Short Term vs. Long Term Thinking

As humans, we seem to be wired to think of the short term only. In his book, Stumbling on Happiness, Dan Gilbert gives numerous examples to illustrate how this plays out in our daily lives.

One example relates to something my friend told me the other day. One of their uni housemates had a date, who’d driven up from Chesterfield to Sheffield, to visit them for the night. They both went out drinking and were enjoying themselves, but later on, the housemate didn’t want the person to stay. They argued, and instead of insisting they stay at least downstairs or in their car for the night, the date decided to drive home after at least 8 pints and a bottle of wine.

This is both dangerous and stupid.

Why do we make decisions like this?

It perhaps seems “fine” in that state of mind. But it’s not only dangerous to ourselves, it’s the fact that this could have led to innocent people being caught up in an accident because of one bad decision. We don’t think of the impact our decisions can have on others. We don’t think about how that extra drink we have or that argument we have with a friend or that decision to not exercise, meditate, whatever will affect us down the line. But all our choices add up and compound over time. We make choices that become habits and they will have a profound impact on our lives.

What will you choice will you make this week that will start creating a habit to help you in the long term?

(P.S. Think! have been doing important work to save lives for over 50 years. Please, if ever you or a friend you are out with considers drink driving – just don’t. What is the cost of a taxi compared to the cost of a life?)