Categories
Life Self-awareness

Short-term vs. Long-term Decisions

Reading Time: 4 minutes

This post first appeared on the 1st things 1st blog.

“Most people spend more time planning a vacation than they do planning a life.”

― Chet Holmes

When choosing your future, some of your decisions will have long-lasting effects and can lead to lots of success or disappointments, whereas some others will be valid only for a day or two, so why bother about them too much. You could follow the Pareto principle saying that for 80% of the effect, you will need 20% of effort, so you should identify the 20% of what’s long-term and act on it. Let’s explore which decisions are short-term and which are long-term.

Short term

Short-term decisions are usually triggered by life events and news and are often made based on emotions. Short-term considerations could be caused by fear of missing out or worry about what other people will think about you. On the other hand, they can be spontaneousplayfulopportunisticopen-minded as well.

  • Things to do during the day. Unless it’s some life event like a birthday party, wedding, job interview, conference talk, or a show, you usually won’t need lengthy preparation.
  • What to wear. Why spend too much time thinking about what to wear on a regular day? Instead, just choose something that matches together, fits the weather, suits the occasion, and is comfortable.
  • What to eat. Choose whatever you like or are used to unless you are on a special diet.
  • What music to listen to. Listen to what follows your mood or supports the mood you would like to get into.
  • What presents to give to your friends, family, lovers. Most of the celebrations in life are recurring and relatively frequent. So surprise your people with something spontaneous.
  • What TV programs or movies to watch. Choose whatever seems essential or entertaining to you.
  • What galleries or museums to visit. Take opportunities to see whatever interesting exhibitions are open in your city or the city you visit.

As a proverb says, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

Long term

Long-term decisions are usually based on personal philosophy of life. You use logic and strategies to direct your energy towards growth. Otherwise, your life will likely stagnate or destroy you, and you will have lots of regrets about living conditions.

  • Where to live. Your living location and conditions will have an effect on your solitude or social life, career, love life, speed and rhythm of daily routine, etc. You can choose to live with your relatives, in a shared apartment with flatmates, in a dormitory, in a rented or owned apartment, house, or villa. And all that will have different outcomes on your future life.
  • What to study. Your job opportunities, quality of life, and overall happiness in your life will depend on what you learn at University, College, Academy, or Professional School. Will you study something that you are interested in or something that your parents were impressed about? Will you learn something that you are passionate about, something that the market demands, or something in between?
  • Where to work. Will you work for survival, self-expression, self-fulfillment, or a local or global mission? It all depends on what job you will choose and how it matches your personality. Will, each of your employment, be the basis for your following ones, or will they be just a waste of career experience while searching for your field?
  • What name to give to your baby. In my life, I’ve met people who hated their first or last names because those names made them difficult to reach the expectations they had from life. Not in all countries, it is possible to change your name. So when choosing a name for your newborn, choose wisely.
  • What name to give to your company, product, or service. Just as for the baby name, the name of your business can also have a long-lasting effect. Especially if you care not only about the sales but also about your company’s branding and distant future.
  • What goals to aim for. You can have many passions in life and lots of possible directions to go with your life. But which of those directions is the most optimal for your character, skills, and needs?
  • What’s your main reason for living. Why were you born on this planet? What’s the purpose of your life? These existential questions are definitely long-term and require deep self-analysis.

“Maturity is achieved when a person postpones immediate pleasures for long-term values.”

– Joshua L. Liebman

It depends

Some decisions can either be quick and spontaneous or thoughtful and logical depending on what kind of person you are:

  • What events, conferences, or festivals to go to. Are you going to different gatherings for entertainment or getting information and resources for your projects?
  • What books to read. Are you reading books to have rest or to get knowledge for your career and self-development?
  • What podcasts to listen to. Do you listen to podcasts to fill your silence with chitchat or to learn something valuable and inspirational for life?
  • What country to visit for vacation. Do you choose your traveling spontaneously, or do you have a bucket list for life?
  • What newspapers or magazines to subscribe to. Do you read whatever is popular or what supports your knowledge for lifestyle or career?
  • What theatre plays to watch. Do you go to theaters to have a good time or to widen your viewpoint?

