The last nearly two years have been dominated by short-term thinking. With the pandemic and world changing so rapidly, most companies had to abandon long-term plans to focus on what’s right ahead of them. In our personal lives, most of us are more focused on getting through the day than working towards our long-term plans.
Short-term thinking isn’t bad, but according to Dorie Clark, author of The Long Game, we can’t live our whole lives in emergency mode. When individuals and companies are too focused on short-term thinking, we miss the chance to proactively direct our strategy and outcomes. Long-term thinking helps us take back control and get us where we want to go.
As the pandemic slowly subsides in many places, long-term thinking is making a comeback. But the adjustment from focusing only on the here and now to the bigger picture can be jarring.
Clark suggests three steps to becoming a long-term thinker:
- Create white space. You have to have mental space to be able to think long term. It is almost impossible to engage in strategic thinking if you are mentally maxed out or overwhelmed.
- Focus on the right things. Get clear about what your priorities should be. Each person needs to focus on the right things for themselves.
- Keep the faith. Nearly every long-term goal faces setbacks and challenges along the way. It’s easy to get frustrated and give up, but Clark says it’s crucial to understand where you are in the process and persevere.
Thinking long term can get us out of the rut of monotony and searching for daily balance to instead see things from a different perspective. Clark calls it thinking in waves or the idea that we don’t need to have balance every day or every week as long as we have balance eventually. There are seasons and phases to life, and long-term thinking allows us to recognize those phases and shift so that we continually improve and work towards our goals.
The pandemic has changed how we think. But even as we adjust to new ways of doing things, the ability to embrace long-term thinking and proactively take control of our lives and careers can lead to tremendous growth.
Blake Morgan is the bestselling author of The Customer of the Future. Join the new Customer Experience Community here.