Episode: 122 |
Will Bachman:
5-Decade Time Horizon:


Will Bachman

5-Decade Time Horizon

Show Notes

Adopting a five decade time horizon allows you to make rewarding investments in skills, relationships, knowledge, and your health that a shorter time frame would suggest won’t pay off.

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Will Bachman 00:01
Welcome to Unleashed. I’m your host Will Bachman. In January, I’m posting an episode daily, long form interview episodes on Mondays and shorter episodes on Tuesday through Sunday. Today, I wanted to share a phrase that has guided me for the past 20 years, phrase a repeat to myself each morning, five decade time horizon, we hear a lot about how public companies get too focused on quarterly results, and ought to focus on the longer term, which seems to be the next three to five years. But even three to five years feels to me like a very short term view. And I’ve tried to live my life with a five decade time horizon as my frame of reference, frankly, a four decade or a six decade time horizon would work just as well. But I like the repeated long II sound of five decade time horizon. For me, 100 years is too much of an abstraction, but 50 years is concrete. I can imagine myself in 50 years, and I can imagine my kids in 50 years. And now that I’m 48 years old, it’s getting a little bit optimistic, but it’s not outside the realm of the possible. And I think the phrase would still work for me and in a decade from now, even though it might be a little bit unrealistic for me to think ahead that far, I can imagine five decades out for my kids. And for me, the five decade time horizon is how I frame my investments of time, energy, attention, and money. Consider investments in relationships, and negotiation courses talk about one off transactions versus infinite games. Adopting a five decade time horizon shifts relationships, far in the direction of infinite games. Adam Grant wrote a fine book titled give and take why helping others drives our success. If you give today and expect to take in three months or a year, they’ll have a fairly narrow set of relationships available to invest in. But if you give today and are willing to take some time over the next 50 years, there’s a broader set of people whom you’ll be willing to help. Consider investments in skills. Skill Building is cumulative. You can work hard this year develop a skill, and it won’t yield an immediate return. But when that skill is added to the skills that you develop over the next 10 to 20 years, and become an irreplaceable linchpin. Consider investments in knowledge. Reading one book is nice. Reading one book every week for decades builds up a deep understanding of the world. Rich and layered, that incredibly intelligent people who haven’t been doing the reading just can’t compete with. Consider investments in building your visibility. One blog post one white paper, one podcast, one tweet probably won’t get you noticed. But do that over years and decades. And eventually, you may have earned an audience. Consider investments in your health, physical fitness, mindfulness, parents, siblings, children, same story. Longer term view allows you to justify investments that may involve sacrifices now, but provide satisfactory returns over the longer term. And what I found is that by being willing to take the long view, there are certainly there are some investments that I make that may never pay off. However, I’ve ended up making investments that I might not have made otherwise, that did pay off much sooner than than I expected. If you found this episode helpful, I hope you’ll share it with a friend or two. And if you have art, if you haven’t already signed up already, consider going to Umbrex comm slash Unleashed, where you can sign up to receive the weekly Unleashed email, which included transcript of each episode, book recommendations and consulting tips. Thanks for listening

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