The Peril Of Short Term Decisions
As you are listening to this, you might be getting ready to make a short-term decision. Something that’s gonna help you today but it’s gonna hurt you in the future. It might be as simple and noble as going to a job that pays you enough money to get by, but the sacrifice of putting those 8 to 10 hours into the business that you’ve been putting off. But the one you’ve been dying to work on. And people that find themselves consistently struggling are the ones that are constantly making short-term decisions. Eating the burger on the run because you’re too rushed because you didn’t have the time is a constant short-term decision. Buying the house or the car before you’re financially ready is another. The long road to failure is paved with small bricks from the short-term decisions that we are constantly making.
The problem with the short-term decision is it doesn’t usually feel bad when we do it. And quite the opposite, it usually feels good in the moment when we do it. Very few people when they are having that extra scoop of ice cream are thinking this is gonna make me so sluggish in three months. In four months, I’m gonna gain a couple more pounds. In six months, I still won’t be going to the gym because these decisions that I am making daily that are sapping my energy, that are gaining weight on my body and that are tightening up my joints that are making everything feel uncomfortable. But when feel uncomfortable in the moment. It’s something that I start getting used to and I forget how good it used to feel.
We never think about that in the short term. When we’re going to the job and we’re saying that I’ve got to pay the bills, are we thinking this is benefiting me today but this is not benefiting me three years now. And if I don’t make a radical change, if I don’t do something, if I don’t take action on something, I am gonna be doing the same thing or worse three years from now. If you think that you’re gonna continue to go through that and feel better three years from now, you better think again because I can tell you it does not get better unless you make the change.
I can only talk about this because I’m the king of making short-term decisions that hurt me in the long run. I think back to when I was going away to college and if you read my book when I have my photo equipment stolen, I was a couple months away from going back to college with little to no money. And because of the decisions that I’ve made in the past, because of not being good with my money, because of not working and saving the way that I should have, I put myself in the spot. So, knowing that I needed money, I started going through the valuable things that I had and to see what I can sell off so that I can at least have some money when I was at school. And I came upon my baseball card collection which I hadn’t seen in years. For the most part it wasn’t the most valuable collection of cards but I did have one gem and it was a Wayne Gretzky rookie hockey card. It was the 1979, 1980 rookie card of Gretzky, it was the O-Pee-Chee version, which is a very rare one and we got it in hockey cards that we purchase as kids with my brother and my dad. We collected them all and we kept them in a binder and we never really did anything about it.
So whenever we would joke about money or I would need money, my dad will always say “We always got the Wayne Gretzky card to go back on.” And Dad if you are listening to this story, you are going to cringe a little bit because I brought my case of hockey cards and football cards and baseball cards to a souvenir shop in New York about a week before I left for school. As you can imagine I was desperate. Any money was good money at that point and I didn’t want to go my parents asking for money. So I took the big case in there and I showed it to the guy and he lift through everything and he saw the Gretzky card. I knew he was interested, but either had a great poker face or I overvalued the worth of this card. I was hoping to get about thousand dollars for this card and he looked at me and he said “I’ll give you $600 for everything.” As much as I was not happy with the offer, I didn’t have very many other options because I was leaving and I need the money so I accepted it. I hand over the cards including the Wayne Gretzky rookie card which I’d valued and treasured and walked away with $600 in cash.
I knew even then with the money in my hand and I didn’t feel great about what had just happened. But about a week later I went to school, I imagine not long after that all the money was gone and life went on. I hadn’t thought about it. It didn’t affect me going forward anymore. It didn’t affect my day-to-day activity. It was just the decision I made but it was a short-term decision that I made. I never collected hockey cards or baseball cards or football cards after that even before that I haven’t collected them for years. But every time I would see my dad, when they come to visit or I visit them, for some reason, so often, My dad would mention “We’ve got that Wayne Gretzky rookie card” and I would have to smile or have to nod, and just pretend like I still did because I didn’t tell him the truth.
I never had the courage to even look up how much that card was worth at this point. Ironically, as I was at school spending that money, Wayne Gretzky retired from the New York Rangers and there was a huge ceremony for his retirement, the greatest hockey player that ever lived. And there was a pit in my stomach knowing I know I gave something away that was very valuable for a very small price. So I avoided thinking about it, I avoided thinking what I threw away but as I prepared to record this podcast, I finally did it and I finally looked up the value of that card. And I came upon an article by a guy named Robert McLean from 2016 and here’s the headline “Wayne Gretzky Rookie card sells for record $465,000” and that is not a typo. Now when I go to eBay and I looked at the cards, they’re for sale for $25,000 or $15,000 or $20,000, sometimes a little bit lower and sometimes a little bit higher. So I’m not sure what’s so special about that particular one that sold for almost a half million dollars. I would imagine by the way that I handled my cards that it wasn’t in mint condition and it wouldn’t be half a million dollars. So I don’t want to dramatize that.
But regardless I sold away possibly a $25,000 trading card for less than $600 because I was desperate and I made a short-term decision and I think so many of us are doing that daily. I think by you getting up and going to a job you don’t want to go to, a job that gives you no energy, no passion, no excitement, just for the money today when you have dreams and passions to do something else with this life. You’re crushing your future with your short-term decisions. And I’m not saying to run out and go quit your job today but I think that could be great because it will actually force you to do something. It will force you to take action. You can no longer align the status quo and the normal to get by. And I possibly sold half a million-dollar card for $600 but I think you’re selling half million-dollar idea every day, tomorrow for the money that you are gonna make in that same day. Because if you had the freedom to do what you wanted to do and you can brainstorm in your dreams and you could put those dreams into action, the sky is the limit.
So, do me a favor and stop making short-term decisions. When you go to do something, tell yourself “What would myself in 10 years say about this decision?” cause I can tell you if my 36-year-old self would have walked into that door, he would have grab that case of cards and ran outdoors quickly as possible and said “go deliver pizzas, go scrub car windows that are going by, but do something else besides selling off some that can be so beneficial to your future and to your family’s future for a short term gain.
So I hope this inspires you to think a little bit differently for tomorrow, for yourself, for your life and for your family and I will be back with you tomorrow