried?
Most of you know that, on top of writing a bunch of financial newsletters, I also DJ. I’ve always wanted to produce music, too. But I’ve said to myself, “It’s too hard, I have no aptitude for it, and I won’t be able to figure it out.”
Finally I just decided, “You know what? Screw it. I’m going to do it.”
So I’m going to produce tracks and submit them to labels. I’m going to get my tracks published, and it’s going to be awesome. It might take three years, but it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I still have little pockets of time at night and on the weekends. And I’m going to spend some of it producing music.
So, what are you going to do with the next 24 hours?