We overestimate what we can accomplish in one day. And we underestimate what we can accomplish in one year.
Have you heard that?
What do you think you could accomplish in a century?
Ladies & Gentlemen
Remember that song, Wear Sunscreen?
It was a commencement speech set to music offering the Class of 1999 advice on life. And I’ve got a soft spot for commencement speeches and life advice. Most of my friends hated that song, but I loved it.
I know, I know.
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, it wouldn’t be sunscreen-related, it would be this:
Play the long game.
What’s that mean?
The Game of Life
It means looking towards your future when making decisions today. It means behaving like the stock market. Ups, downs, bubbles and bursts, but always, always, on the upward trajectory.
It means having a one-year plan, a five-year plan, and a ten-year plan.
And a hundred-year plan.
It means thinking about and writing your own obituary, and filling in the blanks by working backwards from the tombstone to today.
It means focus on building lasting relationships.
It means clients, not customers.
It means everyone you meet teaches you something, even if it’s only an example of what not to do.
It means constantly asking yourself questions like, “Will this matter in five years? In five days?” If the question is no, don’t worry about it. And start doing things that make you answer “yes” to these questions.
It means taking huge risks now if you’re not headed in the right direction.
It means saving for a rainy day (or year). Cash is king, now and in the future.
It means building a kingdom, watching it burn to the ground, and being thankful for the air in your lungs, and fire in your belly, to build again.
It means keeping your eyes on the horizon, keeping your focus on the main thing, and letting it be the setting sun you chase.
It means seasons, cycles, phases. A time to work. A time to rest. A time to plant. And a time to uproot.
The Long Tale
Too many of us are crippled by the minutiae of day-to-day decisions when they don’t matter. Not in the long game. Most of what we worry about does not matter.
Until it does.
Worry about it then.
You might have a hundred years left to live.
Or you might have one.
But why bet on the latter, like so many of us do?
The truth is, the game is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself.
And remember two principles, long gamer:
- This, too, shall pass; and
- Good things, the best things, come to those who wait.
Here’s something Apollo Creed didn’t tell you:
There is a tomorrow. And many more, for most of us lucky ones.