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Short Term GAIN, Long Term PAIN!

I have had quite a few conversations lately with the leaders in my organization about this idea. Often I see people make decisions that satisfy their most immediate need, or more accurately… desire. They, however, may not realize or choose to ignore the fact that immediate decisions can cause more pain in the long run. Often we need to face short-term pain and be patient with the process at hand and invest in actions that will make life better in the long run.

I think most people operate this way. When in times of plenty, we spend and buy, with no thought for a rainy day. I remember making the decision not to return to UNLV in my senior year of college because I had my first child and my current job was paying well and had great potential. I wanted to make more money and not worry about juggling school and work, so I didn’t go back. Rather than deal with the short-term pain! of finishing my education (only one year left) and the long-term gain of having completed my bachelor’s degree, I went for the short-term gain of working full time. It was great at the time, I had more time and could focus on what I wanted then. I only delayed and increased the pain by going for the short-term gain. About 7 years later, it was a different story. I was unemployed. It seemed that no one would hire someone who didn’t have a degree. I had to go back to school, this time with 4 kids and a lot more responsibilities. I did it because I believe that if you need to do something, you just do it. You find a way and you make it happen. No excuses just find a way to make it better. If there is a problem, fix it…but I digress.

This is easier said than done, and that is why so many struggle to save money. It is too easy to buy the most recent thing(s) and put off saving till later. When looking at situations, try to decide what is best. Always think “what is the best investment for the future I want?” Jerry Rice said, “Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can’t.” I believe you could change this to today I will do what others won’t so tomorrow I can have what others don’t. By the way, I am not just talking about material things here. I am talking about all aspects of life.

Relationships for example. Often we don’t deal with troubles in our relationships until they are so frustrating that we blow up and make the situation worse. This is long-term pain catching up with us.

As a parent, I spend a lot of time on this with my children. I teach them how to avoid real pain by doing what seems hard in the moment. My son, for example, struggled at the first of this year, his grades were the lowest they had ever been. He is a great smart kid and it was out of character for him to struggle with school. After some long discussions and some pushback by him, we settled on a plan that he would study for a minimum of an hour each day regardless if he had homework or not. The coolest thing has happened. Even though it bugged him to study when he didn’t ‘have to,’ he did it. His GPA is now at 3.5, and he and I are so happy with the results.  He still gets plenty of time to be a kid and have fun but he takes care of the hard stuff first. He makes me very proud.

By handling things right away, and in the right way we not only make tomorrow better but it relieves stress and allows us to stop that ‘thing’ from weighing us down. As a mentor once said to me, “don’t let that rent space in your head.” I have a friend that often makes the decision to delay handling something because he doesn’t want to deal with it, or it is too painful to handle right away. It always makes things worse for him in the long run. Plus it stresses him out to wonder what will happen when things eventually do culminate.

So if you find yourself sleeping that extra 10 minutes in the morning and you are consistently late…or if you wait to discuss important issues with your spouse or children until there is a fight…or if you find yourself stressed to the max because a decision or the lack of a decision made your life crazy or painful…or if you are calling the credit card company to extend your credit line so you can buy one more thing! Make the decision to change right now. There are enough leaky pipes, overflowing toilets, and car issues, and life problems to go around. Quit making decisions based on short-term gains that cause more stress in your life. Invest in the future you want. It is worth it.



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