The long run is simply a collection of short terms. The long term is a fiction. No one lives in the long term; there really is only the now.
Everyone talks about the long term as if it was something great and the short term as if it was were the land of the foolish. Let me assure you it is not.
The short term is where it is at.
Short-term thinking does not disregard the long term. When you recognize that the short terms add up to the the long term, you incorporate your enduring values of ethics, rigor, client service, innovation, transparency into the short term.
But you can only make an impact in the short term because you only live in the now. We are responsible for our business future, but we can only impact that future by the hustle and work we do each day.
I love the quote by Keynes: “In the long run, we are all dead.”
If there is something that needs to be accomplished, devote 1 to 3 hours to it now. Time yourself. You will be blown away by how much analysis, deck writing, client issue resolution can be accomplished in 60 minutes of NOW work. Don’t schedule a meeting, grab someone NOW.
Things people allow weeks to accomplish are often weeks of delay and “finding the right time,” followed by 3 hours of work.
We are all competing to innovate and build a businesses in markets that do not stand still. A month is both a lifetime to accomplish things or the blink of an eye if we stand still.
Hope is not a strategy. Hoping for a deal to close is not a strategy. Hustle is a strategy, more cold but researched outreach, new case studies, new materials, fixing a pricing models is a strategy. It’s also daily hustle.
Incumbents think about strategy and the long term until they are out of business.
Entrepreneurs and innovators grind each day and work incredibly fast in the short term in the context of an overriding set of goals and direction.
It’s no coincidence, the best companies/entrepreneurs believe things like:
- “Done is better than perfect” — Facebook
- “Real artists ship” — Steve Jobs/Apple
Originally published at www.linkedin.com on February 3, 2015.