Act Short Term To Build Long Term

People talk about short term and long term all the times. What do they really mean? A famous English economist, John M. Keynes, once said, “In the long run, we are all dead.” That is so true, but it does not help much either.

I think short and long terms will make more sense if we link the two together with the concept of investment. When we do things everyday without thinking about the future, life will become purposeless and meaningless. But when we start thinking about long term, what we do today will suddenly make more sense. Hence, long term makes short term worthwhile even the latter seems unpleasant and difficult. In addition, you build the long term with small short-term efforts that will add up in the future.

If you try to learn something new everyday, you will become a smarter and more capable person. Similarly, improving your job or business skills everyday will build you a better career. You need a consistent effort in the short term to build up some positive long-term results.

Let me recommend some everyday efforts that will bring positive results for the long term: educate yourself, improve your skills, enhance goodwill, cultivate relationships, widen your network, and save a little money if you can. You will be hugely surprised when they bear fruits.

On the negative side, disaster will happen for some short-term actions such as: reckless driving, spending beyond your means, heavy smoking, drinking, gambling, and other bad habits, even though they seem enjoyable at the time.

What about buying stocks and shares? I have already discussed this at length in my videos on Here is the summary:

The stock market is not a place to invest, but to play and reap a reasonable profit whenever possible. Why? Are you aware that the stock market is not a competitive market for investing? Don’t you know whom you are dealing with? Do you buy and play, or do you buy and pray most of the times?

Stock prices dance the waltz or tango. On an uptrend, it goes three steps forward and one step backward, and vice versa on a downtrend. If you just invest for the long term, you will miss all the short-term ups and downs where you can cash out and buy back later at a lower price. All the short-term profits made this way can easily add up to your long-term goal.

Even though you find all the data, you’ll never know how high your stock will reach and how low it can fall, for the market is totally beyond your control. Who do you think control the market? Only a few big players who have plenty of stocks to sell and plenty of cash to buy. The big players are buying and selling heavily in the short term,  and driving the prices as they act. They don’t buy and pray like us. They buy and play. We have to learn to ride the waves they make.

(October 2010)

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