Long term philosophy, How your actions determine your consequences and thus your destiny

Actions and Consequences

Long term philosophy is a principled approach that requires us to always put short term gains at a lower priority than our long term vision.

“Humankind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return. To obtain something of equal value must be lost.”

-Full Metal Alchemist

That’s the law of equivalence quoted by a Japanese anime called Full metal alchemist that was my favorite growing up.

The law is profound and resembles the law of nature(Law of conservation of mass and energy) which says in an isolated system mass and energy can neither be created nor be destroyed. They are just redistributed.

How is it relevant to us? To know that we need to see our lives through the lens of equivalent exchange. Our actions and choices that we make each day result in most of the circumstances that surround us.

What that means is that we are responsible for the situations we presently find ourselves with. One change in action years back might have landed us in a completely different spot today than we are now.

Say for example if you chose a different college, decided to live in a different city. Chose a different career or job years back. Our circumstances reflect our past decisions similarly our actions today have the biggest impact on our circumstances in the future.

What actions are we talking about? There was a marshmallow experiment that was done to study the choices people made.

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The results showed that the people that chose the option that had delayed gratification on an average do better in life than the people that choose instant gratification.

Toyota’s Perspective and the principle of long term philosophy

In the book 14 principles of Toyota way, the author describes their first principle as a dedication to long term philosophy.

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Toyota way principle 1 Base your management decisions on a long-term philosophy even at the expense of short-term financial goals.
as the author elaborates on this principle he gives away golden words of wisdom-

“Be responsible. Strive to decide your fate. Act with self-reliance and trust in your abilities. Accept responsibility for your conduct and maintain and improve skills that enable you to produce added value.”

Toyota Way

Imagine what would be possible if we could internalize these words in our lives. This simple principle shows us a very difficult path to follow. One that needs immense grit and determination. Why do I say that?

This is because to follow through on just this first principle of The Toyota way we will need to choose the option that gives us delayed gratification every time the choice is given to us.

The world today has had an explosive pace of growth in technology and our brains have not been able to catch up to it. Our brain needs much more time to evolve and adapt to the fast-paced and distractive nature of stimulus it receives every second.

With any information you can think of being a finger tap away on a screen we have the choice to give ourselves a shot of dopamine all the time every day.

Such excess of instant gratification choices makes it hard for us to even keep our focus let alone go down the path of dedicated action.

A flux of knowledge and information

It gets worse. See all information and knowledge in the world is connected. It’s in flux and humans have classified it and separated it but in the real world, everything is applicable.

Let’s think of it in terms of an example. I love playing the game of football. (IT’S NOT SOCCER ITS FOOTBALL)

When you play the game your skills matter a lot. At the same time, your physique matters too, ie your stamina and speed. But what matters, even more, is to be calm and collected.

Hence mindset matters a lot if you want to win. It’s important to work as a cohesive unit and thus teamwork is essential.

It’s important to know the people you play with and their nature to motivate them and cover their mistakes and thus people skills and leadership matters as well.

You need to have some knowledge of physics if you need to spin the ball in the air with your kick like R.carlos. It’s important to even know the rules and the legal side of the game so you can use those to your advantage.

When you begin considering these things you realize that football is not just a game of kicking a ball with your feet and knowledge is not segregated in classified fields. Its application is an interdisciplinary approach to things in real-time.

Intensity vs Consistency, how long term philosophy is the shortest way to success

Just like the game of football our habits and mindset have a flux about them too. When we begin to take an approach in one sector of our life our subconscious retains it in other areas of our lives.

If we prioritize decisions that give us immediate pleasure and do not focus our efforts on doing what’s best in the long run we cultivate a habit. That habit then begins to impact all areas of our lives and are reflected in our choices.

Our brain gets used to the immediate pleasure response and the things that feel bad in the short term say exercise falls so much in priority that we can’t seem to stick to our regimens.

We might feel motivated one day and study for 15 hours straight but the truth is that will never help us achieve greatness in our life.

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“Long-term consistency beats short-term intensity.”

Bruce Lee

Stephen Covey refers to it as the law of the farm. The law of the farm dictates that progress and growth can only be achieved through consistency.

Just like a little work every day during an agriculture season results in great produce. One can’t replace that by working the same no of hours over a month. The crops won’t grow in a month no matter how fertile the land is.
Consistency is among the most incredible force within our grasp.

Why is consistency so valuable?

This is because of the compounding effect of decisions. This is explained much more elaborately in a book called The compound effect by Darren Hardy.

Mr. Hardy explains that by acting consistently in a principled approach we begin to compound the positive consequences of our actions and they begin to spill into other areas of our lives. Let’s look at this with an example.

Compounding in action. How consistent actions based on a long term philosophy give exponential results.

If you wake up early in the morning. Say you meditate and go through your morning routine. You are much more prepared for your day.

You get ready for the work and since you have ample time left you to give everything one last briefing. This significantly improves your performance throughout your day.

Since you performed better in the job you stay in a positive mood throughout and when you reach back home you spend quality time with your family.

The same day could have compounded in negative consequences had you stayed up late and woke up say just 30 minutes to the office time.

A similar example might be exercise. The act of going to a gym or for a jog feels bad at the moment however once you start going regularly you begin to see growth in your capabilities.

You feel much more energetic throughout the day even if you have a lot of work throughout. Since you regularly exercise you are much likely to adopt healthy eating habits.

Being regular at exercising you are much more likely to be in contact with people that encourage you to stick to a healthy regimen and even push you past the limitations you thought you had. You are much less likely to waste time that might have been spent sleeping at home instead you keep working towards growth.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit”

Will Durant

Consistency in acts that focus on long term vision build our habits and provide us with a momentum that results in excellence in the field we pursue.

In Conclusion

Rather than a mindset of searching for talents within us, we should work on our skills with a growth mindset. If we chose actions based on instant gratification we would have felt really good at the moment.

However, that feeling dies off as soon as it comes. By cultivating the habits of working despite our moods and feelings we overcome the pain and resistance we feel at that moment.

This consistency of our actions, when compounded over the years, helps us achieve excellence in the field of our endeavors.

We urge you to explore what your callings are. Do you possess the courage to chase them? We provide a free ebook called The perfect beginning that might help you in finding those callings.

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Well, that’s all for this post. Have a good day and a good life.