If we ask a kid “What are you doing?” the response you will get is
something like “playing”, “reading”, “watching TV” etc. The time
horizon for kids are very short. If we ask “What do you do in school?”
again the response will be about what they will do on that particular
day in the school.
When we grow up, unfortunately (for most of us) the time horizons don’t
extend much. When we ask “What do you do?” to someone, most often the
reponse will be related to their job and their role in the company.
Very rarely, we will hear a passionate answer about how someone is
going to change the world. Very rarely you will hear an answer that
will cover the time horizon of a lifetime.
I continue to believe that we are becoming a world of “short term thinkers.” My good friend Vallal told me a few months ago that “we over estimate what we can achieve in a day and we underestimate what we can achieve in a year”
This is so true. Take a look at some of your daily “to do” lists. Very
rarely you will check off everything that you planned to do that day.
Now, take a look at your annual plan (if you don’t, please create one
right away) and see if that’s the best you can do in a year. You will
be amazed at what all you can pack in a year with some discipline and
We can distinguish ourselves just by refusing to give in to the temptation of “short term results.”
Next time, when someone asks “What do you do?” think of your lifetime
as the time horizon and try to answer the question. Again, if you have
not thought through this, please don’t try to get an answer to this
question in the next few minutes (short term) it may take a while to
figure this out (long term)