If you consider that your time is limited, you will probably try to save it by choosing what goes along with your values and goals. You will visit events, read books, and listen to podcasts useful for your primary activities. On the other hand, if you consider that your time is limitless, you will make decisions based on what feels right at the moment: you will go to events that will seem attractive, shocking, or inspiring. You will read books that entertain you much. You will listen to podcasts where the people seem most charismatic or grounded according to your preferences or where the topics seem interesting to you.

How to solve short or long-term decisions?

You can make short-term decisions using intuitioncommon sense, or randomness. For example, it doesn’t really matter so much what exactly you gonna wear today at work. What matters more is what clothes you buy to wear for work. It doesn’t really matter what dish you are going to try today. What matters more is what diet you are going to take in your life. It doesn’t matter too much what song you will listen to today at your lunch break. What matters more is in what mood and mindset your playlists are going to put you into.

When it comes to short-term decisions, choose what inspires you or solves a problem.

When it comes to long-term decisions, it’s better to weigh the options before making a decision. And for this reason, the most valuable tool to do that is probably the strategic prioritizer “1st things 1st”. Half an hour of prioritizing with “1st things 1st” can save you from months or even years of frustration and regrets. “1st things 1st” lets you make the most optimal decisions based on your knowledge and intuition.

This is how it goes. First, you start prioritization by defining your success criteria. Second, you list out things to prioritize. Third, you rate each item by each measure. And lastly, the tool calculates your priorities and groups them into something to choose for sure, things to consider, and things to eliminate or skip. It’s as easy as that.

Interested? Try it out for free.


Cover photo by Brayden Law

Categories
Life Progress Self-awareness

Needs and Priorities: Important Questions to Ask Yourself

Reading Time: 5 minutes

This post first appeared on the 1st things 1st blog.

Somewhat 80 years ago, an American psychologist Abraham Harold Maslow generalized a hierarchy of needs, where each level of needs builds upon the previous one. At the very base, people require a smartphone with the Internet. Just kidding.

The overview of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

At the very base, we all have physiological needs. To stay alive, we need to eat when we have hunger, drink when we are thirsty, have something to wear for the right body temperature, get to the WC when we need it, have a place to sleep, and probably someone to sleep with.

Then we have safety needs, such as a stable source of income, having where to live, being secure outside, at home, and at work, having some rules to follow, being treated well in case of illnesses, and getting help in case of fire or other catastrophes. At this level, we want to have structure and order. We want to know our limits and live stable and predictable lives.

These two steps ensure that a person will survive physically in this world.

Then we have a need to love, be loved, and belong. At this level, life without connections feels empty. We require pets, friends, lovers, family, coworkers, communities. We want to be a part of something bigger. We want to share intimacy and tenderness, affection and belonging. 

The next level is the need of esteem. We want to feel strength, self-esteem, and self-love inside of us. At the same time, we want recognition for our achieved mastery and respect for our competence from the outside world. At this level, we demand reputation and prestige.

Then there is the need of self-actualization. At this level, we want to explore, learn more, stimulate our minds. We want to play, grow, bring our best to the world. We need to be in harmony, order, and beauty.

The needs and priorities

At all of those levels we make decisions. 

  • At the bottom of the hierarchy we need to choose what to do to survive physically. 
  • Then we need to make decisions what to do to survive psychologically without becoming robots or zombies. 
  • Then we need to decide what to do to become more than social animals. 
  • Then we need to find a way how to escape the narcissism and arrogance. 
  • Finally we need to make decisions what to do to achieve the full harmony in the world. 

To make conscious decisions we have to prioritize some things over others. Let’s explore some of the crucial decisions we make at each level of our needs.

Physiological needs

What are you going to eat and drink to survive another month, week, or even this day?

When choosing food and drinks, you would typically ask yourself: Is your food cheap? Does it fill you? Is it tasty?

