Take the Long View - it works
Wealth and prosperity often requires that you take the long view. Success in any endeavor requires a long view of things.
I always get a little uneasy when I hear people say "I'm taking it one day at a time." That suggests to me that this person finds themselves in a situation that is untenable or overwhelming to them.
Typically I ask myself questions. Didn't they see it coming? Did they create it themselves? Did they let it happen to themselves? How did they get sucked into this situation?
The big question for me is simply, "Was this mess part of their plans?" Or, perhaps they didn't have a plan to start with.
Imagine how Henry Ford must have thought about his automobile business. He had to think broadly as well as far into the future. It wasn't just a car he was building. He had to have tires, glass, lubricants and fuel.
And don't forget, he needed roads and "filling stations" too.
How in the world can you start an enterprise like that, when there are so many inter-related pieces of the puzzle? How can you build a product that "puts the world on wheels?" There is only one way, you must take a longer look into the future.
A Key to Success - financial or otherwise
Lack of a long view is often how we fail in terms of money management, and make no mistake, starting a car company is a huge exercise in money management. There is an old saying that if you "fail to plan, you plan to fail". It's a clever saying that holds a lot of truth.
I've always been big on planning. It helps me know what to do when need arises.
An important part of managing money is to take the long view of things. In other words, we need to be able to see into the future a few years or even a decade or two. Understandably, the longer the view, the more difficult it is to assign specifics. Twenty years from now can be really fuzzy even with the best crystal ball.
Another thing that makes long view planning more difficult is where you are in life. If you're just starting out, it may be difficult to see where you are headed because your interests may not have fully materialized. If you take the long view, it might be 5 years out at the most.
If you're a seasoned individual with clear interests and activities, then you might be able to project the future for 10 years or more, and you'll probably be better at being prepared for it too. This makes a big difference in your chances of success when it comes to managing money.
Typical Job and Money Decisions
We all make decisions about our jobs and the money we earn. In each case, we're either taking a longer view of things, we aren't "looking beyond our nose," or we're doing something in between.
When you think about taking the long view, consider the following decision points:
- job or career
- spend or save
- simply save or invest
- invest in others or yourself
- hold tight or take a chance
- advance, stay put, retreat or withdraw entirely
The whole idea of a long view has to do with "time horizons." In other words, the distance over the horizon that you can "see" with some clarity.
Sailors in the ancient world wouldn't lose sight of the shore because they didn't know where they were or what was out there in the big ocean. They couldn't see over the horizon.
If they could have seen islands or land masses in the distance, then they would have been encouraged to sail in that direction. That's just what we're doing when we take the long view. We are charting a course to a destination because we know it's there.
It's there because our plans are in place and we're going to make it materialize.
If we don't take the long view, we'll be spending our money for today, and not planning for tomorrow. When tomorrow comes, which it always does, we won't be as prepared as we could have been.
Chart a financial course for yourself and stay the course. It's your voyage and your ship, so don't blow it by looking just to the immediate future. Take the long view.
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