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Play the long game

  • Transactional conversations
  • Checking stocks
  • Plowing through Email

Checking the box on everyday tasks is immediately gratifying but does nothing to contribute to long-term goals.

Speed undercuts the long game and distracts from what’s most important.

Seth Godin reminds us to remain cautious of the snackable short-term tasks:

“Two thoughts:

a. Keep them separate. The best way to avoid long-term work is to be exposed to juicy short-term urgencies.

b. Hesitate before spending your most alert and dedicated work time on the short-term tasks.”

Jeff Bezos plays the long game which he cautions is a lonely endeavor. “Inventing and pioneering requires being misunderstood for long periods of time,” Bezos told HBR in 2013. The Amazon founder wants to put an atomic clock in the middle of the desert.

Futurist Elon Musk also wants to take people to Mars.

In a more practical example, Tim Ferris advises playing the long game and be patient on a return of relationship (ROR) when it comes to networking.

What’s your long game?

Admission: I’m not quite sure what my long-term goal is yet, so I tend to get distracted by the small things. But I do think there’s something in publishing on this blog every day. As Godin so wisely notes, all the believing and practice will lead to something: “Drip, drip, drip, it adds up.”

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By Wells Baum

Wells Baum is a daily blogger who writes about Life & Arts. He's also the author of and four books.