The long-term mentality is not popular in modern life and possibly has not been so throughout history. However, it is the safest way to achieve goals that people and organizations set. This is so for a powerful reason: the long-term mentality always operates with time in its favor.
There is no better ally (or worse enemy), than time. Before him all the resources that individuals have pale. He marches at his pace in an impassive, ruthless and unforgiving way. Its power raises one of two options: it faces its energy or takes advantage of it.
«Everything heals, accommodates and resolves over time.»
This is a statement that people understand well and accept. However, in addition to this, it is not a premise that they put into practice when it comes to setting goals and achieving them.
The human being worships immediate retribution, instant response. He has a short-term mentality that responds to an unconscious hedonism, the insecurity he possesses and all the fears that possess him. People recognize their mortality, the short time their experiences will have on this earth. That is why they strive to reach their goals quickly. However, they do not realize that this equally affects the effectiveness and efficiency of the processes.
The effectiveness of the short-term mentality is precarious by nature. The proportion of successes in relation to the attempts is reduced. In the short term the successes are always smaller than the failures.
On the other hand, in a process governed by the short-term criterion, efficiency is struck by disorder, excessive investment of energy and a heavy burden of psychological factors: anxiety, frustration, saturation, exhaustion, etc.
Processes that are guided by short-term premises are less likely to succeed and are more expensive.
The energy required is large. It must be applied with emphasis on short periods of time. That on the one hand. On the other, energy must also cover the costs of failures that occur.
Statistically, the probability of failure is always greater as long as the time to measure the result is shorter. To the extent that there is more time to evaluate the results, failure becomes a more manageable variable.
What are the recommendations that the short-term mentality issues for the treatment of failure ?: accept it, understand it, overcome it, take advantage of it, etc. It does not emphasize the possibility of AVOIDING it. He lives with failure and works all the techniques to be able to process it benignly.
The long-term mentality, on the other hand, is aimed at avoiding failure by taking time as an ally.
How does the long-term mentality operate?
1.- Address the treatment of objectives without PREMURA.-
This means no sense of urgency or haste to reach them. And this should not be confused with dissatisfaction because it is pure and powerful strategic sense. The reason is simple: every process can be classified as urgent or important, and if it is treated in one way it cannot be the other.
The urgent must be treated promptly, of course, but the very sense of urgency (which has so much of «emergency») is not something that is desirable. On the other hand, when one does not work with “urgencies” (in any type of process), the treatment of the important arises, which is a qualitatively superior state.
When discarding haste, the long-term mentality automatically places itself in the treatment of the important, and thus optimizes the use of time.
People do not perceive that the short-term mentality tends to generate urgencies everywhere. And they don’t realize that the demands of it cause more time wasting than there would have been with a long-term vision.
Who wants to be effective in dealing with their objectives should address the important and avoid the uncontrolled emergence of emergencies.
Everyone must recognize that the quality of decisions (in whatever way) is always greater when there is no haste.
You live in a culture that mystifies the ability of people to make decisions «under pressure» and be expedited. It is implied that «time is money» and cannot be wasted. But problems and failures associated with haste are harvested, and with them irremediable waste of time.
2.- The long-term mentality is conservative.-
It does not mean that it does not risk, because finally taking risks is an imperative of evolution. But it does so by keeping, respecting and protecting the interests involved, especially the most important ones.
The logic of «saving» involves not compromising all the resources or measures available in a single effort.
The sense of «respect» is linked to the nature of the risk. Not to underestimate it, to evaluate carefully and conscientiously all the variables that will be involved in the process.
And finally, the premise of “protect” refers to all the actions that must be established to take care of the good state of the objectives, resources and efforts that are invested.
Military strategists always refer to their «reserves» when they undertake their tasks and objectives. They never expose all their resources in the contest. They keep some of them with the purpose of responding to negative or positive eventualities, because in the first case “reserves” can avoid failure and in the second case guarantee victory. The short-term mentality tends to liquidate “reserves” very soon, because, among other things, it assumes that the time is short to achieve the purposes.
Winners never avoid risk, but respect it. They don’t ignore it or underestimate it, they just respect it. Decisions made quickly do not have a deference to risk, rather they increase it.
Finally, the «protection» of objectives and resources refers to the need to make forecasts. The long-term mentality does it profusely. And it does not assume the risk of losing competitive opportunities or advantages. Forecasts should exist when important things are addressed, either in the form of alternative courses of action, appropriate information, additional resources, minor objectives, protection of the starting point, etc.
