Dorie Clark: How To Be A Long-Term Thinker In A Short-Term Focused World

Success in life is never a question of how many tasks we get done in a day. It’s not even a question of what we manage to achieve. Instead, it’s about knowing our life’s purpose & taking the right steps to fulfill our potential.

That all sounds very nice & neat until we come face-to-face with real life, where short-term thinking, short-term gratification & short attention spans often take us off track. We also live in a society that values “busyness” & treats it as a badge of honor. And, so, when we tell ourselves all the time that “we don’t have enough hours in the day,” it’s not really a sign of accomplishment – it’s a sign our lives are out of control & that we’ve lost sight of what truly matters & makes our lives meaningful.

These are some of the big ideas from Dorie Clark’s new book, The Long Game: How To Be A Long-Term Thinker In A Short-Term World,” which launched recently as a Wall Street Journal bestseller. And her conclusion is that if all we do is bumble along reacting to events as they happen, we won’t ever fulfill our life’s dreams or personal potential.

Dorie Clark has done a lot of interesting things in her life: She left home at 14 to attend a school for gifted students. She transferred to Smith College, graduating magna cum laude, & then earned a Masters in Theological Studies at Harvard Divinity School. She’s been a Presidential campaign staffer, public speaker, musical theater lyricist, leadership author, & today teaches at the Duke University Fuqua school of business. And as she reveals in our discussion, she had a long-term strategy for achieving them all.

Read the word “gifted,” & we might assume Clark’s success was pre-ordained & even guaranteed. But the essence of her book is that few people (including her) ever achieve success without also experiencing delays, setbacks, denials & even failures. In effect, she says we need to be nimble & adapt when circumstances change. But long-term thinking is what undergirds everything & enables us to make those adjustments. If we embrace long-term strategy & recognize that the path may change over time — that’s what maximizes our chances of success.

Noting there is no such thing as overnight success, Clark’s book reminds us that this doesn’t mean success for us will be illusive. It means we just need a more effective process for achieving it. That’s what this episode is all about: helping you get back on track for achieving all you were meant to.

By Mark C. Crowley

Mark C. Crowley is the author of Lead From The Heart: Transformational Leadership For The 21st Century which has been taught in 11 American universities. He is a global speaker, leadership consultant and thought leader on the topics of workplace culture and employee engagement.