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(The Not So Obvious) Why Put First The Long-term Before The Short-Term

(The Not So Obvious) Why Put First The Long-term Before The Short-Term

By default, we're all about the results.

We rush from point 0 to 1, just to see the end of it. And we like to operate this way in anything we do.

I can think of countless examples of such behavior in my own endeavors.

Think of a gym: When you go there for the first time, you want to advance from laugh-worthy weights to big guns, as quickly as possible.

When learning a new skill, it's tempting to skip over the basics *(what a waste of time, right?)* and start doing the "serious" stuff.

While it's all so tempting, it's also the fastest way to complete bust.

More: This is a perfect example of sacrificing short-term returns over long-term returns.

And even though we often do not optimize our actions for the long-term returns, that is, in fact, what we really want to achieve.

Let's head back to the gym and skill learning examples.

You go to the gym to, most likely, get buffed or to lose weight (and get buffed afterward). This is a long-term return. You don't just go to the gym, get fit once and stop.

The same goes for the skill.

No man wants to perfect playing football for one game and stop doing it after the final whistle.

The rule of sustainability > intensity applies not only to our lives but also to higher-level ventures such as countries and their economy.

Recently, I learned that there are 8 times more cashmere goats in Mongolia than people living in the country. And, just for the record, there are around 3.3m people living in Mongolia which means there are around 27m cashmere goats living there!

Mongolia, as a result, equals up to 40% of the global supply of Cashmere.

While it may sound like Mongolia found their golden ~~cow~~ goat, such a big number of animals destroyed the country's environment and it quickly became clear that Mongolia created an unsustainable process that promoted short-term returns (quick buck) over long-term returns (less income now, steady income stream).

The whole problem lays in the lack of satisfaction in delayed rewards.

Being able to accept a delayed reward is no other than saying OK to getting two dollars after waiting for two hours instead of getting nothing but a dollar now.

And if we manage to look at our lives from the perspective of, let's say, 10 years ahead - we'll see a clear benefit of spreading the process over time.

Why relearn the skill for the occasion if we can master it during the same period?

Why hit the gym once and train so hard you can't lift your arms for a week if you could go there three times during the same period? *(Yup, I did it a couple of years back...)*

Of course, the intensity is very important in our actions.

We have to know which actions to execute with low and high intensity and when to do so.

Balance is the key and picking the right method for the right moment is the answer.

After all:

Life-long learner > short-term gainer