Playing the long game
NOTE: I wrote this post in January, way before the shelter at home started. I kept moving it out. I think it’s time to now. I haven’t made many changes. I think you’ll notice how much the world has changed by reading this. But the long game is very, very important right now.
A couple years of years ago, Jordan and I started playing a practical joke that took months and months to roll out. We anonymously created a fan page for one of our friends. We periodically made wacky, hysterical posts. It got the right amount of attention. We let it unfold and it was hilarious. It was about a year before we finally revealed that we were behind it, and it was so worth it. That’s one way to play the long game.
I’ve noticed that I really have to pay attention to play the long game.
There’s so much external pressure to get fast results, next day shipping, express service, instant relief, overnight success. We want it now – whatever “it” is – and we begin to expect it. Okay, sure, when you have a splitting headache, instant relief is pretty nice. But I’ve found that overnight shipping is pretty much the same as an online impulse buy.
But when I think about it there are some pretty satisfying long games going on in my life – my garden, months of rehearsals in preparation for a concert, writing a book, my commitment to this blog, planning family vacations, to name just a few. Those are actually some of the most satisfying things in my life.
…Which reminds me that playing the long game is actually how we achieve most of the results we want to see. The long game doesn’t usually require dramatic, heroic or excessive action, pain or struggle. It requires consistency, commitment and probably some habits.
Doing a few little things for a long time does make a difference. Whether you want to reduce your environmental impact on the planet, become more flexible, clean out your closets, learn a new language or make progress on a social justice cause, you can make a big difference by doing small things consistently. By playing the long game.
Sometimes it is so easy to be discouraged by all the things that need doing in our lives and in the world. Sometimes we believe that if we can’t do everything, we can’t really do anything meaningful. We are so tempted to do nothing.
I remind myself to play the long game; to do many little things consistently, mindfully.
Love is in the little things.
Many hands make light work.
I believe in the ripple effect.
Small habits make big impacts.
All of these lead to long game skills.
Of course, some things are urgent and require big action. I happen to know that I am not truly capable of managing big actions on everything that I think is important. But it doesn’t have to be all or nothing, because I can play the long game on some things.
And remember: in all things – progress, not perfection!
Love and light, Maggie
p.s. The colors are changing. The onion is coming – The Rainbow Onion.
The Rainbow Onion is my next book. It’s about Color Thinking. And Hope. And Transformation. I’m going to need a book launch team. If you’re interested in finding out more, let me know.
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