What is a Long Term Person?

I was looking through old entries came across the one that led to the series of thoughts that ultimately led to my book on goal management and long term productivity. Thought I would re-post the entry here.


As one of my favorite bloggers, it is not a rare occurrence when Seth Godin makes me think about the world a little differently. In his post this morning , he did the opposite, which is perhaps more profound:

He confirmed how I already viewed the world.

Godin argues that:

The interim is forever, so perhaps it makes sense to… act in the interim as we expect to act in the long haul.

According to Godin, new organizations detrimentally overemphasize the short-term over the long-term, and in doing so, never grow into the organization they endeavor to become.

During the “interim” stage, path dependency sets in, a culture develops, and the short-term strategy becomes entrenched. What was intended to be only short-term becomes long-term.

In other words:

A company that cuts corners and cuts throats at its onset will be a company that cuts corners and cuts throats five, ten, fifty years down the road.

I believe this applies to people as well:

Who you are now is a determinant of who you will be tomorrow.

Productivity “scholars” often argue that you should focus on ONE THING. In other words, you should focus on one goal at a time. But isn’t that a short-term strategy?

I want to succeed in my new position and grow my new company — and that is where most of my time and energy goes.

But I have other goals: I want to write a book, and I want to grow this blog. According to some, I should forget about them. They are, indeed, “secondary” goals.

But what if writing the book or growing this blog is always a secondary goal? I would never do either.

As I see it, if I want to be a person who is an active entrepreneur and writer-of-all-things, I have to be that person now, not down the road.

The road is too uncertain for that.

The “FOCUS ON ONE THING” advice is based on the assumption that time and energy are zero-sum. However, I have realized that this is not necessarily true. 

Writing my book or this blog- — even though I only spend one Pomodoro a day on each — energizes me for my other important tasks.

Three goals that should, in theory, conflict with one another… don’t.


Thanks for the book, Seth. If you hadn’t written that blog post, I wouldn’t have written my book. I can only hope to carry it forward. 

The book, Long Term Person, Short Term World is available on Amazon. You can visit my blog, follow me on Twitter, and read my stories on Medium.



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