As I get a little older each year, I can’t help but think about the power of long term thinking. Like many of us, in my youth, I was challenged to think about the long-term.
Now, it’s a little easier to appreciate the value of long term thinking. Here are 2 examples of how long term thinking can benefit one’s life.
I saw one of my oldest friends a few weeks ago. His name is Tom. Tom and I met at college about 35 years ago. And, we shared an apartment our senior year. We were very close and got together often in our 20’s and 30’s.
Time passed. Marriage, jobs, and family changed our priorities. It had been quite a few years since I had last seen Tom. 7 years to be exact. Fortunately, he invited my wife and me to a party at his new house a few weeks ago.
When we arrived, I was surprised how age had changed him, physically that is. I suppose it has changed me too. As his house party raged on, we hung out and talked on and off for hours. We talked about the past, the present and the future.
We had an unspoken comfort being together again. It was nice. We had a lot of shared history together. Whatever stresses of the day I had, they seemed to wash away. It was like our 7-year absence from seeing each other didn’t even exist. After all, we had been friends for a long time.
I heard a saying once that is kind of funny but so true. Here it is.
“It’s hard to make new, old friends.”
Remember that your old friends are usually the best friends to have. So, invest in blue-chip personal relationships. They will pay dividends for the long-term.
Work and Career
Here is another example of the power of long term thinking…
In my younger days immediately after college, I wanted to climb the corporate ladder. Why? I wanted to make more money.
I was an excellent college student. Sure, I studied hard, but for the most part school and grades came easy to me. When I graduated, I landed a job with a prestigious international accounting and consulting firm.
Unfortunately, work and professional skills didn’t come quite as easy for me. The challenges were no longer neatly put together in a textbook chapter.
It took me a while to realize there were no get rich quick schemes. Nothing was going to come easy. I had to go about learning and building business skills assignment by assignment and job by job.
It wasn’t a straight line to the top for me. I had to put in the work and take quite a few lateral moves to build up my skills and experience.
As time passed, I came up with a long term plan for my professional and financial development. And at some point in my 30’s and 40’s, “it clicked”. And I was able to gain access to higher-paying jobs because I had developed skills that were in demand.
Based on the totality of my experiences, I had learned how to solve business problems in my area of expertise. And businesses were willing to pay good money to have those problems solved.
So, I want to relate another saying that I think is very true. I heard it from several mentors and senior associates when I was younger as I tried to rise through ranks more quickly than deserved.
The saying is…
“Get the right experience and the money will follow.”
When I was younger, I disliked it when someone would tell me that. I thought it was just an excuse for not giving me a raise or offering me a promotion. But now, I think it is very true.
Remember that valuable skills are usually built throughout a career, not in just a year or two. So when it comes to work, career and money, think long term to achieve your goals.
Long term thinking is a very powerful force in our lives. Avoid short cuts and short term thinking especially as it relates to:
- Personal relationships
- Work, career, and money