🔥 Seeking Clarity No.7

Time As Commodity, Saving The Liberal Arts, and Defining Success 7.21.21

Hello friends! Welcome to Seeking Clarity. My name is Sean Cheng and I’m a student at Swarthmore College. Each issue, I bring you a thoroughly researched essay on an interesting topic along with insightful reads from around the Internet. Let’s seek clarity together.

All my past essays can be found here.

Follow me on Twitter @seancheng_ where I curate more lessons on mental models and startups from leading entrepreneurs, VCs, and writers.

✅ What’s Inside:

  1. Quick Update From Sean - Changes Moving Forwards

  2. Monthly Essay - Time As Commodity: Reflecting on Relationships, Hobbies, and Procrastination.

  3. What I’ve Been Reading - Saving The Liberal Arts

  4. Twitter Find of The Month - Alternative View On Success

💡 Quick Update

Hi there! Thank you so much for supporting Seeking Clarity over the past few months. I hope you’ve learned as much from reading my monthly articles as I have learned writing them.

As my gap year comes to a close and I return to school, I’ll be adjusting the cadence of my publishing from monthly to more sporadic intervals.

I’m fully committed to writing and sharing high-quality insights and ideas with you all. Adjusting my publishing schedule will ensure I can continue to do so while balancing my other responsibilities.

Looking forward to continuing this journey of Seeking Clarity!

📝 Time As Commodity

Time is the ultimate commodity.

It's limited and can never be regained. This is why repeatedly being late or flaking on people last minute is rude. You're saying, my time is more important than yours.

“All I have in this world is time and you are wasting my time" - legendary Intel CEO Andy Grove to an employee late to a meeting.

To know who or what someone cares about, all you have to do is ask where they spend most of their time. Nowhere is this more important than your relationships. There's a reason quality time is one of the love languages.

Small talk builds relationships because it says “I care more about you than being productive” - Dave Perell

We dread small talk when we meet new people, but it's a necessary step to get to know someone. When we invest time into people, we're demonstrating that out of all the work, fun, and other distractions in this world, we're willing to put it all aside to be with them.

It applies to your hobbies and other interests as well. When you say "I don't have time for something," what you're really saying is "This isn't my highest priority right now."

As my old violin teacher would say when I complained about not having enough time to practice— make time.

I did have enough time to practice violin (I was in middle school, I had too much time), but I just didn't care enough to prioritize it. There's nothing wrong with not prioritizing things. But don't lie to yourself and blame it on time constraints.

Procrastination is a unique time waster. Rather than someone else not respecting your time, procrastination is when you don't respect your time. When you procrastinate, you're telling your subconscious you don't care enough about yourself to do what's best in the long run. The current distraction has become more important to you than your long-term goals and happiness. This realization should put an end to any procrastination you're experiencing.

Don't let anyone (yourself included) waste your time. Be intentional with it because when you value your time, you value yourself. Remember you can't kill time. Time kills you.

📚 What I’ve Been Reading

  • Saving the Liberal Arts - Balancing the tension between vocational and civilized education while re-envisioning the future of liberal arts education.

🐦 Twitter Find of The Month

🙏 Thank You

If you enjoyed Seeking Clarity, it would mean the world to me if you shared it with a friend or two.


Feel free to also send me your thoughts on my writing or any interesting reads you’ve come across as well! You can reach me by replying to this email or by DMing me on Twitter. I read every single message I receive.

Wishing you the best,