When you make decisions do you think about the short term and long term effects of them? Does it matter?
The money game I’m playing this month is making me think about things in my life in a different way. Each day we’re given an imaginary amount of money which is double that we received yesterday. It has to be spent on imaginary items in whichever way you choose. You can give it away if you like, or spend it on yourself, on others. The only thing you can’t do is save it or buy stocks and shares.
Today, I have £2560 to spend. I can choose to buy a few things, (some days my family who are also playing have bought a few items), or a single item. On my walk this morning I was tossing around the idea of paying for car repairs and upkeep for the next year, or buying web developer time and a piece of software for the Awakening Horizons website that I believe will give us a good foundation to grow everything my partner and I have discussed these past few months. In other words future proof the website so we’re not constantly updating and making amendments.
So, my choice the way my brain twisted and turned this morning was on a resource I use now versus a foundation for growth.
Interesting isn’t it? What would you do?
Short term or long term. What’s better?
We live right now and make choices now that effect our future. Yet we need to eat now. We need to have a place to live and feel safe. We may choose to wear clothes and shoes. We may choose to have some form of transportation to get around.
We may also choose education. This benefits now and the future. I’m sure you know the saying,
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
Do we have to sacrifice something now to invest in our future? Not always, but with my choice today that’s what I was thinking. Do I get the car fixed today, or do I spend it on the foundation of growth for the business?
When I visited Malawi last year I learnt that many people DO have to make those choices on a daily basis – do I buy food for my family, or do I support my child to go to school? Primary education became free to everyone a few years ago, but secondary education has to be paid for by the family. It’s equivalent to about £10 a term at the current exchange rate. A relatively small amount in my world, but a fortune for many in the village I stayed in. There’s also those children who need to live away from home as there’s no secondary school they can travel to on a daily basis. There are often more costs involved, but the basic cost is about £90 a term for these boarders.
I knew then that supporting the education of children and families in this area would be beneficial to their own and their country’s future development, so I’m clear that investing in education now is an important thing to do. But was that because the amount of money felt so small at the time? Would I still think that if it cost £1,000 or £10,000 a term for each child?
This isn’t about money though is it? We all make choices everyday which effect other people and our planet.
We can choose to buy products from companies which are known for using child labour in places where people live in extreme poverty, or we can choose to buy from companies supporting Fair Trade. We can choose to buy products which are known to cause harm to our environment, or we can choose to buy products which are known to be kind to our planet.
We may spend more now, but it will be kind to others and the world, so that’s better isn’t it?
What do you do? Do you think about these choices you’re making each day?
Buying v investing
It’s interesting that some of the language other people playing the game have been using has been “investing” in and not the “I’ve bought…” it was suggested we use each day. So clearly many people are thinking that to spend £x will be an investment in the future not just buying something for today.
Surely everything we choose to spend our money on is investing in our future and that of our family and our planet? The food we choose to buy to eat is investing in a healthy body, (or not). The money we spend on our housing is a choice about our safety and security, (I’ll leave to one side the choice of having a home and the issue of homelessness that will need deeper exploration). When we choose to buy clothing we may be wanting to stay warm.
Surely all that food, shelter and clothing is investing in our future too?
What’s your intention?
What I’ve realised as I’ve mulled this over this morning is that my quandry today is not about short term and long term per se. My choice is about investing in myself or investing in my business to support others. Ahh! Now we’re getting to it. If I choose to spend my money on the car, my intention is to keep the car going so that I can travel about the country safely. It’s an investment in a piece of machinery to get me from A to B. To me I’m not excited by this. It feels as if it’s something I have to do rather than what I want to do.
Yet when I think of spending my money on setting the foundations of the business website I’m excited. I can only think about how this website will support so many people to have the courage to make the changes they know they need to make in their lives and live their life full of purpose and meaning. Now that feels very different! My intention in this scenario is to help thousands of people transform their lives. Wow!
It now feels like there’s no choice. When I focus on the intention for spending this money it has to be on transforming lives! Just like I believe education is an investment in the future and I’d give up spending on something now to give that long term gift, I can now see that investing in the structure of the website and it’s functionality will not only support the transformation of others as they create their unique life map, but will help me support them in a more effective way.
This realisation that my intention is at the heart of the choices I make whatever area of my life that is, I think I’m going to see things differently from now on.
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