Long-term vs Short-term

Timelines is something I've been thinking a lot about lately. There are thousands of small decisions we make everyday and a handful of decisions we make throughout our lives which would be considered "big" such as a career choice, a career change, moving cities, buying houses or having children.

It seems to me that every decision we make is a balance between short-term thinking and long-term thinking. There's usually some trade-off in benefits/costs when you decide to take a different path and I feel like figuring out this balance is a key component to improving efficiency, productivity and happiness while reducing stress and wasting time thinking about things like this article. :)

Let me explain. When I decide to go out for some beers with friends, it's a trade off. I'm playing a hand for short-term Mike. I'm going to enjoy the beer and the conversation and the experience that night (or day) but it's a trade off for longer-term Mike. I may not feel great the next day, will be less productive, less motivated and may not go exercise. Further in the future, we know alcohol is not good for health or longevity so I'm voting against long-term Mike again.

Obviously that's a tiny decision, but it's the same with larger life moves. When I moved to NYC, I left a successful business that was stronger than it ever had been and left my nephew for a new city. I think there were short term benefits (living in the best city in the world) as well as long-term ones (401k plan, build the resume, etc) but there's also long-term downsides as I went from the uncle and chief babysitter to someone he may not even remember between infrequent visits.

Every dollar you spend on consumption is a small vote against your future financial health in exchange for short-term gain.Conversely, when you decide to save instead of, say, going on an overseas adventure, it could be stripping away from your short-term experience which could ultimately lead to long-term benefits in the form of new relationships and perspectives. Plus, there's no long-term guarantee in this life.

I'm not sure what the punch line is here, but I know this: when I make a decision I'm going to be more confident and own it. Staying in on a Friday? Yep I want to read and feel great tomorrow. Going to Vegas with friends? Yep I'm pumped to let loose and have fun. Ordering a salad at a team dinner? Yep. Taking a job in the US to travel all the time? Yep.

Balance is good in the macro setting, but in the micro, it's best to pick which timeline you're voting for and go all in.

Time to take off for a busy week. NYC to Dallas, TX for four days, then Vancouver for three days of conference, family and friends.

Thanks for reading,

Mike