Long-haul strategies


Did you know that, in Japan, they have vending machines that dispense street justice? I kid, of course. Those were banned in the 80s. However, the impulse to quickly fix whatever feels broken is timeless. This desire to right what’s wrong is a beautiful human trait—one of the better angels of our nature. Yet, it is somehow also one of the worst. In the light, this tendency can propel a shy person to stand up for a friend—or someone trapped in the cogs of an unjust system to slip a wrench into the works. The shadow version is fearsome, though. It brings us reactivity and an unquenchable desire for quick resolution. This version ignores longer time frames and complex solutions. It wants things simple and it wants them now.

Whether directly or indirectly, one of the reasons I know you is that you’re very, very good in a specific domain. So, imagine yourself sitting there with your expert hat on and generally just being smart and competent (and not incidentally, highly enjoyable). With this, our establishing shot out of the way, the action begins: someone rushes in. “You know that really complex thing that you often deal with?” they ask. “You’ll never have to worry about it again!”

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be curious in this moment. Fast, simple, permanent… these are appealing. So, you take a look and file it under due diligence. However, you do so with perspective—and a clear statistical sense of whether this solutions is, in fact, absolute bollocks. This is ideally followed by a nice lunch.

Evolutionary revolutionaries need to eat.

Here’s the hard part: complex solutions—the ones you’re probably going wind up working with—tend to require very long timelines. Let’s include thriving on that list. Here, the precise timeline is ALL of the time. At least all of your time. We look for fast fixes [because wouldn’t those be nice?] and sometimes we even find them. However, we come to see that we our energy is most often and most wisely invested in the long-term. So, the real work is to find a compass that points us in the right direction and a process that keeps us moving toward it. It doesn’t quell our anxiety, our eternal traveling companion, completely. However, it does take the edge off so that we can concentrate on the very next step.

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