Play the Long Game

The Power of Compound Interest

We are living in an 80/20 moment. In a Pareto principle time. This window of time (One year? Two? Ten?) will create a lasting impact to you greater than any that has come before it or that will follow. These (relatively) brief moments are going to define a great portion of your life, your memories, and your future outlook. Like the generation impacted by the Great Depression, ours will be defined by a singular event. And how you act, right now, will cause an amplified effect to the long game of life.

Before we venture further, before we discuss our next steps, let us land upon a foundation of first principles. Your mental health, more than anything else, must be protected. If you have not studied stoicism, consider doing so. For your ability to keep your mind clear and focused on the right things during a time of uncertainty will determine how well you exit this season. The game of life is long, and this, too, shall pass. But it will leave staggering, assymetrical, impact. So focus on what is most important to you right now. Work your way up from the dirt. Is there ample food on the table and in the freezer and pantry? Is there a roof overhead now and for the next six months? Are your loved ones cared for and healthy? Do you have enough saved to get by? For how long? Do you have a Plan B? What starts it in motion?

We have become a world of reactors, rather than actors. A world of critics, rather than operators. Perhaps it was always this way, and today those who speak loudest are mistaken to mean they are the most relevant. We live in a world where "global pandemic" has become reality. And while the rest of the world is busy reacting to the news, the numbers, and the noise, what should a long gamer do?

First, have a plan. Panic is not a plan. Hate is not a plan. Love is a plan. But you can't live on love alone. You need bread. And water. And a roof. And if you are lacking in any, the focus must be placed on securing these needs. Once these are checked off (and they must be constantly revisited and reassessed), then we can discuss the higher goals.

Second, frame your victory. Getting out of this whole, intact, and healthy, is a win. And from a purely statistical standpoint, it is likely you will win.

Third, help people. Start with those in your presence. Your family. Your loved ones. Extend the circle as you can. Keep your humanity. Treasure it. You will see the ugliest in people. You will also see people at their finest. Focus and fight for the latter.

Fourth, stretch. With the rules changing by the day, learn to discard the old. Some things, like your character, are eternal. Laws, executive orders, and policies change daily. Especially now. Anticipate. Adapt. Act.

Bonus: If you are lucky enough to have a rainy day fund, a resource saved just for a once-in-a-lifetime moment, the next month or two might provide you with your opportunity.

To sum up, stay vigilantly optimistic. This will be a psychological and fiscal endurance test as much as it is a viral one. Do not let the fear of illness or insolvency do more damage than its realization. Plan the work. Work the plan. Win. Help. Change.

To be able to play the long game is a privilege. No time illustrates that than our current. If you are able to contemplate beyond your daily wellbeing and provisions, then you are truly blessed. Use this time to be generous. Be alive. Make difficult choices. Sacrifice. Grow. Be cool. Be kind. Be strong. Love. You will get through this. We will get through this. Now more than ever, people will remember how they were treated during this time of crisis, and by whom. Companies and individuals are carving permanent scars and building enduring loyalty with every decisive act. And it will all be recorded for future reflection. The world is watching. And when the dust settles, the world will rewatch it. It is your stage, now. Act. And if you are truly one of us, wait for the right time and go all in.

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