One of my favorite bloggers is Tyler Tervooren, the energetic creator of RISKOLOGY, who encourages others to share his ideas — and he has more of them than I can handle.
Although his advice tends to be focused on business, I’ve often found his advice — to get out there and meet the world head-on — is just what I need in the personal realm.
Thus it was that last October he hit the spot because I was feeling discouraged in not accomplishing as much as I wanted to get done.
The Importance of Long-Term Thinking
Tervooren’s blog post began this way:
A few days ago, I did something I never do: I checked on my investments. I almost never do this because I try to make everything I do a long-term commitment, and paying attention to the day-to-day of how things are going is a distraction.
The other day, I saw a headline saying the DJIA (a common stock market indicator) had dropped over 200 points in a single day. Every talking head on TV and writer for financial news was sounding the alarm: “The market is ‘crashing!’ Is this the end of prosperity? Is the world plunging into despair again? (Tune in at six, and we’ll tell you).”
Of course, this is the kind of news that gets reported every day regardless what’s happening in the world. Every piece of information is either the greatest thing to ever happen to humanity or the beginning of the end times.
I thought this particular incident was funny, so I decided to look up a little, widely available historical info to compare it to.
What Period of Time Do You Use When Evaluating Your Life?
What he did next was to look at seven graphs—all looking at the same financial data—over a long period. What they reveal is a fantastic argument for why you should ignore the daily ups and downs of your life and, instead, look for the steady progress as an indication of success.
When he looked at the stock market over a one day period, he thought it was “the beginning of the end of humanity.” When he looked at the stock market over one year, he saw that it had been a really good year. When he took an even longer view and checked at five years or forty years, he concluded that life was great after all.
How Do You Evaluate Your Current Relationships?
On any given day, you may be discouraged by the difference between what you want in an ideal relationship and the squabbles you and your partner are having.
Take a careful look, however, and you may notice that you have weathered worse difficulties in the past — and in the process both you and your partner came out the other side stronger and wiser.
If I may use an analogy I thought of long before the movie “Wild,” it is like climbing a mountain. As you begin to zigzag up the trail, you know you have a long way to go, but you’re enthusiastic because reaching the top is where you want to be.
As a backpacker in my younger, more nimble days, I knew that enthusiasm well. Then, as the trail would get steeper and my muscles ached, I would question both my sanity for choosing that particular trial — meaning my willingness to go with a husband who had chosen the trail — and my capacity to reach the top.
But one thing would always keep me from sitting down and demanding we call for a helicopter to get me out of there: I would look back at where I had been and acknowledge that I had made progress. Then I would keep going, always awareness that in past hikes I had made it and could make it again.
Keep your eye on the long haul, not just today. Look at where you’ve been, how much you’ve learned, and how much you have already accomplished in your life.