The Importance of Long-Term Thinking
It’s in the delaying on this desire that we are able to master our own fate. This point won’t be new to anyone; it is one that is told to us many times throughout our life. Common phrases such as, “you’ll regret that in the morning” points to the fact that we understand the trade off. However, people still underestimate the importance of long term thinking. If it’s not something that you regularly manage then it can revolutionise your life. It can be applied to all aspects of life, from work to home and is indeed a key component of business decisions. Before I go into too much detail, we will need a disclaimer. It is important to enjoy the present, just not at the cost of the future.
This brings me to the relation to business. A key principle of business is that of sustainability. The term sustainability was officially defined in the UN commissioned Brundtland Report in 1987 as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. In this case they were discussing matters of developments and issues with environmental impact however this can be repurposed to resound on a personal level.
If we replace the ideas of generations with future iterations of self then we can come to a similar statement that works as a mantra for personal development. Meeting our current needs without compromising our ability to meet our future needs This leads us to the concept of sustainable personal finances and “living within your means”.
To revisit an example that I mentioned earlier, it means that you can go out and enjoy yourself in a bar provided that it won’t compromise your ability to pay rent at the end of the month. However, this is a path that leads us to sustain a constant level of living, as would be implied by the term sustainability. So what route do we need to take for growth? This is when the ability to think in the Long-Term becomes such a substantial advantage.
It is only by considering things in the long term that we are able to make current sacrifices and defeat that human desire for instant gratification. That is what makes the difference between sustaining a lifestyle and striving to improve upon what you currently have. Every day is viewed as a positive step towards that future; sacrifices become easier because the end gain is greater than any gratification that could currently be consumed.
It gives you the ability to work jobs that you dislike, it gives you the ability to avoid buying things that aren’t necessary and it gives you the ability to get up at a ridiculous time in the morning to exercise before work. None of these are particularly attractive propositions on their own, but as part of a long term plan they can become worthy.
If you have to put two years in at an entry level job to get to the position you want then grasp that with both hands and do the best job that you can. If you can go another 6 months without new clothes because that money can be put towards a deposit on a house then why wouldn’t you? If that’s the only time you can fit in time to go to the gym then you get up at whatever time is necessary.
It’s only by making this a habitual way of thinking that we can truly achieve the goals that we set ourselves. If we can weigh every decision against the future then we can make more meaningful decisions and make positive steps towards our long term happiness. What is an hour of happiness now against a year in the future? So, whatever it is that you’ve been putting off because it seems difficult, go out there and do it now. Join the gym, start saving and educate yourself. I’ll see you in twenty years and we’ll both be living like kings.