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by • September 4, 2014 • Long-term ThinkingComments (0)880

The Dangers of Short-Term Thinking

We are all seekers of instant gratification.

We work hard, and as a result we expect to get everything we deserve. We want love, money, success, and fame. (And we want it now!)

There’s so much work involved in cultivating and harvesting our own success that it is easier to move where we think the grass is greener. With the world connected the way it is in modern times, this feels easier than ever before.

Most of society, it seems, is engineered to reinforce the “short-term mentality”. We are compensated and incentivized for immediate gains. Companies are looking to increase profits quarter over quarter. Politicians are forced to band-aid problems in small four year windows without a real regard for the future.

Even interest rates are set up this way. We don’t want want people to be prudent for the long haul. We want them to spend their money now to raise the GDP up a quarter of a notch.

It’s not worth it for many of us to sacrifice the time and the capital if there is significantly less immediate compensation. There are mortgages to be paid and mouths to feed.

However, I believe that the people who really make a lasting impact in this world are those that find a way to consciously buck this trend. It takes a special kind of person. Most things that truly disrupt the status quo take time and effort. If it were so easy to change people’s behaviour, then such an opportunity wouldn’t be there in the first place. Someone would have already done it.

Sticking with an idea, career, or passion for years or decades can be hard to do. Even the best ideas almost never come to fruition with ease. Therefore, it can be tempting to turn away at the first sign of misfortune or a down market. Challenges wear us down mentally and physically, making it difficult to stick to our guns.

I try to be a contrarian in life. When everyone zigs, I like to zag. It’s one of the only ways I know I can “buy low”. It’s tough to do, because when I’m in this position, all signals will constantly try to point me in the opposite direction. To survive, it’s about having conviction and faith in the vision. There can be no second guessing.

What kind of person are you?

Do you have a long-term vision that is bigger than yourself? What are you doing to grind away at it?

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