What is long-termism?
Long-termism was originally derived from the financial vocabulary, and its ultimate destination is earnings .
Long-termism is a cognition and a value that emphasizes concern for long-term impact and sustainability, rather than just immediate interests and short-term gains.
Different people have different definitions and understandings of long-termism.
Luo Zhenyu said: “Only long-termists can become friends of time.”
Chen Chunhua, the author of “Value Symbiosis” said: “The more changes occur, the more long-termism is needed.”
Zhang Lei said in the book “Value”: “Invest time and belief in things that can produce long-term value, try your best to learn the most efficient way of thinking and behavioral standards, and follow first principles. This is long-termism.”
From these definitions and understandings, long-termism is not only a methodology, but also a value.
The world is constantly changing, and change is the only constant. With change, there will be uncertainty.
If we want to seek stability in the uncertainty of the external environment, we need to rely on stable values, and this stable value is the core value of long-termism.
Including pursuing the most basic value of life, the kindness and sincerity of human nature, promoting the progress of human society, and enhancing human well-being.
Long-termist values composed of these core contents can penetrate time and pass through crises.
The charm of long-termism
Kobe Bryant, the American basketball genius superstar, was only 17 years old in 1995. He started training at 5 a.m. every day and did not leave the basketball gym until 7 p.m.
Five years later, Kobe won his first NBA championship ring in 2000. He spent a summer practicing 2,000 new jump shot positions as a celebration of winning the championship. He continued to refresh his own records on the court.
Jin Yong’s martial arts novels accompany many people to spend a good time.
In Jin Yong’s time, there were no computers and the Internet. If Jin Yong wanted to find a lot of historical information, he had to read books.
Jin Yong wrote an average of 1,411 words a day, and he wrote day after day for 17 years. He wrote a total of 8.76 million words of novels, and he wrote classics one after another.
Bezos, the founder of Amazon, started writing letters to shareholders every year in 1997, and he continued this habit for 22 years.
In his first letter to shareholders, Bezos made it clear that “everything Amazon does, including investments, decision-making, and operations, adheres to the principle of long-term value.”
It is Bezos’ belief in long-termism that makes Amazon a good company that continues to make profits.
Seeing this, you may say that these people are all talented and ordinary people cannot do it. Then let me tell you about the long-termism of ordinary people.
1,600 years ago, there was a wandering monk named Le Zun. One day he was tired from walking and sat at the foot of the mountain to rest. When he saw the setting sun shining on the Sanwei Mountain opposite, he was extremely shocked by the sight of golden light.
He decided not to leave and practiced at the foot of the mountain. He hired stonemasons to dig a grotto in the mountain for meditation.
Later, many monks came one after another to imitate him. These monks hired craftsmen to continuously dig caves, carve Buddha statues, and make murals on the mountain.
None of the craftsmen expected that as an ordinary person, every carving and every stroke of painting would actually create the Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes, a Chinese art treasure in the civilized world, after more than 1,600 years.
Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes, a precious world cultural heritage, originated from the creation of ordinary people. It was ordinary people who created miracles through long-term persistence and accumulation.
The power of compound interest generated by long-termism
Einstein said: Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world, more powerful than the atomic bomb.
Early on, Amazon founder Bezos asked Buffett: “If it’s so easy to make money, why are there so many people who can’t make money?”
Buffett replied, because many people are not willing to make money slowly.
Buffett started stock trading at the age of 11 and spent 80 years. By the time he was 91, he had more than 90 billion in wealth. 99% of his wealth only experienced explosive growth after the age of 50.
Buffett has used his life’s practice to prove the investment miracle of slowly making money through long-term compound interest.
On the other hand, those who cannot make money are not willing to make money slowly, but want to make quick money, while ignoring the value of R&F. What’s even more sad is that people who want to make quick money will attract more people who want to cut their leeks.
The same goes for personal growth. If you persist in long-term efforts:
If you improve by 0.1% every day, your progress in one year is (1+0.1%)365=1.45, which means you can improve by 45% in one year.
If you improve by 1% every day, your progress in one year is (1+1%)365=37.38, which means you can improve 36 times in one year.
Some people may wonder, how long will this long-termism last?
Is it three years or five years? Or 10 years or 8 years?
