Always consider the long-term consequences of your short-term decisions

An entrepreneur must have a long-term perspective.

Generally, a business is not built in a year. It could take five years. It could take 10 years. It depends on the type of business you’re building, as well as how big you want to build it. Beyond that, it depends on whether you want to sell it or keep active in it in some capacity.

Keeping a long-term perspective enables you to make better decisions today. Since today is all we have, it would be better to make good decisions today as opposed to poor decisions.

Making poor short-term decisions can impact the progress you make. For instance, loading up your credit card with a trip to Hawaii might seem like a good idea today. Having to pay for the trip when you get back might not be as much fun. It could negatively impact the financial future of your business.

I’m not suggesting entrepreneurs don’t need breaks. Far from it. At the rate most business owners work, I believe it’s important to take some vacation time every six to eight months. If you don’t have your health, you don’t have a business. And, if you have a fully systematized business that can run without you, then what in the world are you burning yourself out for?

But here, too, I see many entrepreneurs on extreme ends of the spectrum. Some are “living it up” today, not thinking about the costs and debts they’re incurring. On the other end, we have people selling the idea that you need to be working 14- to 16-hour days to even be considered an entrepreneur.

Both are shortsighted. The entrepreneurs who are constantly partying, drinking, doing drugs and trying to assuage their boredom aren’t fully engaged in their business and are sure to suffer long-term financial consequences for their actions. Those who are always hustling are going to pay a price with their health, and again, without your health, there may not be a business.

I’ve witnessed entrepreneurs who’ve tried to do both — work hard and party hard at the same time. You know what happened? They lost their health and they’re constantly stressed out about their financial future. They end up paying a high price to fix their health too.

There’s a time for letting your hair down, and there’s a time for working hard to make your dream a reality. But being out of balance on either side for too long can be devastating for your wellbeing and your business.

The message of The Tortoise and the Hare is not “slow and steady wins the race”. It’s steady wins the race!

To be steady means to be consistent. Consistency means to diligently apply yourself to a worthy ideal for the same amount of time daily.

A short-term perspective says that’s not enough. That won’t allow me to make the type of progress I want to make. I’ll never catch momentum.

A long-term perspective says momentum will come from doing the work. A long-term perspective says I will be far more effective if I don’t burn myself out. If I can wake up day after day and apply myself to my work, I will reach my goals. It may not happen right away, but it will happen.

It’s impossible to make great decisions 100% of the time. After all, we’re all human and we make mistakes.

Think of it this way. Making good decisions is like adding money to your bank account. Making bad decisions is like subtracting money from your bank account. If most of the decisions you make are positive, your bank balance will also be positive.

The Compound Effect is at work whether we’re aware of it or not. Working out today may not do much for you. You may not see any results from working out for a month. But give it a few months or even a year. You will see a difference.

When you think about it, every decision is short-term. So, make good decisions, because it will impact the long-term.

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