Many of us make short-term decisions right now. Totally understandable given the chaos around us. However, we have a number of wicked problems. When we only think for the short-term, we make decisions that don’t solve those wicked problems. We need to use long-term thinking to influence our short-term decisions.
You might wonder about where I want to be in 50 years. I might not literally be around in 50 years. However, my books, and possibly some of my self-study classes will be. Which is why I continue to write.
You might not want to write books. However, we have many societal problems we need to address:
- We have terrific opportunities with cost-effective fuels that don’t create greenhouse gases and automation. As we transition to new fuels and automation, how do we create a society that supports people who have “old energy” jobs now?
- What do we do about the current lack of privacy and cybersecurity? I am sure we have options.
- How do we support people who have been punished by the pandemic? (See Pandemic Disproportionately Affects Women, Minority Labor Force Participation and Here’s How the Pandemic Is Affecting Women’s Careers and see the employment stats in Low on Workers, Manufacturers Recruit Their Executives for the Factory Floor. If you encounter a paywall, the stats say that ” U.S. labor force fell in 2020 to mid-1970s levels, a time when less than half of women participated in the labor force.”
We got some wicked problems. We need a combination of short-term and long-term innovation to help us solve these problems.
Think Big and Small & Near and Far
We can create big audacious goals (Big and Far), and take daily actions to achieve them (Small and Near). In fact, if we want to be someplace great in 50 years, we need to do both.
For example, if I want to write more books, I need to maintain my word count and finish projects. My word count doesn’t need to be huge. What’s important is my daily streak—my ability to maintain forward progress every day. I also can’t just start new projects. (Yes, I do have shiny object syndrome.) I choose what to do and what not to do.
That means I work to maintain a small but mighty daily word count. (If you use an agile approach to your project, you’ll recognize this as a series of one-day stories.)
That’s how I’ve written hundreds of blog posts here and on my other blog. And, how I write books and articles. Not a ton of words every day. Words every day in service of my goal.
Here’s how I do this for my writing:
- Create short-term goals to explore an idea in blog or article form.
- List all the books I want to write.
- Start exploring ideas, often in my blog, so I can see what I think.
- Offer talks so I get feedback from other people and advance my thinking.
We can do something similar to solve our society’s wicked problems.
Even if you don’t know where you want to be in 50 years, could you choose some kind of goal? Yes, maybe the best time you should have started was 5, 10, 20 or more years ago.
The next best time is today.
That’s why the question this week is: Where do you want to be long-term, say in 50 years?