I’m confident that I’m accumulating “pieces” that will ultimately compound
. Just like my articles. Every single one I write feels “ignored” at first. Then, slowly, views accumulate and people start sharing the link around. As this happens, the impact is amplified by the internal links. More people get to discover my articles, my newsletter, my posts, and my products. It’s the wonderful effect of the flywheels
The negative feelings that arise as a result of the short-term lack of success are linked to the fact that we tend to hope for immediate success. We hope for immediate growth, immediate sales, immediate fame, and fortune. These illusions make us feel bad needlessly. They also push us to act rashly and make bad decisions.
I think it’s way more interesting to focus on long-term trends than on short-term variations.
For me, playing the long game is all about people and communities. I want to help “my people” be successful. And that means you. I want you all to succeed. I want to share whatever I know, whatever I learn, and whatever you need to move forward with your goals. In practice, that means giving away my time and energy for you. That means answering your questions on Slack, through Twitter DMs, via e-mails, etc. That means writing more articles to explain interesting concepts that can be useful to you. It also means creating new products that help you be more productive, more knowledgeable, better organized, etc. It means sharing as much as I can.
In summary, it means doing whatever is in my power to help you. And that starts with understanding. Because I can’t possibly help if I don’t know what you need most, or what’s the best thing I can do to bring value to you.
Playing the long game is also aiming for eventual reciprocity (thanks to Arvid Kahl for coining this term
). This idea that someday
, somehow, you’ll think about me in return. You’ll share a link with your friends. You’ll buy a product from me. You’ll read the books I wrote. In short, you’ll be there for me, too.
Playing the long game feels much more interesting and valuable to me. I prefer to build long-lasting relationships that bring a lot of mutual value over time than making a quick buck by selling to a stranger that will never even care about who I am.