5 Ways to Play the Long Game
The Long Game is how you see success at the end of the game, instead of any short-term gains. When playing chess, you may be able to win a move here or there. But if that is the only way you play chess you will most likely never win a game. Each move you make has to not only win the move, but more importantly set yourself up for the next move, or three moves later. This is playing the long game.
Why the Long Game?
In our “I need it now” and “get rich quick” society, why should you play the long game. The main reason to play the long game is longevity. You want to be in whatever you are doing, for the long haul. Short gains are just that, short. They will not provide you the long-term satisfaction your desire. Once you get one short term gain you are looking for another. Soon you are bouncing back and forth constantly trying to find something to satisfy your desires.
By playing the long game, as in chess, you are thinking three moves down the line. With each move and decision, you are setting yourself up for success farther down the line. This is why understanding 5 different ways to play the long game can help in your own longevity toward living life on your terms.
1) Plan Your Goals
If you are going to play the long game, then you need to know what game you are playing. This will require you to specifically define your goals. What do you want to accomplish? Why will this benefit you? If you are not outlining or planning your goals then you are not playing the long game. You are surviving life and hoping for the best.
By planning your goals, you are looking 3,4, or even 5 moves down to see what you want to accomplish. But even more so, what will it take to accomplish your goals. By executing against a plan, you are being intentional with every move you make toward your goals.
2) Unplug Your Distractions
The long game will require you to stay on the path. In this day and age there are too many distractions which will attempt to derail you from your goal. While you cannot control some distractions (family, job, traffic, or bills). You do have quite a bit of control over many other distractions in your life (social media, internet, TV, friends, news, shopping, etc.)
To be productive toward your goals you need to unplug as many distractions as possible. Completely eliminate as many distractions as possible from your life. Once you start the process of removing these distractions in your life, you will find a tremendous amount of freedom. You will also wonder why you didn’t attempt this task sooner. Many of the distractions you hold to tightly, serve no purpose in your life.
3) Keep your Focus
During the process of living life on your terms you will come upon times of failures. Those times where you want to throw in the towel and walk away. These times are normal. But you are committed to your goals. So, you must keep your focus on the long game.
It is tempting to walk away or to seek some temporary gains. To play the short game for the quick fix. But ultimately this will not bring you any closer to your goals. Your focus has to remain on the long game and what your attempting to accomplish through your goals.
Any short term gains you do accomplish on your journey are all a part of your long game. You have taken the time to figure them into your plan and take the steps accordingly. Your focus is what will keep you pointed down the right path and not chase after any new shiny object which comes your way.
4) Keep Learning
A big piece of the long game is to be a constant learner. Our modern society is constantly changing with new technology and pursuits dropping down every day. It is important to keep up your learning in order to be effective.
You also need to be able to know what not to pursue. Many new technologies and processes are for the short game. It very important you do not spend your valuable time in these pursuits. Learning and knowledge will be a tremendous aid in helping you keep your focus and remove distractions. The knowledge gives you the ability to know where to focus your energy.
5) Be Creative
Drawing on your creativity will keep you within the guardrails of the long game. Much of what you see through media, news, or offerings are enticing you into a short game. A lack of creativity will make these offerings seem very tempting.
Your creativity is what will help you rise above the noise coming at you in order to live a life you want. Attempting to live others’ lives is a very miserable short game. But looking at processes, technology, plans, and achievements then applying your unique creativity. This will allow you to modify them for your own use. Your creativity is what will provide your unique opportunity to live out the long game for a greater purpose.
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