In our early days, we only respond to stimulus and to our survival instincts. This is the condition that defines our starting point in this life. As soon as we start growing up, our brain gains the capability to self-control our behaviors and emotions but there is one thing that we continue to respond as newborns, to the risk. Human nature is always avoiding risk, making decisions based on that risk avoidance but we are very bad at predicting risk and taking actions to avoid them. It’s normal for someone that drives fast, only reduce the driving speed after a car crash because at that point he realized the effective risk of driving fast.
Humans are always looking for short-term solutions to immediate problems. The risks and future problems that may arise are very hard to see, and so people prefer to solve problems that give immediate benefit. That’s why people tend to think mainly in short-term rather long-term.
There is no problem with short term thinking and there are a lot of success behind it but we need to balance it with long-term thinking, besides the extreme difficulty to do that. If a short term and common approach to our problems is adopted, we are always producing small incremental changes and trying to catch the ones that are leading and doing things with a lot of impact, the long-term thinkers.
The impact and consequences of thinking more in short-term rather in long-term are everywhere. In your job, if you think short you will always be looking for a job with a better salary and conditions than the previous one. With that approach, you will not invest in yourself, education and skills, and you will not want a job that could not be the best today but will best a great one in the future. If you see, the majority of top performers in the job are people who are not looking for money or short term conditions. Instead, their commitment to the job gives them future returns.
In your company, if we think mainly in short term, we are always worried about the money to pay next week salaries and forget the company strategy. Without noticing it, we enter in a “doing always the same” spiral and start to fight for survival instead of fighting for growth and development.
In your daily life, thinking short and forget to cultivate our relationships with our friends and family, could leave us alone in the future. With our health, avoiding some good habits today will certainly have a disastrous ending in the future.
The human condition is predefined for the short-term so it’s not easy to have a strategic long-term thinking in our mind all the time. I use a couple of things that help me achieve that. One of them is a set of long-term goals that are the foundations of my monthly and weekly goals. Based on them I construct my daily life and objectives.
Like me that have some faraway aspirations of success in the future, I hope you want it also for you and understand the importance of a balanced short/long term balanced life to achieve it.