Are you sure that’s the best way to go about it? Like, really sure?
I get it - it feels like the thing to do.
You choose missing out on certain things in order to build something for the future.
“Always play the long game” is great advice in business.
But does it apply to your personal life? Does it apply to EVERY goal? Does it apply to your family?
This is where the water gets murky.
I think about my kids in this context. If you don’t have kids, this same framework applies to your long term health, or possibly even your relationship with your parents.
Like you, I want an amazing future for my children.
A future where they are healthy, happy adults who spend a few hours each week taking their wrinkled father out to lunch and maybe the movies and maybe even ice cream. And maybe one of them marries someone nice who likes to golf and drink with his father-in-law despite the relentless reflection of the afternoon summer sun off his sweating hairless head.
That’s why I have to work instead of spending more time with them. That’s why I can’t participate in another tea party for Baby Pluto’s “birthday” again today. That’s why I need them to LEAVE ME ALONE for the next 2 hours on Sunday afternoon while I get this work done.
I’m building something for their future!
We can give them better opportunities and a better...inheritance. Maybe even impact GENERATIONS to come!
But wait...is that actually true? Or, is it the story we tell ourselves? How we justify our own goals and the need to prove something or stroke our ego.
While driving to work the other day it hit me. The roof of my car was ripped away by the velocity and mass of the lightbulb that flew out of my head.
I’m 36 years old. Like you, I have parents. And, I know what things make me happy and fulfilled.
When my youngest daughter reaches the age of 36, I will be 69.
In which future is she a healthier, happier adult?
The one where she has a few million dollars in the bank from her father, who died of a heart attack in his early fifties after thinking of her as a distraction during her childhood.
The one where she has a living father that spent a lot of time playing with her as a child.
Before you quit your job and go buy more damn stuffed animals so Baby Pluto really has a rager tomorrow, think it through. In which future is she more capable taking care of herself, a better parent that raises happier children, impacting GENERATIONS to come?
I also believe this: It doesn’t have to be black and white.
You can be ambitious AND be present with your children. You can structure your life in a way that allows a version of both. But you will come across challenges.
There will be forks in the road. Make sure the one you choose includes second order consequences that lead to the future you actually want, not the one that just sounds good at first glance.
"Always play the long game" is great advice in your personal life too, as long as you know what winning actually looks like.
Otherwise, your daughter will be taking some other old ass guy thirty years her senior out to ice cream, whom she doesn’t love, but married anyway because she has daddy issues.