At Harvard Business School, a simple, non-credit course called “Reflecting on Your Life” has emerged in recent years in response to key questions students had begun to ask. Questions like, “What does it mean to live a good life? What about a productive life? How about a happy life?” In short, they want to know how they can live wisely. The course attracts about 100 students each year, and over three 90 minute discussion sessions, students are taken through five exercises.
In the first exercise, students are simply asked to make a list of “what matters to you?” What would you write? For a student it might be going to class, spending time with friends, reading outside of the assigned reading list or doing volunteer work. Maybe for you, it might be advancing in your career, being a great mum or dad, growing in your walk with Christ or getting into an exercise program.
Once students answer these questions, they are asked to list how they actually spend their time over the course of a week? For the student, are they volunteering or reading outside of the assigned reading list? For you, it might be, are you investing in your children or are there habits you have placed in your life to grow in Christ? How do you actually invest your time?
Students are then asked, “How well do your commitments actually match your goals?” How would you answer this? Few students find they have a strong overlap between their lists. What they discover is that so much of their time is spent on things they don’t really value. The challenge for them is how to align their time with their convictions.
A wise life is not knowing what you ought to do. It is more than knowing what you should commit to and what is really important in life? It is aligning your time commitments with your personal convictions. It is actually living wisely.