Effective self-help or development is choosing long term over short term…
Or, choosing what will get you what you want in the long term instead of what you desire in the short term.
Compound interest applies to nearly everything, not just investing.
The decision to choose good habits has compounding effects over time.
You may not notice calorie restriction at first, but over time you’ll SEE IT.
This applies to eating right, training, work, discipline, relationships, acquiring knowledge and wisdom, and every other facet of life.
Reading philosophy for 30 minutes a day, for example, is much better than trying to cram all of your learning into one day a month.
How do you begin to choose longer term over short term?
First, who do you want to be known as?
It can be as simple as this…
I want to be known as the successful, happy, wise, strong, smart, good man.
If I’m successful…
I’ll take risks, work hard, persist, not get too down or too high, aim high, take on big projects.
If I’m happy…
I won’t attempt to control things I have no control over, I’ll practice gratitude, I’ll question my thoughts and assumptions I make, I’ll choose to see the brighter side of things, look for the good.
If I’m wise…
I’ll read philosophy daily, examine myself, reflect on my thoughts, spend time figuring out what’s truly important, I’ll study.
If I’m strong…
I’ll lift heavy weights 5 days a week at least, every week of the year, every year of my life.
If I’m smart…
I’ll study, read often, and be very careful about fooling myself and about what games I decide to play.
Those are just some examples, but we can get an idea of how we ought to act…
…Or how to choose longer term over short term, if we decide specifically what it is or who it is we want to be, down to the characteristics.
Now, let’s say you want to change something…
Let’s say you want to get in better shape, to lean out, or even to become a voracious reader.
Here’s what you do:
Choose the good thing that you actually like…
If you’re trying to eat healthier, choose the healthy foods that you like until you like eating healthy in general.
If you want to become an avid reader, start by reading about whatever it is that you enjoy and over time your interests will become more sophisticated.
I used to hate reading in school because the teacher told me what I had to read.
I dropped out of college, picked up some biographies, started reading history, then philosophy, and economics, and my interests continue to broaden.
To start that path, though, you have to enjoy what you’re doing.
Don’t start a restrictive diet. (choose the Man Diet)
Choose a few meals you enjoy that are within your macro and caloric purview, and eat those meals.
Don’t start with a complex, boring book.
Start by reading about someone that interests you.
The path to self-improvement, self-development, becoming who you can potentially become is simple…
Choosing long term over short term.
Reading a book is long term.
Watching TV is short term.
Working out is long term.
Relaxing is short term.
Finishing your work before your deadline, when you set out to get it done, is long term.
Avoiding important work because you don’t feel like doing it is short term.
The more you habitually get into long-term thinking and acting, the more unstoppable you become.
Listen, we all have very degraded views of who we can be.
We all have this imposter syndrome that tells us we aren’t good enough for what we want.
It’s complete nonsense, but the only way to truly see that it’s nonsense is to give this compound interest, these habits, enough time to create what they can create.
I’ve seen myself change, friends change – and by change I mean improve.
You can become unstoppable.
First, recognize that you’re really the only one stopping you from being so.
Get after it.