For the last four and half years, I’ve had the opportunity to share the message of 8 Essential Exchanges with a diverse range of audiences, from high school students in gymnasiums to senior level executives in corporate conference rooms.
For each audience I’ll pick three or four exchanges to share that seem most applicable to them, but the one exchange I am always hesitant to talk about is exchanging the immediate for the ultimate. Why? It seems too simple. The concept is not new. The idea is not original. And so there are many times I get through three exchanges and feel a strong urge to cut my talk short. Why waste the audience’s time telling them something they already know?
However, I’m reminded that this is a challenge we desperately need to hear. Almost every time I walk through this exchange with a group, somebody from the audience will come up to me afterward and tell me how much they needed to hear it. They open their hearts to me and admit things like, “Today, I realized that I put my family second to pursue my career,” or “I’ve spent years chasing short-term satisfaction, and it’s robbed me of what I ultimately wanted in life.”
So today, I’ll issue the challenge again. I know you’ve heard it before, but I don’t think there’s anyone reading this who doesn’t struggle in this area. We know deep down inside that we shouldn’t pursue short-term pleasure when it prohibits long-term growth. It’s a simple, universal truth, but it’s so very tough for us to apply. Please don’t miss this: When you choose what you want NOW over what you want MOST, you forfeit your future for a fleeting feeling that will fade away.
When you choose what you want NOW over what you want MOST, you forfeit your future for a fleeting feeling that will fade away. @KevinPaulScott
Max Lucado says it this way:
“When you are in the final days of your life, what will you want?
Will you hug that college degree in the walnut frame? Will you ask to be carried to the garage, so you can sit in your car? Will you find comfort in rereading your financial statement? Of course not. What will matter then will be people. If relationships will matter most then, shouldn’t they matter most now?”
This challenge is not new or complex or ground-breaking. It’s not even close to being original, but it might be the most important thing you read this week. If you actually apply it, it could change your life and remind you to pursue what you want most instead of what you want now.
The best way to live out this exchange is to audit your activities. What are doing right now, today, that makes you happy in the short term but will rob you of joy in the long-term? Do whatever it takes to change that. Make the sacrifices necessary to take those things away. Give up short-term pleasure for long-term growth.
It will be the most important exchange you could ever make.