Extend the Timeline: Jeff Bezos’ Advice on Becoming More Competitive

written by  Ryan Seamons

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Patterns Newsletter #063: Extend the Timeline to Become More Competitive

“If everything you do needs to work on a three-year time horizon, then you’re competing against a lot of people. But if you’re willing to invest on a seven-year time horizon, you’re now competing against a fraction of those people, because very few companies are willing to do that.”

― Jeff Bezos

When considering investments, extending the timeline reduces competition. Focusing on the longer-term is Warren Buffett’s “secret” to success in investing. It’s not a complicated secret to follow, but it does take a different mindset and some discipline.

And this can apply to investments in your personal development as well. Just as Bezos says about companies, very few individuals are willing to invest in a longer time horizon. 

Whenever things get hard or the right path takes time for me, I smile and remember that doing hard things means that others are less likely to follow. That difficulty is part of building and discovering value.

For anyone thinking “well, it would be great to have the luxury of investing on a 7-year timeline”, there are still chances to find more value through long-term thinking. Even with short-term pressures, taking a small amount of time to consider what you would do differently given a longer timeline can have a positive impact on your current actions.

Important Note: Bezos doesn’t talk about planning for 7 years … he talks about investing. Planning and investing are different. 7-year plans (or even 3-year plans) are useless (#COVID). 

Question to consider

Where in your life (work, personal development, family) could a step back to consider long-term investment be helpful? 

How would that part of your life be different given a changed perspective of time to invest?

About the Author

Ryan Seamons
writes about more human approaches to modern management.

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