It takes ten years of hard work to become famous overnight.


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Editor’s note: Bezos, Musk, Buffett … Where did these particularly successful people succeed? Michael Simmons, who specializes in learning, summarizes the most important point. When most of us look at the problem with a one-dimensional perspective, they look at it with a four-dimensional perspective. One of the least understood dimensions is time. The time frame for these people to examine the problem is very wide, spanning hundreds of years from history to the future. It is precisely because of this long-term thinking that they can jump out of thinking about quick success and focus on long-term success. The original article was published on Medium with the title: Bezos, Musk, & Buffett See The World Differently, Because They See Time Differently. The length of the relationship, we published in two parts, this is the second half

Related reading: Bezos, Musk and Buffett are unique in that they have different views on time (top)

The following is the most comprehensive summary of the transformative impact of long-term thinking that I have learned …

Three reasons why long-term thinking creates miracles

# 1: Looking at the long-term will bring you the advantage of “arbitrage”, because there are a lot of people with short eyes


“If all the things you do need to be completed within a three-year time frame, then you have a lot of competitors. However, if you are willing to 7 years to invest in a time frame, then your opponent will only have a small number of people, because few companies are willing to do so. You only need to extend the time frame, you can engage in jobs that could not be pursuedMake. “

—— Jeff Bezos

The biggest innovation opportunities take many years to reap the rewards, and the chances of success are small. Therefore, many traditional CEOs will not pursue this opportunity. This means that Bezos, Musk and others have encountered less competition in ultra-high-quality investments. This approach has given Amazon, Tesla and SpaceX many years of leadership over other companies.

Let ’s break it down further …

  • In the market of business opportunities, there are always short-term and long-term participants.

  • Short-term participants only seek opportunities for rewards in the short term. And long-term participants are pursuing the best opportunities, whether short-term or long-term.

  • Therefore, long-term participants have more choices.

  • And long-term opportunities are almost always the biggest opportunities.

  • There is little competition for long-term opportunities.

    # 2: There is a long-term time frame that can help you make better decisions


    Long-term thinking can support failures and iterations, and this is needed for invention, which also liberates us and makes us pioneers in the undeveloped field. If you seek immediate satisfaction — or erratic hopes — you will most likely find that there are already a bunch of people in front of you.

    —Jeff Bezos

    One of the most recognized psychologists in history, Philip Zimbardo, a professor at Stanford University, concluded in “The Paradox of Time” that our attitude towards time has produced our lives Profound impact, but this is little known. Our time frame is invisible to us, like water to fish, but it is closely related to how we make decisions and how we succeed.

    After surveying more than 10,000 people with the Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory, Zimbardo found that attitudes to time can be divided into five categories:

    1. People who have a positive attitude towards the past pay attention to the “beautiful past.”

    2. People who have a negative attitude towards the past pay attention to everything that went wrong in the past.

    3. For those who are hedonistic in the present moment, they will seek happiness and avoid pain.

    4. For current fatalists, the decision is meaningless, because “the things that should happen will always happen.”

    5. Future-oriented people will plan for the future and believe their decisions will work.

      Each of these mentalities is like living in a different world. You can probably guess which mindset will produce the best result:


      Future-oriented people tend to achieve greater professional and academic success. They will ensure that they eat well, exercise regularly, and arrange preventive medical examinations. The slogan of future time watchers is “To meet the deadline of tomorrow, you have to finish all the necessary work before you start playing tonight.” Future time watchers view work as a special pleasure . Anticipation of tomorrow ’s profit and loss drives today ’s decisions and actions.

      When facing the challenge of solving the maze problem as quickly as possible, the response of the current-oriented person is very different from that of the future-oriented person.


      The current director will immediately start to pick up a pencil and walk around the maze. In the beginning, the future directors have no movement at all. They will look for the target, and then go back to the starting point to check the dead end along the way. The winner will always be the future leader.

      Summary: Our “time frame” determines our decision. Our decision determines our destiny .

      # 3: Long-term thinking can harness the power of compound

      As we all know, Einstein called compound interest the eighth wonder of the world. Warren Buffett said compound interest was one of the three factors that contributed to his success.

      If we have been doing the right thing consistently for a long time, the future we want will become more and more inevitable, because our actions will have a compound impact over time.

      Like a small snowball rolling down from the mountain, every rotation, it will slowly accumulate a little more snow and finally turn into a huge snowball:


      Alternatively, if you give momentum to allow it to recombine itself, a small piece of domino can eventually knock down a huge piece of domino:

      The world ’s largest domino collapse world history ever Recorded, 2009.

      With snowballs and dominoes, the ending is inevitable.

      When you first calculate compound interest, you do n’t see the benefits of compound interest. At the beginning, your results are closely related to your efforts, but in the end, interest will do almost all the work for you.

      The power of compound interest takes time to show

      When we understand the incredible power of financial compound interest, most of us will understand the power of compounding, but in fact it applies to any field where a positive feedback loop occurs for a long time, for example: br>

      • Learn

      • Interpersonal relationship

      • Business strategy

      • Health

        Regarding compounding, the following chart reflecting the market value of Amazon since its listing in 1997 is one of the best examples:

        Changes in Amazon ’s market value

        In the past few years, Amazon ’s market value has more than doubled. In other words, in the past few years, the value of Amazon’s growth is equal to the sum of the past 20 years! !

