The Long Game

Editor’s Note: I’m sick with the flu this week so this post is a bit brief. I’ll be back next week in tip-top shape, ready to share more with you!

Playing the long game is a great way to stay focused on longer term goals instead of making only short term gains. -- Addie K Martin

I’ve learned about the long game recently, and since putting it into practice, it’s changed the way I approach my work and to be honest, my life in general.

Playing the long game is a great way to stay focused on longer term goals instead making only short term gains. It means not making rash decisions that only serve you in the short-term. Using a long game strategy helps you to say NO to the things that don’t further a long-term vision and YES to things that foster growth and develop relevant skills, knowledge, and abilities.

Last fall, after talking quite a bit about life and what we wanted, Jeremy and decided to play life by the long game rules. We stopped doing things that would lead to only short term success (see: earning money) and started thinking about ways to take actions to get us to where we truly want to be in life: traveling full time and working remotely.

So while a writing gig I was up for with a wonderful financial planning services company was a great opportunity, it didn’t fit in well with our particular long game. It was too far over from a crucial aspect of our long game plan: being cultural writers. (Side note: Yes, I do personal development writing here, too, but that’s my personal long game strategy. This scratches an itch for me and helps develop my understanding of the topics I tackle here.)

But, in order to play the long game, you must have a longer term vision for what you want your life to look like. No, you don’t have to have it planned out in a very detailed way, but you must at least know where you’re heading. Visions are more like compasses, keeping us headed toward our ultimate destination. You might know you want to be a writer or a business owner one day, but without the vision, it’s hard to get there.

Also, playing the long game isn’t just about work. You may know that you want to start a family one day. If that’s the case, then it behooves you to take care of your body now: watch what you eat and get lots of exercise. It pays to take care of yourself now in service to your long term dream of being a mother.

Playing the long game can be something as straightforward and personal as that. But it can also be as complicated as have the long term vision of being a Fortune 500 Company CEO. Playing the long game can work for anyone.

So how do you play the long game? It’s not complicated…

First, you need to develop a vision or longer-term lofty goal for your life.

Next, you must to pass any potential opportunities through that filter to see if it’s a fit.

If the answer is yes, go for it.

If the answer is no, pass it up.

Finally, repeat as necessary, and in doing so, live a peaceful, more connected life.

You may find there comes a time when your vision changes. This is okay. Nothing is set in stone. As long as you’re not doing a sudden 180-degree turn out of fear or lack of confidence, it’s perfectly fine to change your vision. But please be crystal clear on it before committing to the new route.


Because it’s the only way you’ll know how to apply your long game filter to your new vision.

Playing life by the long game isn’t something our society touts as being particular effective, but it’s something that will bring you more satisfaction in the end. In a world lives and breathes the Like, the Retweet, and the +1, it’s hard to let go of the short term bursts of endorphins in service of your long game, but it’s something that’s so worth it because your inner peace and connectedness to yourself are at stake.

Reader Feedback:

Have you been playing the long game? Let us know in the comments section. Share your strategies or any learnings from approaching life in that manner. Pass it on so that others may learn from your experience.

Put in Practice:

If you’re interested in the long game, but don’t know how to get started, take it slow. Figure out what your longer term vision for life is and then start making choices in alignment with that. As you live life playing the long game, it’ll become easier for you, more like second nature.