We’ve all seen it – someone bragging about some kind of financial success that happened over the last month or quarter. Or maybe it’s a win in sports. Or maybe it’s some kind of uptick in membership for an organization in the last month. Or any number of other things.
These are all short-term foci. They aren’t bad by themselves. In fact, we all need to hear about these near term success stories. They move us in the right direction. Except when they don’t.
Too often, our focus remains totally engrossed in these short-term gains. When we only look at the short term, we don’t have the full picture. The long-term offers us trends that are reliable and based on data. The long term gives us insight into how long something has been going on, and where things are likely to go if nothing changes.
Short term success usually doesn’t last. That’s because it’s a poor foundation to make long-term important decisions. Too often our politicians approach things from short-term perspectives – their concern being how a law or policy will impact their re-election chances. This is how we end up with short-sighted policies and laws that end up costing far more than predicted and creating more problems than they solve. This is also how we have ended up with cover ups – concern for the short term impact, rather than long term consequences which have a bigger impact. The same could be said for any organization or system – whether it be political, social, or religious.