Long term thinking improves short term decision making,
All successful people think long-term when planning their goals and deciding on daily tasks. That’s how they manage time successfully, avoid time-wasters, stop doing low-level and time-consuming activities and maximize results.
“Superior thinkers have the ability to accurately predict the consequences of doing or not doing a task.”
Before taking action, we need to know how important a task is, should we do it or not, does it fall into the 20% vital or 80% trivial (talked about that in previous vodcast)? A superior thinker carefully evaluates the potential consequence of a task before working on it. Is it beneficial to my company and personal life or not?
This theory is supported by Dr. Edward Banfield of Harvard University. After 50 years of research, he concluded that the long-time perspective is the most important and accurate way to predict who in the US is moving up socially and economically.
Long-time perspective is more important than:
- Family background
In other words, nothing is more important in determining success in business and life.
My attitude toward time (or my time horizon) has the biggest impact on my choices and behavior! In order for me to be more successful in life and business I have to adopt a long term view. If I do, this guarantees that I make better decisions about my time and my activities than those who don’t. Successful people have a clear focus on the future, 5, 10, 20 years down the road, always asking: is what I’m doing today consistent with the future I desire?
This means that something that we consider important must have long-term potential POSITIVE consequences.
If a task doesn’t have long term positive consequences, it is unimportant and should not take up our time. This means – before starting a task – we need to know what the potential consequences of doing or NOT doing the task is.
Successful people are willing to make sacrifices, go without certain things, so that they can enjoy far greater rewards in the long term. This is not easy to do, especially living in an instant gratification society, but everyone who’s made sacrifices for a greater good can appreciate this. Denis Waitley, a motivational speaker, says, “Losers try to escape from their fears and drudgery with activities that are tension- relieving. Winners are motivated by their desires toward activities that are goal-achieving.”
Once we develop that long term focus, clarity on the future we desire and WHY we desire it, motivation follows.
Because motivation requires a motive, if we are clear about the motive and the positive consequences of our action in light of our desired future, we develop the motivation needed to keep our attention and focus on continually starting and completing those tasks that can make a major difference to our company and life in the future. Continually thinking about the potential consequences of our decisions, actions and behaviors determines our true priorities in business and personal life.