The long term in long-termism does not refer to the specific time on the clock, but to the cycle of things starting, growing, reaching their peak, then slowing down and declining, and finally ending the entire fluctuation process.
The famous article On Protracted War points out this cycle of fluctuations, starting from the difficult resistance against Japan in 1938, to the subsequent strategic stalemate, and then to the victory of the Anti-Japanese War in 1945. This is the value of long-term time.
The development of anything is not static. We can only extend the time and analyze and predict the results in a longer time period.
Seeing the future through history can provide definite answers in uncertain time and space.
How to be a long-termist?
1. Correctly understand the value of time and compound interest, and make a good reserve of knowledge
The compound interest effect of time has been introduced before. I believe you already have some understanding of time, compound interest and value.
Regarding knowledge reserves, here are two suggestions:
Be good at finding the inner essence and laws of things through first principles, and build a knowledge system and thinking structure.
Explore and learn the field knowledge of long-termism, collect knowledge and information through a lot of reading, and then understand and digest it through independent thinking, and finally internalize it into your own knowledge system and form your own thinking structure.
2. Have a clear understanding of goals and find the right and valuable things.
As American writer Neil Gaiman said: “If you don’t know where you’re going, no place will be the right place.”
Determine what things are valuable and can achieve your goals?
Bezos is often asked a question, what changes will happen in the next 10 years?
“What’s going to be constant in the next 10 years? If you can find something that’s going to be constant in the next 10 years, you should put all your resources into that thing that’s going to be constant
He found three simple rules that are immutable in the retail industry: unlimited selection, lowest prices, and fast shipping.
Over a long period of time, Amazon has continued to optimize according to these three simple rules. This is Amazon’s long-term goal.
The same goes for us personally. We need to be clear about the goals we want to achieve, find the right and valuable things, and keep doing them! Only then can we better guide our actions and continue to move in the ideal direction.
3. Long-term and extreme focus is the key to success
When we focus all of our energy on our goals, we are able to more deeply understand and realize our potential.
As Einstein said: “Genius is 1% inspiration + 99% perspiration.”
A personal biography of Steve Jobs mentioned that he has a characteristic:
He would focus on one thing for a while and then suddenly focus on something else. At work, he would focus on what he wanted to do, when he wanted to do it, and would be unresponsive to anything else, no matter how hard others tried to get him involved.
This is actually the other side of Jobs’ personal algorithm: I only want the best, and I just do the best at the thing in front of me.
Celebrities and masters from all walks of life, before they reached this state, they were all down-to-earth, focused, and diligent.
There are not many geniuses who are smart and capable from the beginning and can succeed in one fell swoop.
Only those who focus on one industry all their lives, take the trouble and work hard all their lives, can give full play to their talents and potential, achieve breakthroughs in personal growth, and eventually become celebrities and masters.
4. Maintain continuous and firm faith
Without firm belief, it is impossible to continue to invest for a long time.
In the process of practicing long-termism, you will inevitably encounter many difficulties and challenges. If you don’t pay attention, all your previous efforts will be wasted.
Many practitioners of long-termism have shown firm belief when facing difficulties and challenges. For example, Apple founder Steve Jobs once said: “You have to believe that you can change the world.”
Even though he was betrayed by his friends and kicked out of the company he founded, his firm belief drove him to continue pursuing innovation and breakthroughs, and ultimately achieved great success.
Therefore, only by maintaining a firm belief in our own abilities and values can we overcome difficulties and achieve lasting progress in personal growth.
Kazuo Inamori said that the so-called life, in the final analysis, is a continuous accumulation of moments.
Many people regret the past and are anxious about the future. They do not realize that today is the future, because only by facing and solving the current problems and conscientiously doing valuable things today can the future be solved one after another in the present. Stretch out from the problem, and then things will fall into place.
Author Gladwell said:
“The reason why people see geniuses as extraordinary is not because of their superior talent, but because of their continuous efforts.”
Many people, often before the trees are planted, imagine that the garden is full of flowers and beautiful scenery. They always want to take shortcuts, but the result is that the road is blocked.
As for those long-termists, they usually live an ordinary today and endure a calm tomorrow. Once they have identified their goals, they can patiently move forward slowly.
The running water does not compete for the first, but the competition is for the continuous flow; the master lies not in opportunism, but in long-termism.