To a casual observer of my life in the past week or so, it would appear that I’ve made zero progress on my remaining business school applications since submitting my last one.
As evidence, one might point to the mostly blank Word document that represents the first of my eventual four essays for Wharton. Someone might further note that I’ve spent far more time hanging out with family, friends and new acquaintances, reading epic novels, singing off-key karaoke songs, buying presents, brainstorming business ideas, eating crab, playing music, sleeping soundly, cooking new dishes, drinking scotch, warding off invading ants, running outside, researching stocks, lounging on a couch and writing on my blog (hence this post), than working on my remaining applications.
I would have to agree – the progress of my applications has not looked good in the month of December so far. But, given the same circumstances, I’d choose to do the same things again. Fortunately, my application schedule has a built-in allowance for extended breaks.
Sometimes, I need to take a break in order to re-approach an activity with the proper mindset. Like many others, when I have been out of balance in some area of my life, I am naturally drawn toward making a correction. Sometimes this happens on a micro scale, in the form of craving vegetables that I’ve been lacking or by hanging out with a friend that I haven’t seen in a while. In this case, I think my overall perspective needed to be re-calibrated. I was so concentrated on completing my applications by certain deadlines, that I nearly lost sight of the fact that business school applications and an MBA itself are steps along the continual process of creating a fulfilling life.
It’s not that I was previously spending all of my waking hours actively working on my applications to the exclusion of other activities, but my mind had increasingly allowed the goal of getting into MBA programs to crowd out my other thoughts, even when I was doing an unrelated activity such as exercising. More than anything, I needed to step away and give myself some mental space from the application process. In doing so, I was able to spend more time doing satisfying things such as strengthening relationships, exploring new ideas, shaping meaningful experiences and engaging my abilities to create something of value.
Coincidentally, by taking a break from applications, I was reminded that getting an MBA will further enable me to do meaningful things in life, but in a business/career context. With that in mind, I am hopeful that my temporary break will now be followed by a period of renewed inspiration – this time with a more balanced approach to applications. After all, it’s all in the name of a good life.