Playing the long game
Plan Your Next #54
👋 Hello! I'm Nate Kadlac, and this is #54 of Plan Your Next. It’s a newsletter that connects design, creativity, and how you prepare for your next thing.
If you’re one of the 15 new subscribers, welcome!
Good morning from Los Angeles!
What is one thing you could imagine yourself doing for the next 10 years?
Does the thought of committing to something that long intimidate you?
I think about this all the time and where I’m at in my career. Would it benefit anyone if I spent the next 10 years becoming 20% better at the craft of design? I can say with 100% certainty it wouldn’t improve my life, or the life of anyone around me.
My skills as a designer don’t have the same growth potential they once did earlier in my career. As a self-taught designer, it was worth the effort to take calculated risks on my own growth potential, knowing I was playing the long game.
It made sense because the long game requires growth and time to compound. But now, it’s like entering a buffet already full, stuffing myself with food.
But back to the question above.
What areas of your life have the potential for growth and the time to spend on it?
There are only two games to play. The long game and the short game. Both compound in either direction based on the time you lose versus the time you gain.
The short game is filled with immediate benefits. It’s seducing us at every choice we make during the days. Just like my decision to drink a bottle of wine the other night while knowing my sleep was going to be terrible.
Shane Parrish of Farnam Street writes, “Playing the long game means suffering a little today. And why would we want to suffer today when we can suffer tomorrow. But if our intention is to always change tomorrow, then tomorrow never comes. All we have is today.”
The long game is boring from the outside. It’s like we’re walking down a long road with our eyes fixed on the horizon. The scene changes at the pace a sloth might move from branch to branch. With our fixed perspective, we miss out on the baby steps we’re taking along the way.
Black Swan author, Nassim Taleb, put it this way: “Having an ‘edge’ and surviving are two different things: the first requires the second. You need to avoid ruin. At all costs.”
We can’t sharpen our edge unless we have the time to develop our craft over years. Giving ourselves time means starting now, and finding some time every day.
A couple of years ago I might have answered the question above with one word, “design.” But that answer to me now is so shortsighted I can’t help but be embarrassed by it.
Now, my long play is writing this weekly newsletter 500 times, writing out my own ideas regularly, and finding serendipity along the way.
What’s your long play?
⚡️ Inspiration for this week
✍️ Play long games
It’s never too late to commit to building a practice over the long term.
Magma Studio is a clever browser-based tool to brainstorm and ideate through digital painting on a shared canvas in real-time.
A website dedicated to the design of VHS packaging.
👋 See you next Sunday
And if you’re creatively stuck because you ran out of coffee, save 10% on Flow State coffee. Flow State uses l-theanine and raw cacao to lower anxiety and support creativity. (Affiliate link)
Have a great week,