Three habits to master long-term thinking – Big Think

What Is An HO-3 Homeowners Insurance Policy? – ValuePenguin

The following is adapted from The Long Game: How to be a long-term thinker in a short-term world by Dorie Clark (Harvard Business Review Press, September 2021) and is reprinted with permission of the author.

Nearly everyone agrees that strategic thinking is important: 97% of senior executives in a study of 10,000 people said being strategic was critical to the future success of their organization.

Reading: How to think long term

but, in practice, actually doing it – carving out time to think long-term in the midst of urgency and dealing with criticism from stakeholders who want quicker short-term results – is profoundly difficult.

in fact, jeff bezos, architect of hugely profitable long-term innovations like amazon web services and amazon prime, pointed out that much of amazon’s success stems from the fact that its competitors operate on a much shorter time frame than they. “If everything you do has to work in a three-year time horizon,” he told Wired magazine in 2011, “then you’re competing against a lot of people. But if you’re willing to invest over a seven-year time horizon, you’re now competing against a fraction of those people, because very few companies are willing to do that. simply by lengthening the time horizon, you can engage in endeavors you might never otherwise undertake.”

As it happens, the same principle that holds true in business applies to our own lives and careers, a perspective I examined in my new book, The Long-Term Game: How to Be a Long-Term Thinker in a Future. world in the short term.

Most of us, to tell you the truth, are not ambitious enough. Sure, we can let loose with wild dreams: I have several friends who have announced that “I want to be Oprah one day!” but when it comes to making concrete plans to make it happen, we become timid. we also live in terror that our plans may change. What if I’m wrong? What if it doesn’t work?

The truth is that none of us have perfect information. With time and experience, you may learn new things about yourself and your skills and preferences, or about the business. You certainly don’t have to follow the same plan for seven years, no matter what. but engaging in long-term planning allows you to think big and adapt when necessary.

“I decided about five years ago that when I retire, I want to live in a cabin on a lake in a nice town and be a part-time trainer,” samantha fowlds told me. She is a Canadian executive and a member of the renowned expert course and community that she runs for professionals looking to grow their platform and make a bigger impact. “I realized that if I want that dream to come true in 20 years, I have to start now to have a solid foundation. So, three years ago, I got my professional trainer designation and now have clients from time to time while I go about my day job.”

unlike samantha, most people never think that far ahead. they want something now and get angry or frustrated when it doesn’t show up right away. but the good things, of course, are the ones you have to plan and work for.

At the end of the day, what it takes most to become a long-term thinker is character.

It’s the courage to carve your own path, without the reassurance of doing exactly what everyone else in the crowd is doing.

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is the willingness to look like a failure, sometimes for long periods, because it takes time to show results.

and it’s the strength to hang on and persist, even when you yourself aren’t sure how it will turn out.

three habits to master long-term thinking

There are three habits of mind worth cultivating especially on your journey as a long-term thinker.

independence. Ultimately, long-term thinking is about staying true to yourself and your vision. in our society, there is a lot of pressure to please people in the short term: say yes to one more commitment because you don’t want to let anyone down, or accept the “great job” that everyone admires, but that leaves you feeling dead inside. /p>

When you act long-term, it can take a long time before it pays off, and if you’re looking for external validation, the wait can be devastating. Instead, to become fearless long-term thinkers, we need an internal compass that says: I’m willing to gamble regardless of what anyone else thinks, and I’m willing to do the work.

curiosity. Some people are content to live their lives according to the roadmap that others have laid out for them, without questioning or weighing alternatives. But for many of us, a life of coloring within the lines can feel empty, especially if our interests don’t align perfectly with what society values. we may not know the exact right path for ourselves (who knows, at first?), but one quality that can lead us to it is curiosity. By looking closely at how we choose to spend our free time and understanding who and what we find most fascinating, we can get clues about what lights us up and where, eventually, we can start making our contribution.

resilience. doing something new, something unique, is by definition experimental. You have no idea if it will work or not, and many times it won’t. too many of us experience rejection or failure and immediately back off, assuming that the publisher who rejected us was the ultimate arbiter of taste, or that the university that rejected us obviously knew what they were doing. but that’s just not true.

chance, luck, and random individual preferences play a critical role in how situations play out.

If 100 people reject your work, that’s a pretty clear message.

but one or two or 10? you haven’t even started.

Becoming a long-term thinker requires a foundation of resilience, because it’s rare for something to work out the first time, or the way you originally envisioned it.

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You need to have a plan b (or c, or d, or e, or f) in your back pocket, and the resilience to say, “well, that didn’t work, so let’s try something else.” the number of at-bats is the crucial variable in your success.

we all have the ability to hone our skills, develop new techniques, and become better long-term thinkers.

In the short term, what gets praise (from family, peers, social media) is doing what’s predictable. the steady job, the beach vacation, the nice new car.

It’s easy to get carried away.

no one gives you credit for doing what is slow, difficult and invisible. sweating that book chapter, doing that colleague a favor, writing that newsletter.

but we can’t just optimize in the short term and assume that will automatically translate into long-term success. we have to be willing to do hard, laborious, and unrewarding things today, the kinds of things that make little sense in the short term, so that we can enjoy exponential results in the future.

We have to be willing to be patient.

not patient in a passive, “let things happen to you” way, but actively and vigorously patient: willing to deny yourself the easy way out so you can do what is meaningful.

results will not be visible tomorrow, when the difference may be imperceptible.

but it will be in five or ten or 30 years, when you will have created the future that you have always wanted. big goals often seem (and, frankly, are) impossible in the short term. but with small, methodical steps, almost anything is possible.

dorie clark is a marketing strategy consultant who teaches at duke university’s fuqua school of business and has been named one of the world’s top 50 business thinkers by thinkers50. she is the author of the long game, she undertakes you, reinvents you and highlights you. she can receive her free long game strategic thinking self-assessment from her.

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