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Don't Short-Change Yourself With Short-Term Thinking

In this modern age of 24/7/365 on demand, fast tracked availability and instant gratification, patience is becoming an increasingly rare virtue. We have fast food, drive through coffee outlets, Amazon Prime, and even same day delivery with Argos. If our broadband speeds are anything less than 100Mbps, we're de-fluffing our navels whilst we wait, drumming our fingers on our desks impatiently (...or is that just me?)

Hey, I'm not judging, I'm just as bad as anyone. My family eats fast food occasionally, I love Starbucks coffee (and have been known to drive through), and woe betide if my broadband even thinks about slowing down; but that's Small Picture Me. Small Picture Me is not a patient person. Not by a loooooong shot. Big Picture Me however is infinitely patient - serenely so in fact.

You see, Small Picture Impatient Me is capable of stealing greatness from Future Me, if I'm not careful. My Small Picture impatience is a bad habit on a fast track to toxic, if I don't live mindfully and routinely check myself. In Small Picture Me's urgent quest to scratch the impatient itch de jour, I could potentially deny myself something better, or more suitable, Thankfully this impatience generally only shows itself in trivial situations like, i.e.: slow customer service, long queues or endless security questions! Whilst this is possibly one of the funniest things I have ever seen, this level and speed of service would send grey matter hurtling out of my ear canals.

As for the larger opportunities in life, I am more than happy, willing and able to wait them out, and let them unfold as they should, i.e.: building my business or learning a new skill. Big Picture Me knows I can't i.e.: pick up a guitar for the first time in my life today, and expect to play like Angus Young tomorrow. Likewise declaring my business live with HMRC on Day 1, and then expecting £100m in the bank on Day 2, it's just not realistic. Progress is a process, not an event. We can all grab at what's readily available right now, but how many of us are prepared to wait for and/or build something that's so much better, or more suitable for us? Anyone can pick the low hanging fruit, but the best fruit will take a climb to claim.


I happened upon the story of the Magic Penny recently, which illustrates this point perfectly. If I were to offer you £3 million right now, or one Magic Penny which would double in value for 31 days, which would you choose? What if I told you that taking the Magic Penny would yield more than three times the value of the £3m, would you believe me? Well, I have written it all down for you to see for yourself; click here.

As you will see, by Day 31 your Magic Penny will have amounted to £10,737,418.24 - so it would be well worth you playing the long game. Of course £3 million is a fantastic amount of money to have, but look at how much you would have been short-changing yourself, by taking a short-term approach: £7,737,418.24 lost, due to an immediate gratification itch you simply couldn't resist.

This story has much to teach us, particularly those of us who are attempting something big, like growing our own businesses or learning a new skill. I've often said that not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur - and that's okay, because we all have different and equally vital skills to offer. Generally speaking, successful entrepreneurs, captains of industry and super-achievers (i.e.: top flight athletes, academics, musicians etc) will opt for the Magic Penny every time, because they understand it's all about the process: little by little, a little becomes a lot. Not everyone will have the patience or foresight to see and appreciate that what's worth having is worth nurturing and building steadily.

If you've downloaded my workings out, you will see it's not until Day 18 that you'll get into the thousands of pounds, Day 25 until the tens of thousands, or Day 28 until the hundreds of thousands of pounds. If you keep going though, look at where the single biggest return is...between Day 30 and Day 31 - right at the very end of the process. THIS IS YOUR LIFE!

You have to keep going, you have to keep plugging away, building incrementally and trusting the process. The problem is, too many people expect to achieve mastery too soon. Their short-term thinking and impulses ultimately short-change their future, because they quit and move onto something else that may satisfy their "Want It Now" itch more quickly. They don't understand and/or respect the process. These are the people who expect to play like Angus Young, a day after their first guitar lesson. It must be remembered that it took Angus years of dedicated practice and experience to play as well as he does (and be worth an estimated $140m).

In too many cases that I have personally been a witness to, children are being overindulged these days: what they want, they get, which feeds into the "I Want It Now" short-term, immediate gratification epidemic. There are also too many children without enough, but that's a blog for another day. The over-indulged children I'm referring to however, know the price of everything, but the value of nothing. They are unlikely to opt for the Magic Penny (and the larger principles it represents), because they would want the £3m now - because there's always more where that came from, in their over-indulged world.


What I have learned in my life is that patience truly is a virtue, but more than this. It's not just about being patient for patience sake, it's what you do whilst you're being patient that makes all the difference. You can't just sit there, waiting for something to happen; that's way too passive and no way to live. In the process of patiently building your business, learning to play guitar, or training for a marathon, you will be exposed to any number of trials and challenges, which you must overcome, if you're to be successful in your goal. It is in those heroic moments of facing up to and conquering the challenges (rather than avoiding them and/or quitting altogether), that you will become the person you need to be, once you're successful.

We all know that success is not easy to come by. We have all had at least one hefty kick in the nards in our life, but it's the getting up again that builds your character. We become strong enough to cope with the pressures being successful will bring us. You don't honestly think that as soon as you have £100m in the bank, completed a marathon, played at Carnegie Hall or won an Oscar that your life will be problem-free, do you? Of course it won't! You will simply replace one set of challenges with another, with more to lose. {Although having to constantly recharge my money-counter is a problem I could learn to live with!}


So this is why Big Picture Me can wait for the big stuff. I understand it's a process, and I am thoroughly enjoying it. Of course I have my problems and headaches to overcome, like anyone else, but I don't let them cripple me. I know they are all opportunities for me to learn something new, grow in character, or become stronger physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually. As the great Napoleon Hill wrote: "Opportunity often comes disguised in the form of misfortune or temporary defeat".


To help you shift your thinking and perspective, I want to share the mindset I adopt in times of temporary setback lessons, to see if it fits you too: When a sizable "problem" hits my life, I take the time to feel my feelings about it. I am old enough now to understand avoiding my feelings is a fool's errand; as pointless as it is unhealthy. Once I have acknowledged and released the initial emotional response, it leaves me free to proceed with logic. Obviously this may not be the same for everyone, but take from this what you can, and we can always talk about your personal responses another time.

The next thing I do is to disempower the "problem" by refusing to think of it as a problem. Instead, I will think of it only as a gauntlet thrown down, refer to it only as a lesson, before adopting "Open Combat" mode, mentally. I will look - forensically if needs be - for the growth opportunity being offered to me; where are the lessons buried in this situation? Admittedly it can sometimes feel like searching for a needle in a haystack, but you must persist to prevail. Then comes the hard part, implementing what I've learned; having what it takes to do whatever it takes to overcome the challenge.

By adopting this mindset, I have not only survived the worst times of my life, but thrived because of them. I use any negativity from a less-than-ideal situation, and convert it into the energy and focus I will need, to create a positive outcome to my liking. How can you do this too? Well, that depends on a great many individual details, specific to you personally, so why not reach out to me so we can discuss them in more detail?

As per the Magic Penny, as per achieving mastery, it's a process. Taking a short-term view, only doing half a job, quitting something when the going gets tough, or doing what's easy rather than what is right, will only short-change you. Similarly, by avoiding your feelings, or failing to implement lessons, you're short-changing yourself again, from a more healthy, fulfilling, successful and happy life.

Never accept half measures. Never give half measures. Always give and always get the most out of every opportunity made available to you. Don't short-change yourself with short-term thinking, because you deserve more. You know you do.


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