Skip Now, Pay Later: The Hidden Costs of Shortcuts

Find out what happens when you choose shortcuts.

I was speaking with my spiritual mentor this morning, seeking his guidance and blessings on some decisions I needed to make. An interesting point arose in our conversation regarding the concept of "Skip Now, Pay Later" in life, business, or spiritual growth.

At times, we opt for shortcuts which propel us forward temporarily. We might skip learning, neglect duties, or compromise ethics to achieve success, like earning a promotion or fame. However, there inevitably comes a time when we must reckon with the consequences and repay for the steps we bypassed.

A leader in a Fortune 500 company soared rapidly through the ranks, demonstrating exceptional skill and intellect. With impressive educational qualifications and undeniable potential, they quickly earned the admiration of managers. However, after negotiating yet another promotion to a higher position, they found themselves surrounded by peers much older and more experienced. It became evident that they lacked the necessary skills and experience for their new role. Struggling to keep up with the demands of large-scale projects and feeling constantly out of their depth, they grappled with anxiety and a pervasive fear of being exposed as an impostor.

Their experience serves as a poignant reminder that true success is not merely about reaching higher positions or achieving accolades quickly. It's about building a solid foundation, honing essential skills, and gaining valuable experience along the way.

Why "Skip Now" is bad?

Our discussion went to how "Skip Now" is great, can give us fast success and status and what was wrong with that? We can catch up as needed when it is time to "Pay" and what is wrong with that. As the discussion flowed the following came up against "Skip Now"

  1. Firstly, "Skip Now" can lead to a false sense of achievement and competence, masking deficiencies in essential skills or experience as we saw in the first story. This can result in a lack of readiness to tackle challenges that arise later on, potentially leading to failure or setbacks.
  2. Secondly, the act of "Paying" later often comes with greater costs than anticipated. It may require significant time, effort, and resources to rectify the gaps created by skipping essential steps. This can lead to stress, anxiety, and a sense of being overwhelmed as we struggle to catch up as we can see in the second story.
  3. Thirdly, the consequences of skipping steps may extend beyond our own lives to impact those around us,our family, including colleagues, teams, and even the broader community. By neglecting essential learning and development opportunities, we may hinder our ability to contribute meaningfully and make a positive impact in the long term as this attitude spills over to other aspects of our lives as well. "Skip Now: in relationships is a great recipe for relationship failure.

While the allure of "Skip Now" may be tempting, it's essential to consider the potential consequences and weigh them against the short-term benefits. By prioritizing patience, diligence, and a commitment to continuous growth, we can build a foundation for sustainable success and fulfillment in the long run.

Story: The Heir to a Large Fortune

Consider the case of an heir to a substantial fortune who grew up accustomed to comfort, believing they wouldn't need to work hard to prove their worthiness. They neglected their studies and failed to acquire the necessary skills to manage their inheritance. Instead, they spent their time indulging in comfort, dreaming of enjoying their inheritance. However, as they reached middle age, they still hadn't gained control of their inheritance. Meanwhile, their friends from less privileged backgrounds excelled in their careers, surpassing the heir in personal wealth and on track to potentially even surpass the total value of the heir's inheritance.

As time passed, our subject became increasingly accustomed to a life of comfort, showing little motivation to earn a living. Their focus shifted towards indulging in what they perceived as the finer things in life. However, as they continued in this manner, a sense of frustration began to build within them. Despite their efforts to silence their inner doubts about their worthiness, the frustration persisted. This inner turmoil transformed them into an angry and resentful individual, directing their frustration towards others and the circumstances around them. In an attempt to assert their significance, which they couldn't find within themselves, they resorted to dominating discussions, belittling others, and criticizing everything in their path. This behavior stemmed from a deep-seated need for significance, which they struggled to fulfill through positive means.

They also taught their children to enjoy life, dissuaded them from competitive exams saying it would be too hard. Somewhere this was their way to feel vindicated, not be reminded of the wrong chices they made, by not allowing others to make better choices based on hardwork and growth.

Their story illustrates that while they attempted to take a shortcut to a fulfilling life by relying solely on their inheritance, they never truly felt deserving or significant. Despite outward appearances of a fantastic life and enviable status, they grappled with profound inner dissatisfaction and perpetrated the same traits of resting easy to the next generation. They were on a track of their fortune chipping away with no skills and mindset to build one.

Skip Now, Pay Later Can Spoil Your Spirituality

The highest expression of self-actualization of a human being is service in connection with service to the Divine. That comes from holistic inner development. This is possible only through the eradication of "avidya" ignorance of our true identity as a spiritual being completely separate from our temporary material identity. This requires peeling of the layer and layers of false identification with maya to come to our true authentic spiritual selves.

"Skip Now" goes against this ethic of holistic development. "Skip Now" follows the ethic of "Do whatever to achieve the goal" - it does not help one come home to their true authentic selves. Authenticity is key to spiritual progress and the attitude of "Skip Now" robs one of it.


The notion of "Skip Now, Pay Later" reveals itself as a double-edged sword, tempting with immediate gains but carrying profound long-term consequences. Through the stories shared and the reflections on its implications in various spheres of life – from career advancement to personal growth and spirituality – it becomes evident that the allure of shortcuts often leads us astray.

The consequences of skipping essential steps extend far beyond mere setbacks; they penetrate the very fabric of our lives, affecting our sense of fulfillment, well-being, and impact on those around us. Whether it's the loss of authenticity and self-worth, the burden of catching up with missed opportunities, or the erosion of spiritual connection, the toll of "Skip Now, Pay Later" is steep and enduring.

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Categories: Leadership