Practicing Long Term Thinking

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.

  • Chinese proverb

I find myself, most of my peers, friends, and the greater of society seeming to operate under what appears to be a 1-6 month time horizon. While I don’t have ‘hard’ data to back this up my day to day experience tells me so. My hunch is the accelerating rate of change in technology and instant information sharing drives a great deal of this behavior.

For this reason, after becoming aware of how I often fall into the trap of short term thinking I’d like to not only reverse it but inoculate myself from falling to it. Primarily for the reason that there appears a great amount of arbitrage and value in thinking long term when everyone else isn’t. A classic scenario of ‘looking for value where others aren’t’.

In order to better cultivate this and inoculate myself from my own tendencies to fall into short term thinking I’m beginning to deliberately work on things that engage my thought processes in away that force me to think through the long term consequences of my decisions.

Here are some of practices I intend to pursue:

  • collecting material items that appreciate e.g. memorabilia, paintings, books, etc.
  • holding onto money as long as I can (compound interest)
  • real estate (that I never intend to sell)
  • owning shares of companies (that I never intend to sell)
  • maintaining a bonsai tree collection
  • aging wine or other liquids that get better with age e.g. balsamic vinegar
  • owning natural resources e.g. timber, prairies, water, etc.
  • maintaining friendships/relationships
  • taking and documenting pictures
  • managing a personal journal collection
  • owning less but but what I do own sourced to last
  • driving my car to 300k+ miles.
  • collecting ancient artifacts from across the globe

There are endless benefits applying a time vector to certain domains. For example, money saved grows interest, aged wine begets new flavors, old art becomes more coveted, long friendships richer in trust, reliable things used to their full extent more appreciated.

I’ll update this with my findings, experiences, and learnings as I go.