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Journal

Play the long game

Delayed Gratification, Life, Learning

What Is The Short Game?

The goal should be delayed gratification when it comes to success. And, if we want to discuss the long game, it’s probably best to define the short game. Playing life in the short term means looking for immediate rewards from what we do. For example, why work out when you could easily watch Netflix?

The short game is appealing because it provides immediate results that seem like they are helping. There is a problem though. Over time these short game decisions compound to cost us in a negative direction. 

Whether it was coaching, teaching, parenting, or personal training I saw a lot of clients struggle with playing the long game. But, it’s so worth it!

For anything worthwhile that requires true resilience, you will not see the benefits until there is a reasonable duration of compounded momentum. This is why adopting a long term, investment-based strategy is so important.

What Is The Long Game?

If we can play the long game for enough time, then we can achieve the life we truly desire. It simply requires paying the price in the short term. It can be helpful to guard against the things that make the long game difficult. 

The long game will feel less exciting in the moment. It will feel insignificant and can definitely be boring. It may even be challenging, or stressful to stick with. This tends to be because we lack appreciation for delayed gratification.

Tricks To Delayed Gratification

I feel that strengthening one’s ability to become better at delayed gratification can be one of the most important skills in today’s day and age. Creating the mindset that you can’t have the end goal in the moment anyways can be helpful. Adding as many systems and habits that keep you both in the moment, yet taking action toward the end goal can also be helpful.

One way to do this is to build a momentum tracker. Each day checking off the successful completion of a small, easily digestible habit. Another way is to develop a motivation mantra such as “go time” that you say as soon as you are triggered to do something. Such as get out of bed, write a paragraph, or make phone calls. Finally, be sure and add a counterbalance of short term fun into your life as well. This sort of “harm reduction” model of building a lifestyle is way easier than making it all or nothing.

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