If you’re like me and have become wickedly tired of a world that is utterly addicted to freneticism, you look for coping strategies anywhere possible.
Sometimes those tactics come in the form of a well-rounded book. Dorie Clark’s latest Wall Street Journal best-selling manuscript, “The Long Game: How to Be a Long-Term Thinker in a Short-Term World,” does just that.
Early in the book, Clark writes: “Playing the long game – eschewing short-term gratification in order to work toward an uncertain but worthy future goal – isn’t easy. But it’s the surest path to meaningful and lasting success in a world that, so often, prioritizes what’s easy, quick – and ultimately shallow.”
Here, here, I say.
“The Long Game” is not only a helpful guide to help you get serious about your future, but it also provides multiple real-world life examples that Clark has initiated throughout her lifetime. From saying no to an opportunity in Grand Cayman to carving out time to write a Broadway musical (Absolute Zero) to pushing her way into the ideas conference Renaissance Weekend, Clark layers the book with multiple personal stories that have helped her become the force and thinker she is today.
It doesn’t end there, of course. Through multiple interviews and insights from people other than Clark—including leaders and practitioners such as Ron Carucci, Kara Cutruzzula, Tanvi Gautam and Dave Crenshaw—“The Long Game” also provides tips and techniques from others that also have found a way to carve out a successful long-term career by being long-term thinkers.
I sat down with her to discuss the book. (Watch the full interview below.)
During our interview, I asked questions about two chapters from the book in particular, as well as the Coda.
Chapter 7 is titled “The Right People, the Right Rooms,” and it’s here that Clark points out that networking with others can be one of the single most extraordinary habits that help you achieve long-term success. In our interview, Clark said, “When it comes to changing the course of your outcomes, other people are one of the biggest factors that contribute to that.”
She states that “acquaintances” can be equally as important to your long-term success as those that are within your close or direct network. Furthermore, Clark introduces a somewhat new type of networking: infinite horizon networking. I found it fascinating.
Infinite horizon networking, as Clark describes, is a “pure, no-agenda relationship building” type of networking. It’s about having zero goals or expectations in the relationship, where you’re building the connecting simply out of personal interest in them as a person. The concept here is that you just never know if your paths may cross at some point in the future where something completely organic may come to fruition. It’s a beautiful example of having acquaintances while behaving like a long-term thinker. You just never know.
Chapter 9 is titled “Rethink Failure,” where Clark points out that if you’re only vested in the short term, your failures will further exacerbate a negative mindset. And if you get mired in failure, you’re less likely to make more attempts, which is a symptom of short-term thinking. So why is this an issue? As she states:
“You have to be excellent, and you need at-bats. Because in the short term, you may be rejected for a million reasons that have nothing to do with you. In the long term, though, the statistics are on your side: success comes when you make enough attempts.”
The Coda of “The Long Game” nicely summarizes three critical aspects of successful long-term thinkers. Those characteristics are being independent, curious, and resilient.
Independence is about being true to yourself. Stop saying yes to everything and be “willing to place my bet regardless of what others think” while equally being willing to do the work.
To be curious is to ponder alternatives while watching how we are spending our free time. Curiosity affords us a roadmap that is long, winding and creative to our success.
Failure is good! When we operate with a resilient mindset, we know that when something doesn’t work out the very first time or “the way you originally envisioned it,” there is learning in those failures that help us with our long game. So, in sum, get more “at-bats” and don’t be afraid to fail.
Pick up a copy of “The Long Game,” and you will open your mind to becoming a better long-term thinker.
Check out 4th book, “Lead. Care. Win. How to Become a Leader Who Matters.” Amy. C. Edmondson of Harvard Business School calls it “an invaluable roadmap.” There’s also a self-paced online leadership development masterclass available. Nearly 100 videos across nine practical leadership lessons.