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  • Writer's picturewabbate

What About the Long View?

To see more clearly in the present, it’s helpful to peek into the future. By taking a long-term look at what we want, we can better see what is needed in the near-term. Like the old saying goes, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.”

Don’t be one of the many people who live life that way. Take your time and destination into your own hands and out of the hands of other people’s intentions and unpredictable circumstances.

Let’s tackle something substantial and look at what it takes to get there—the task of building a house. I’ve read it takes 10,000 total hours of labor to build an average-size home. Ten thousand hours is a considerable amount of time, equaling more than 400 consecutive twenty-four-hour days, or nearly five years working eight-hour days, five days a week.

Even if you have the money you need to purchase all the materials, to tackle such a task alone would be truly overwhelming for the average person.

Yet homes are built routinely. It just takes the right planning and resources, and the right team. While you can build one yourself, the vast majority of homes are built by a team of people. Either way will get the job done, eventually.

When faced with such a large task, the best approach is to break it down into smaller pieces and to put forth consistent effort, realizing that other people are fully involved in your life and are absolutely necessary if you are to accomplish much.

To use this basic principle: Look at the big picture and organize home-building into manageable pieces. Then look at the parts and think about which ones to tackle first and who will be involved with each piece.

Now imagine doing this with your life. All you have to do is determine what you want it to look like, plan a little, and then start building!

You’ve heard the old adage, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” It would take one person a long time, but one hundred people could do it far more quickly. Isn’t this true for many things in life?

Are you thinking about sending your children to college and the associated costs? Managing tuition expenses can be an elephant. What we do in growing and managing our career can be an elephant. Thinking about retirement, which can be a long way off for some, can be an elephant.

Who we want to eventually become also can be an elephant. Yet, if we don’t take the time to consider things of such importance, what will result?

Here’s the underlying fundamental: Tackle the elephants one bite at a time. Small steps taken daily in the direction you want to go eventually create what you need, while small errors in judgment made daily compound into failure. Another way of saying it is:

“Failure is simply a few errors in judgment, repeated every day.”

— Jim Rohn

The difference in the direction is simply tied to identifying what you really need, seeing the possibilities to fulfill that need, making the choices that align with that need, and consistently moving in that direction.

I know, I know. It’s simple to say and difficult to do. But it’s possible, and the choice is up to you. You can do it if you want to—or not. You can work on it and take control of your life and future—or not. To quote another famous person:

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t—you’re right.”

— Henry Ford

So, I ask again, what about the long view? What small step toward it can you take today?

©2019 Bill Abbate

Adapted from the book Uncommon Sense by Bill Abbate

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