3.- The long-term mentality fully understands what Investment means.
There is no benefit if it is not invested first. This is clear to the long-term mentality. And the main investment that privileges is time, curiously the most valuable of all the factors that can be invested.
The short-term mentality does not favor the investment of time in the same way as other factors. In reality, and by logic, it is the least invested. In doing so ignores the benefits that the most valuable of man’s resources can provide.
While the short-term mentality assumes that there is a «waste of time» when the processes are longer than expected, the long-term mentality understands that the «benefits» will be greater the longer it is invested.
Now, don’t confuse things. The reference to investment of time has nothing to do with dysfunctions that may exist in the processes, that is, failures as a result of bad management.
The long-term mentality controls the investment of time, manages it in its entirety, makes it a factor that enriches the process. The “waste of time” due to bad management are equal in the consideration of the short or long term.
People carefully invest money and other elements, overcome reluctance and resentment, but have a strong sense of scarcity when it comes to investing time, especially if it does not involve immediate retribution. They are not clear about the concept. They understand very little the fact that investing time consciously is the best way to avoid their own waste. Because time passes the same in all cases, but plays in favor when it is not a self-imposed limitation.
You have to be a skilled person to generate benefits in the short term, but whoever manages to successfully manage the magic inscribed in long-term processes is a teacher.
4.- The long-term mentality always obtains greater benefits in the short term.
The reason is obvious: what for the short-term mentality are goals not achieved, for the long term are disputed goals.
When one mentality assumes that the game is over (successfully or not), the other understands that there is still time left to continue accumulating achievements. While some have to deal with failures (objectives not achieved), the others must do so with means that continue to operate in pursuit of achievements over time.
Can a football team be defeated if a score fits within 30 minutes of play? Only if you consider that the party has that extension of time. But if the 90 minutes must be played, a goal against it does not determine the result.
Can a football team assume that it is out of the championship title dispute if it has lost or tied 10 of the 30 games that the contest has? Only if you consider that the 10 games is the total extension of the championship. Otherwise it will assume the inconvenience only as part of the process.
This logic refers to the virtue of the long-term mentality. As time is longer, so are the opportunities.
5.- In the long term the benefits are always greater.-
The human mind focuses on an objective according to the commands given to it. If in a process that has a scale from 1 to 10, the objective is set to 3, the mental focus and articulation of actions are directed there. Then, when resources are reorganized to pursue goal 6, everything must start over. It is different if the initial objective is 10. Because the mind focuses on the major objective and goes through previous stages (3 and 6), as part of a process that is executed successfully.
A more prosaic example can be illustrated with money. If the objective is to accumulate profits of one million, the first 100,000 that are obtained are a rung of the ladder. On the other hand, if 100,000 are considered the primary objective, the million remains a diffuse milestone. And what happens if the first 100,000 have difficulty in reaching? For the short term criterion it will be a probable failure, while for the long term it will be a difficulty.
However, can focusing on the long term leave the intermediate objectives “blurred” in the same way that happens in the opposite case? The answer is no. Objectives and action are not the same. The action always occurs here and now, the objectives are raised at discretion. Who works with long-term goals does not stop acting right now. But the action is of higher quality as long as it must not face the rigors of a merciless factor: time.
6.- In emotional terms the long-term mentality saves energy.-
Reduce anxiety and frustration. This is not a little, because it clarifies and optimizes the judgment. Finally, this is all about the processes to achieve objectives. The common denominator is energy. This is even more important than time, because it guarantees the activity.
Life is a endurance race, not a speed test. Not even for those who favor immediate competitiveness. Performance is always a function of the individual, and it is better as long as the individual is better.
The short term is more likely to emotionally punish people and therefore overrides any competitive potential, present or future. Who walks looking at his feet with the idea of not stumbling, loses perspective, risks walking in circles and without north. Who walks with the view anchored on the horizon may stumble, but will go further.
The long-term mentality is a close companion of wisdom.
It is a measure of qualification of the self-confident man, of being patient who does not mortgage his potential based on mirages of immediate transcendence. It is a recognition to the march of the turtle of the fable that wins the test because the hare runs out prematurely.
The economist John M. Keynes said: «In the long term we will all be dead.» And there is no way to discuss that. Therefore, it is about living in the present without it, every moment, looking like an advance of the end. Short-term expectations are, many times, a premature experience of that final that awaits us all in the long term.