Think long term. No, wait, stay in the now. It’s easy to get confused with the mix messages that people are telling you.
In business, sometimes short-term thinking works. Like in the midst of an important project. Working to a two or four-week timeframe is easier than mapping out the coming year. But long-term thinking is required for projecting growth and planning future endeavours.
For the majority of the time, thinking short-term will be similar to you driving a car but not knowing where to. Thinking short-term will stress you out. You need a map, and a predetermined destination.
Today, more than ever, it’s comfortable to think short-term. As a society, we want things now. Technology has turned us into a culture that demands immediate gratification. Also, we only see the end result of something great. Did you know one of the world’s biggest social media platforms, Instagram, was bought for a billion dollars only 18 months after launch? What you don’t hear is the 12 years of work that went into it beforehand.
Nothing is an overnight success. That’s just the tale we construct in our minds when there’s ‘fast’ success. We need to practice the skill of patience. Bring it back to one of the fundamental lessons we learned as kids: being patient and waiting your turn. Start thinking long-term if you aren’t already.
Let your futureconstruct your present.
Don’t let your current decisions cripple you in the future. Instead, work backwards. Map out exactly where you want to go and make space for those actions (that will get you there) today. While it’ll take a little extra effort, time is your most important asset and something you can never get back. So, use it wisely.
It all comes back to your expectations and how you perceive time. Do you get to the end of the year and feel like you didn’t achieve much, despite being busy? Maybe you were too short-term focused. You got a lot of things done but there’s was an absence of longer term perspective. The narrower the context leads to unexpected outcomes – one ‘crisis’ to the next.
As humans, we innately love rewards. And they’re more frequent with short-term actions. But if you can set mini achievements along the way to your long-term goals, this will help you stay on course, while feeling satisfied.
Self-awareness can help you think into the future. Also, being able to create space in the day for reflection and setting priorities. And then, of course, to bring it all back to an unshakable set of foundational values.
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