Today’s guest collaboration comes from the creative mind of Ian Roth, whom I met on LinkedIn. Ian is currently serving as an officer in the United States Army in Tennessee. We connected as a result of sharing my content on LinkedIn, and we quickly realized that we are kindred spirits. When I asked him if he would like to write a blog for my site, he jumped at the opportunity and wrote the following piece about playing the long game in life. Enjoy!
I’ve been doing some thinking. As those who know me well may say, “That’s a scary thing.” As I continue to emerge myself into social media, exclusively LinkedIn at this point, I see a few common themes. The theme that I’d like to discuss today is our “instant gratification” culture. People wanting things “now” is nothing new but through social media, people are able to advertise and tell the world of all of their new purchases, lavish trips, famous friends, etc. Others see this without knowing the behind the scenes work that went in to obtaining those things or more realistically, the debt that one now owes. Whether it is years of countless saving or credit card debt-people see nice things and they want them now! They want them now so badly that they too, will go into large amounts of debt to acquire or experience these things.
There any many of us out there, let’s call us “The Quiet Ones” who are in it for the long game. We would love to have those things now, but we know that life is a marathon, not a sprint. We don’t arrogantly advertise our new possessions on social media, but instead are the “bigger” people who comment our friends with “Looks like you had a great time” or “I’m so happy for you!” Deep inside we know that we are in it for the long haul-planning for the next years and decades, not the next day.
We may have been taught or learned somewhere that when used correctly, the value of money increases over time. CRAZY CONCEPT I know! But for this money to increase in value over time for us, we know that we need to be in possession of it. How do we ensure we are in possession of some money? By not spending all of it! In its most basic explanation, this is commonly referred to the time value of money.
I like to think of gratification the same way and I challenge you to do the same. Using the basic time value of money explanation, if we save money, it will be worth more at a later date like when we decide to cash it in or use it to purchase something. What if we saved our gratification? Instead of impulsively spending it, we are intentional about it-saving it and waiting to cash it in down the road because we know that the feeling will be so much sweeter.
Maybe work has hit a rough few weeks but you are with a great company. Instant gratification tells you to find a new job that will make you happy. Your friend gets a new car and all he does is talk about it and post pictures on social media. You have a perfectly good car but you get a little jealous and want to experience that “new car” smell so you blow your tax refund on a new car.
What it all boils down to is that life is hard and if you plan to be around for a long time, act accordingly. There will always be jobs you don’t like, new cars that you want and arrogant people who love to show off their possessions on social media. Play the long game. Instead of blowing your money, save it.
You want that new car? SAVE for it. Think of the gratification that you will feel in 10 years when you are a senior manager at your company because you stuck out the hard times and are able to actually afford your dream car. You can afford to buy a house and have a reasonable mortgage payment all because you were in it for the long-haul.
Don’t take the easy road, it may look like it goes very fast, but there’s a lot of traffic there. Take the road less travelled. It may be a little slower at first but years later, you will be where you want to be looking out and see those who took the easy road haven’t really gone anywhere.