        All in all, the long-term strategy can bring you three core benefits …

        1. Give you the advantage of “arbitrage”

        2. Help you make better decisions

        3. Can use the power of compound

          In summary, these three benefits suggest that long-term thinking may be the basic Archimedes lever for creating success, health, self-ambition, and influential life. Without it, the likelihood that you want to own any of them will decrease.

          But to fully understand the power of long-term thinking, it is important to understand the dangers of short-term thinking.

          We are born with a tendency to think in the short term. This can help us in the short term, but it will destroy us in the long term.

          In a TED speech, the late and famous Harvard professor Clayton Christensen shared a story with the audience, which perfectly captured this situation:

          As Christensen said, when he graduated from Harvard Business School, all his classmates had ambitious plans, and all wanted to make an impact and succeed. At the beginning of the classmate gathering, everything seemed to be on track. Everyone is sharing their successes.

          However, as time passed, he noticed something surprising. The lives of those people are getting worse on many levels:

          • They are divorced

          • They are estranged from their children

          • Some people even get into trouble because of fraud

          • They are not in good health

            Christensen explained the reason:


            Everyone here is eager to achieve something. When you have a little more energy or an extra 30 minutes, you will instinctively and subconsciously allocate it to any activity in life that can provide the most direct evidence of your achievements.

            In other words, his classmates are caught in short-term thinking .

            The second sentence here created Christensen ’s world-renowned job, which is to explain the world ’s most successful company with billions of dollars in banks and employing the world ’s smartest minds , Why is it often subverted by startups-in theory, this kind of thing will never happen:


            Successful companies fail because they invest in what provides the most direct and tangible evidence of achievement. The reason why their time frame is so short is because they are managed by people like you and me (people who focus on achievements).

            I shared my own experience in “The Ambitious Man Can Be Very Candid about Work-Life Balance”, because of short-term thinking that caused me to sink into a trough.

            At a certain age, I have been fully devoted to success. As a result, I sacrificed my health, vitality, and even marriage was almost destroyed. After the ordeal was over, I accepted another philosophy of life and put more energy on the small gains that can be accumulated for a long time, instead of sprinting and consuming energy frequently.

            When the time range of our thinking is short, the activities we do have the following reward characteristics:

            At first glance, the trade-offs are obvious

            For example, if you have a short-sighted diet, the following will happen …

            Temporary sweetness will regret lifelong

            When we look long-term, it looks like this:

            Looking long enough, the return will far exceed the cost

            It will be a bit painful at first, but the rewards will be much greater in the future.

            Another way to visualize the impact of short-term thinking is the so-called “greedy algorithm” in mathematics. The greedy algorithm is always to grasp the best short-term opportunities in front of you to optimize. This algorithm is good at achieving the so-called “local maximum”, but not good at obtaining the global maximum. It can help you win small wins, but you cannot achieve big wins.

            You ca n’t win a big victory just by looking at your eyes

            The animation below is from Brilliant. In the picture, the greedy algorithm tries to find the path with the largest sum. The idea is to choose the largest available number at each step. So, when 3 and 12 were in front of it at the beginning, it chose 12. After all, 12 is 4 times 3.

            However, the greedy algorithm cannot find the largest sum, because every step it takes is based on the information in the hand and does not consider the overall situation to make a decision. In this case, the best way is to go to 3 first, because you can get 99 in the next step. Choosing 12 will result in choosing 5 or 6 in the next step.

            The greedy algorithm cannot achieve global optimal

            What impact does this have on life?

            In order to have the greatest impact in the long term, we must slow down in the short term. Contrary to intuition, sometimes retreating is to move forward better. For example …

            • It ’s better to avoid arguments than quality.

            • It ’s better to devote directly to a skill instead of focusing on the foundation and slowly improving through deliberate practice.

            • It ’s better to focus on the deadline than to slow down and learn enough.

            • Before you experience the real consequences, you do n’t have to choke the problem to the bud.

            • In the short term, increasing coffee intake and reducing sleep will feel more efficient.

              In each of these situations, if you follow your feelings, you will end up in trouble. We must find a way that is always counterintuitive.

              Use this 5-hour principle to play long-term games

              Having realized the power of long-term thinking is half the battle. The other half is to make it a habit.

              In this regard, I suggest that you can follow the famous 5-hour principle . Spend at least one hour a day on workdays to study without exception. It is important to have a “no excuses” principle, because you can always encounter compelling reasons that you are too busy to continue. Don’t listen to them.

              Invest your time in learning activities, such as …

              • Read good books and learn mental models

              • Reflect on the lessons you learned

              • Try a new company, new habits, new ideas

                Slowly, the value of this habit will grow exponentially, thus changing your life …

                Set axils into fur

                The difference between Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and Bill Gates is not that they succeeded before they started learning. The reason is that they started learning without utilitarianism many years before they became famous in the world.

                In the final analysis, the phrase “It takes ten years of hard work to become famous overnight” is correct. We must be willing to grope in the dark now so that we can shine in the future.

                Translator: boxi