How to Do Long Term

Long-term thinking is easier to believe in than accomplish.

Most people know it’s the right strategy in investing, careers, relationships – anything that compounds. But saying “I’m in it for the long run” is a bit like standing at the base of Mt. Everest, pointing to the top, and saying, “That’s where I’m heading.” Well, that’s nice. Now comes the test.

Long term is harder than most people imagine, which is why it’s more lucrative than many people assume. Everything worthwhile has a price, and the prices aren’t always obvious. The real price of long term – the skills required, the mentality needed – is easy to minimize, often summarized with simple phrases like “be more patient,” as if that explains why so many people can’t.

To do long term effectively you have to come to terms with a few points.

1. The long run is just a collection of short runs you have to put up with.

Saying you have a 10-year time horizon doesn’t exempt you from all the nonsense that happens during the next 10 years. Everyone has to experience the recessions, the bear markets, the meltdowns, the surprises and the memes at the same time.

So rather than assuming long-term thinkers don’t have to deal with nonsense, the question becomes how can you endure a neverending parade of nonsense.

Long-term thinking can be a deceptive safety blanket that people assume lets them bypass the painful and unpredictable short run. But it never does. It might (Read more...)