To get to the upper levels, you should also ask: Is your food healthy? Is your food nutritious? Does it give enough energy to you? Will your friends or family like it? Will you get a compliment for making this dish? Will your cooking skills be honored? Is it made from the best ingredients? Won’t you need to throw half your ingredients away? Is your food supply chain practical, ethical, fairtrade?

What are you going to wear?

When choosing clothes and shoes, you would typically ask yourself: Do they fit the season? Are they clean? Do they look appropriate?

To get to higher levels, you should also ask: Are they comfortable? Do they look good? Will your friends and loved ones like it? Do you feel like yourself in those clothes? Do you look respectful with this outfit? Do you need another piece of jacket this year? Are you living your authentic self with these clothes?

Safety needs

What job should you have?

When choosing a career, you would typically ask yourself: Is it paid enough? Do you understand, and can you do what they ask you there? Is it not too hard? Is it not too boring?

To get to the upper levels, you should also ask: Do you feel accepted by coworkers? Are coworkers friendly? Are you recognized for your work? Does your salary match your skills? Does the work fulfill you? Do you grow enough there? Do you do something meaningful there? Are you living your full potential at your work?

What should you buy today?

When choosing a purchase, you would typically ask yourself: Is it affordable? Do you want it? Do you need it?

To get to the higher levels, you should also ask: Is it long-lasting? Will that improve your comfort? Will that improve your relationships? Is that a brand you like? Will that look prestigious? Will that represent the status you are at? Is it useful? Does it look authentic and original? Is it ethically and ecologically made and brought to your shops?

Love & belonging needs

Which event should you attend?

When choosing events to go to, you would typically ask yourself: Would you go to this event for solidarity? Do you like the content of the event? Do you like the people who will gather there? Is it a chance to make new friends?

To get to the upper levels, you should also ask: do you feel like yourself in these kinds of events? Is it a chance to express yourself and gain recognition there? Is it not too long? Is there a chance to meet people of the same interests and social status? Can you make an impact at such events? Can you feel authentic at such events?

What present to get to your friend?

When choosing a present, you would typically ask yourself: Can you afford it? Will your friend like it? Is it something they don’t have yet?

To get to the higher levels, you should also ask: Will that present match your friend’s social status? Will that gift show your admiration and respect for your friend? Will that present lift your friend? Will that present add up to the authenticity of your friend?

Esteem needs

What should be your goals for the upcoming years?

When choosing long-term goals, you would typically ask yourself: Is that goal specific? Can it be measured? Is it attainable for you? Is it realistic to achieve it? Is the timing correct for this goal?

To get to the upper level, you should also ask: Is the goal positively stated? Is it ethical? Is it challenging you? Is it environmentally sound?

What books should you read?

When choosing your next book to read, you would typically ask yourself: Does it bring you knowledge and understanding? Does it improve your skills? Is it widespread or reputable literature? Is it interesting? Is it entertaining?

To get to the higher level, you should also ask: Does it make you a better human being? Does it lift you up spiritually? Does it help to find yourself or going towards your personal mission?

Need for self-actualization

What are the activities that you could call your Ikigai?

When choosing your reason for being, you would typically ask yourself: Do you love doing it? Are you good at it? Can you be paid for it? Does the world need it?

To go even further, you should ask yourself: Is it healthy? Is it ethical? Is it sustainable? Is it ecological? Is it progressive?

What should you do today?

When choosing the next optimal action to do today, you would typically ask yourself: Does that bring you closer to your goals? Does it remove bottlenecks? Does it make money or reduces costs?

To go even further, you should ask yourself: Is it impactful? Is it ethically, socially, and ecologically responsible? Does it bring more health and clarity to your life?

Invitation

So you have to make decisions and prioritize your choices at all levels of needs. The strategic prioritizer “1st things 1st” was designed to help you not lose yourself among all those choices and dimensions and help you grow as an individual, personality, and spirit. You are invited to use it and make your life more progressive.

If you are still struggling at the survival phase, but you would still like to make better decisions in your life, drop me a message and your reasons at the contact form. Every month I will select several people to use the tool for free.


Cover picture by Chester Wade