The Laws of Human Nature, Robert Greene’s latest book, adapted these pieces about short-term thinking and how to overcome it. The best way to defeat short-term thinking is to understand the clear signs of short-sighted thinking in our lives. Awareness is the first step. We all plan for long-term, but very few are able to stick to it. According to the author, the 4 most common indications of short-term thinking are:
1) Tactical hell: Our minds are designed for strategic thinking — calculating several moves in advance towards our goals. In tactical hell, you can never raise your perspective high enough to think in that manner. You are constantly reacting to the moves of this or that person, involved in their dramas and emotions, going around in circles. The only solution is to back out.
2) Ticker tape fever: Our attention span decreases as well as our tolerance for any obstacles in our path. First and foremost we must develop patience, which is like a muscle that requires training and repetition to make it strong. Second, when faced with issues that are important, we must have a clear sense of our long-term goals and how to attain them. Finally, one should have faith in time.
3) Unintended consequences: In 19th century India, under British colonial rule, authorities there decided there were too many venomous cobras in the streets of Delhi, making life uncomfortable for the British residents and their families. To solve this they offered a reward for every dead cobra residents would bring in. the result was people were breeding cobras in order to make a living from the bounty.
4) Lost in trivia: Sometimes we lose track of what’s more important, what problems or details require more attention. Our brain has its limits. Assimilating too much information leads to mental fatigue, confusion, and feelings of helplessness. Sometimes you need to delegate — let subordinates handle the information gathering.