The following quote is from Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon and one of the richest men in the world:
“I very frequently get the question: ‘What’s going to change in the next 10 years?’ And that is a very interesting question; it’s a very common one. I almost never get the question: ‘What’s not going to change in the next 10 years?’ And I submit to you that that second question is actually the more important of the two — because you can build a business strategy around the things that are stable in time. … [I]n our retail business, we know that customers want low prices, and I know that’s going to be true 10 years from now. They want fast delivery; they want vast selection. It’s impossible to imagine a future 10 years from now where a customer comes up and says, ‘Jeff I love Amazon; I just wish the prices were a little higher,’ [or] ‘I love Amazon; I just wish you’d deliver a little more slowly.’ Impossible. And so the effort we put into those things, spinning those things up, we know the energy we put into it today will still be paying off dividends for our customers 10 years from now. When you have something that you know is true, even over the long term, you can afford to put a lot of energy into it.”
When starting World Poetry Open Mic in late 2012, we (and by that, I mean J Todd Underhill (who is no longer on the show), JT Gunter, and myself) focused on what would make the show a great experience for the listener. We weren't developing the show for any reasons of self gratification or ego-based nonsense. We weren't even developing the show based on the technology that we had available, which caused a few problems. The focus was entirely on creating something that wouldn't change. Something that we could do for the next 25 years.
Now, in March of 2018 as I record this, we have moved through multiple iterations of the show, eventually leaving our original radio station deal and going independent, and more. We've moved segments around, changed the rules several times, yet have always held fast to what won't change. Our goal has always been the same: to create a welcoming and fun community where poets can interact and share their work with each other. Everything else has been used to achieve that goal.
Dan Sullivan, entrepreneur and founder of Strategic Coach, often speaks of making a 25 year commitment part of taking on any new endeavor. One, the gravity of the decision seems to loom larges in front of you, making easy and blithe paths harder to say "yes" to, but it also has the effect of changing how you think about your commitment itself.
How differently would you conduct your life if you were to make a 25 year commitment to the path you are on? What might you remove from life? What would you add?
Focus on what won't change, not the transitory and short term gains that so many follow. This has fundamentally changed my life and I'm willing to bet that, if employed in your own, a similar effect will show itself.