Michael Simmons wrote a Medium post titled Bezos, Musk, & Buffett See The World Differently, Because They See Time Differently (May 14, 2020).

« One of the most surprising patterns they all share is that they see in 4D while most people see in 1D:

  • Dimension 1:Focus on one field (specialization)
  • Dimension 2: Learn across disciplines, apply to a specialty (polymath)
  • Dimension 3:Think vertically from hacks to principles (mental models)
  • Dimension 4: Think hundreds of years into the past and future (time) »

« Bezos’ daily focus is three years into the future. Most CEOs focus on putting out fires, dealing with quarterly shareholders, and driving to hit their quarterly earnings. Bezos explains how he does things differently in a fascinating interview with Forbes, “Friends congratulate me after a quarterly-earnings announcement and say, ‘Good job, great quarter.’ And I’ll say, ‘Thank you, but that quarter was baked three years ago.’ I’m working on a quarter that’ll happen in 2021 right now… I get to work two or three years into the future, and most of my leadership team has the same setup.” »

« Self-made billionaire Ray Dalio is famous for studying cycles going back hundreds of years in order to understand the economy »

« Warren Buffett is famous for only investing in companies and individuals he could see himself investing in for decades into the future. He has built his whole career on the power of compound interest and compound learning. He has purposely kept his lifestyle expenses low so that his money could compound. In addition, he has spent 80% of his time reading and thinking for his entire career. »

« In a TED interview, Elon Musk shows that he also thinks about time differently than almost everybody… “I look at the future from a standpoint of probabilities. It’s like a branching stream of probabilities. And there are actions that we can take that effect those probabilities or that accelerate one thing or slow down another thing, introduce something new to the probability stream.” »

« If you’re thinking long-term, then:

  1. Over the period of a day, taking “time out” to reflect, exercise, learn, rest, build relationships, and experiment are distractions. Over the period of a life-time, they are the best investments we can make.
  2. Doing something that is extremely meaningful to you is absolutely critical. You can sustain a job, marriage, project, or company that bores or doesn’t inspire you for a short while, but not for a long time. A long time horizon goes hand in hand with purpose and passion. This purpose helps you work harder, learn harder (deliberate practice), create more (productive output), have more soul and be willing to overcome challenges (resilience).
  3. Think of your most “successful” relationships. Chances are they evolved over a long time and involve constantly giving without expecting anything in return. A long time horizon is almost a prerequisite to defining a healthy, productive relationship in any realm. »

« “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. Just by lengthening the time horizon, you can engage in endeavors that you could never otherwise pursue.” Jeff Bezos »

« Long-term thinking supports the failure and iteration required for invention, and it frees us to pioneer in unexplored spaces. Seek instant gratification — or the elusive promise of it — and chances are you’ll find a crowd there ahead of you. Jeff Bezos »

« In Time Paradox, one of the most recognized psychologists of all time, Stanford professor Philip Zimbardo… found that attitudes toward time fall into five categories:

  1. Past positive people focus on the “good old days”.
  2. Past negative people focus on all the things that went wrong in the past.
  3. Present hedonistic people live in the moment, seeking pleasure and avoiding pain.
  4. Present fatalistic people feel that decisions are moot because, “What will be, will be.”
  5. Future-oriented people plan for the future and trust that their decisions will work out. »

« If we do the right things consistently over a long period of time, the future we want becomes more and more inevitable because our actions compound upon one another over time. »

« Another way of visualizing the impact of short-term thinking is what’s known as the “greedy algorithm” in mathematics. Greedy algorithms optimize by always taking the best short-term opportunities in front of them. The algorithm is good at achieving what are called “local maximums,” but not good at achieving global maximums. It helps you get small wins, but not big wins… The greedy algorithm fails to find the largest sum, because it makes decisions based only on the information it has at any one step, without regard to the overall big picture. »

« Ultimately, the saying, “It takes 10 years to become an overnight success,” is true after all. We must be willing to work in the dark now so we can shine in the light later. »

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