Play The Long Game

We live in a world of instant gratification, and it has led to anxiety and unhappiness.

Here’s how to combat that.

Play the long game.

Long Game = Vision + Delayed Gratification

First, what is the short game? The short game is avoiding the tough battles, looking microscopically, and lacking discipline.

Examples of playing the short game:

  • Spending above your earning threshold 
  • Not prioritizing your health or relationships
  • Forming an opinion without educating yourself on the subject
  • Squeezing income out of your clients instead of building community and connections

The most successful people in any given field play the long game from athletes to musicians and entrepreneurs. 

They are often overlooked or looked down upon, but ignore the doubt because they know what they are building towards.

Peter Kaufman says, “If you do what everyone else is doing, you shouldn’t be surprised to get the same results everyone else is getting.”

Surround yourself with those you aspire to be like, and take their advice, not the family member who has a life you don’t want.

So how do you turn on this long-term mindset?

First, you have to find your heroes. Who do you want to be like when you “grow up”.

Then you have to answer 4 main questions:

  1. What are you good at?
  2. What do you love?
  3. What does the world need?
  4. What can you be paid for?

The Japanese call this Ikigai, and it goes deeper into each of these. 

Passion = Skill + Love

Profession = Skill + Money

Vocation = Money + Contribution

Mission = Love + Contribution

This doesn’t mean you aren’t focused on small tasks. You just need to break your big goal into smaller more accomplishable daily tasks to help plan for the future.

How does this affect the short term?

  • Leave a social event early to make sure you get proper sleep
  • Choose a healthier food option even though others are eating junk
  • Read a book to learn new communication skills to maintain relationships
  • Create a budget you can afford

Not everything is about money, but you have to respect money’s role in life. In the startup world, money is oxygen. Think about it this way. If you saved just enough money to cover rent for an additional month or two, you have that many more hours to study and develop your skill.

The more you admire your future self, the easier short decisions become.