It’s easy to take a slice of pie that’s already on the table.
It’s tough to make the same pie bigger.
Growing the pie requires more effort, more sacrifice and more selflessness – but it also yields the best outcomes for the group.
A bigger pie accommodates growth, it builds redundancy into the system, it opens up more possibilities for future action.
When we see others making the hard choice to grow the pie instead of taking a slice, we can either exploit the opportunity created by their effort, or we can pitch in and help.
Choosing to help, to grow the pie and play a non-zero-sum game is tougher for sure, but it should be encouraged and celebrated and practised at every available opportunity.
We’re wired to make short term decisions, by default.
The oldest part of our brain wants us to think selfishly on a short time horizon.
But the impact of our decisions always outlive the immediate situation. There are ALWAYS long term consequences.
The selfish path is faster now, but slower overall.
Even if you’re sprinting today, it’s important to remember that we’re all, always, running a marathon.
The counter intuitive move is to think about how our decisions today will impact tomorrow, next year, the next decade. There is always a larger context to consider, and we will be living in that context one day.
Short term thinking satisfies cravings, but long term thinking satisfies needs.
Taking the time to think long term might not change your short term decision, but it puts that decision within a larger context of cost and benefit.
It allows us to see the impact tomorrow of the choices we make today.
It allows us to play the long game.