For Everyone in Their 20s, Here's the Long and Short of Short and Long Term Thinking!
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For everyone in their 20s, here's the long and short of short and long-term thinking! The human brain is trained to routines. Only a few embrace the gambler's instinct. Those gamblers, yes, entrepreneurs, often need to pull in opposite directions in the short term as against the long term. Entrepreneurship is hard, real hard and you’ve got to respect the process. Ends of course, are the drivers of ambition, but the ends should not affect the means, not the process, no.
It is a delicious spectacle - this game of entrepreneurship, so fair, yet full of despair, so obvious in the day to day, yet so hard to win. This is a game of contradictions. Your actions in the macro will not map with that of the micro, and that’s okay. Let’s look at this in more detail, shall we?
Discipline & Breaking Rules
How can you break rules yet be disciplined, right? The political correctness of our world has always wanted us to follow set rules and a well ascertained path as we grow. Entrepreneurship is all but that. Yes, entrepreneurship is about throwing caution to the wind, breaking rules and forging your own path; but that is part of the macro thought. In the day to day, you have to be insanely disciplined.
The one person that fits this contrarian in my mind is tennis ace, Rafael Nadal. From the low toss and rushed jump serve to that two-handed muscled backhand, Nadal’s technique is well documented to be far from the coaching manual. And while his heavy-topspin, lofty forehand is a serious weapon, it isn’t the effortless shot that most pros own. Rafa Nadal has been defying convention from the very get. The Spanish prodigy never went to a tennis academy, switched from right handed to left handed and until recently had the same coach he did when he was a kid - Uncle Toni.
So, what is it about Nadal then that puts him amongst the very best to have played the game?
I am convinced it is his obsession for discipline & routine. It is this same love for routine that translates from his training & fitness off court to meticulously laying the bottles in perfect symmetry on court. It is around this routine that the wheels of Nadal’s game turns. Being successful contrary to popular belief stems from being boring, from following a routine every woken hour & day for years on end. This is not to say that everyone should play like Nadal, only that they should think more like him.
Patience & Speed
One of the most fascinating keynotes I have ever heard, that of popular American entrepreneur, Gary Vaynerchuk who acutely drove home the patience vs speed debate. To build something from the ground up, a real company, make a tangible difference is going to take a lot of time, it is going to take many many years, decades perhaps; and that is where the patience is needed. However, in order to get to that point of making a difference & building your 100 million $ business, you have to be super fast in the day to day.
You have to be on the ball with your calls, meetings, presentations, employees, clients and market adaptability. It is magical this — patience, once you let it sink in, it gives you such an arbitrage, such a free head space to just execute and do. With the right process, winning dare I say, seems inevitable.
“Most people overestimate what they can do in 1 year and underestimate what they can do in 10 years”—Bill Gates
It is infuriating, and a concern, to see the fascination over the short term. Long before 'startups' became conversation fillers, old school entrepreneurs put in some serious grind as they deployed patience. Financial investors are a classic example and business magnate - Warren Buffett embodies that. The razzmatazz and fanfare that the riches of entrepreneurship is such a hogwash. The riches are not wrong. The key is to ensure it is not the only show in town. The struggle, hustle, pain & insecurity must not go unnoticed.
Everything meaningful in life takes a lot of time. Everyone successful that is self-made has put in long miles in the leg. You have to respect the process. The long term has so much arbitrage; it is almost ridiculous that people don’t see it as much as they should. With everything you do, there are disproportionate returns in the long run and this thought right here, is true for business as it is life.
2018 is well upon us and on a personal note, marks my 7th year as an entrepreneur. I often find myself fortunate to be surrounded by many colleagues in their forties. I ask them, do they ever feel old? Just as I get a resounding ‘no’, and have my question shunted away, I realise that I have well over two decades until 'I still feel young’.