Short Term Self vs Long Term Self

I found this image on Tumblr and it really spoke to me. It would be a great discussion piece for the classroom about setting goals and working towards a bright future.

We live in a day and age of instant everything. This can narrow our focus and keep us locked in the here-and-now. Why think about the future when we can be so engrossed in the present?

The woman in the picture below looks like she is going somewhere. I can image that she’s waiting for a flight or bus. She is thinking about all of the rich possibilities that this trip holds. And she’s thinking about her past at the same time.

“I wish I’d partied a little less. People always say ‘be true to yourself.’ But that’s misleading, because there are two selves. There’s your short term self, and there’s your long term self. And if you’re only true to your short term self, your long term self slowly decays.”

What a powerful message!

I think this is something we need to share with our students.

I know that I have always hated the question, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” I don’t think I have ever been able to visualize the future in that way. But I do appreciate that hard work pays off.

We have a motto in my school board that reads, “We build each student’s tomorrow, every day.”

It’s a great mission statement but I don’t think many of us understand what it truly means. Do our students have any concept that what we are doing today will pay dividends to our long-term selves?

Are there things that we do today that can have negative consequences to our long-term selves? What is more important – the short-term or the long-term?

I look forward to having this discussion with my Grade 7 class. If you try it out, please come back and leave me a comment about how it went. Thanks!

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