"The most important thing to do in life is to choose to do what is most important."
                                                                 The BuddhaKahuna

Life is about producing what you want in life.  However, we have strange ideas about how to do that, with alot of wishful thinking mixed in. 

The simple fact is:

      Time,               +                Applied for                  =    Greatest Total Life
      Energy                            greatest impact
                                         (in total, over time)

Kinda simple.

But we fail to accurately assess what has the most net benefit per amount of our time and effort, so we invest (or waste) that time and effort into what produces little benefit or often none (or a net negative effect).  [And if we follow that key formula, we will actually create more time and energy to apply for even more great results.]

"But I'm just human..." goes the refrain.  Or "I don't have the time" or "it's no fun".  

Well, yes, we are human.  With its limitations, like gravity, being human gives us the brain power to assess and decide and learn - so we can do great things.  We can even learn to adapt to and/or manage the "I'm just human" realities.  We can learn to be more effective and, as a part of that, learn how to manage, adapt to, and/or overcome obstacles, such as human limitations.

If I spend 1 unit of time-effort, to get 5 units of benefit, then I've got a good deal going. If I spend 1 unit and I get the ability to increase my benefit per amount of effort, then I might produce 3.5 units of benefit per amount of time versus the 3.0 units I could produce before.  After 2 uses of my increased ability, I produce an extra benefit of 1 unit (.5 units, twice) - thereafter I always have extra benefits with no extra costs, as I will spend the same amount of time and effort as I would otherwise (but to produce only 3.0 units per 1 unit of effort). 

So, my criteria for what is most important in life is what the size of the benefit I can get per unit of time-effort.  I might want happiness and go for it directly and then the experience disappears.  Or I might choose to do something that will get me an ongoing experience of getting more happiness.  If I do that, I will get enough happiness (not always be preparing to be more capable, and not being deprived) in the short term but massively greater amounts of happiness over my life.  And I mean MASSIVELY.  Few people fully see how great the effect is. 

The idea is not dissimilar to the idea of the Golden Goose that lays the Golden Eggs.  If I grow a Golden Goose, feeding it and making sure it thrives, I will benefit from the Golden Eggs over and over.  If instead, I kill the Golden Goose in order to get a few more eggs out faster than otherwise, I'll have a few eggs instantly but massively less later on. 

The bottom line is that we need to plant the seeds and learn how to grow them the best and we'll have more to harvest overall in life.

But the question people ask (actually it's more like a statement) is:  Won't I have to sacrifice too much (in the short term) and then live a life of not living life now and just working hard to get better?   That's a bit of an adult-sounding question, but based on child level thinking.  The answer to the question is actually pleasing for even a child.

If we wait a month for a reward of 1 unit, where we could have eaten the 1 unit right now, but the waiting allowed us to set up a machine that provides 1 unit per month with no extra effort, we will be able to enjoy over the next 20 years 240 extra units for no extra effort - we would in fact be harvesting as we go. 

fundamental misunderstanding of a "need" (imperative) - keeping killing the golden gooses in desperate nowism.
Of course, it takes discipline to not eat one marshmallow now in order to get 2 marshmallows in 15 minutes, but we can do this by devising various "devices" to have that be doable, such as rewarding ourselves as we go and doing what fits with how humans function!!!!!!  So if I ask you to learn something that will highly benefit you and I consider the fact that humans get distracted by current needs and in fact do have some current needs to fill (like eating, sleeping, relief from effort (rest)..