Google, Marvel, Lost.

Q. What does Google, Marvel, and Lost have in common?

A. I love all of them.

OK. Aside from my love, there is a better answer: they all have/had long term visions.

Google is the defining company of the Internet era. It has also always acted with a long-term vision from before the IPO through their 2004 founder’s IPO letter describing their long-term decision making to public shareholders. And it continues with Google Glass, self-driving cars, Project Loon, etc.

The Marvel comics have always told epic stories through their comics. Most recently, they’ve moved into movies and are doing something I haven’t seen any other movie makers do: plan a span of movies that may take decades to finish. Each of their movies tell their own story, but are weaved into the much larger vision encompassing the entire Marvel universe.

As long as I’ve been alive (or at least watched TV), there hasn’t been a series like Lost. The first seasons felt like an introduction to each of the characters. There is no way the first season could stand on its own (IMHO), but it was never meant to. It  was the beginning of an epic story, and that is much better.

As people get older, they always seem to lament the fact that society is losing its long term focus. When I was younger, I heard parents talk about this. It was usually about how TV and video games was killing our attention spans. Now that I am getting older, I hear friends saying it. Usually it has to do with the crappy apps and social networks that kill our time.

Yet, with each generation complaining about the loss of long-term vision, and the loss of long-term attention, it seems that it isn’t true.

The world is as it should be. We get better at creating distractions, but we also get better at creating epic art.

As a consumer, I can choose both distractions and epic art if I’d like to. I can watch 7 seasons of a bubble gum pop show as easily as I can watch the 7 seasons of Lost. It doesn’t take me any less time, and there is a time and place for both.

As a creator, things are different. Creating something epic takes time and dedication. By nature, it seems mutually exclusive with working for the short term. You don’t get to choose both. So, which do you choose? Just remember that it is still the epic art with a long-term vision that has the best chance of standing the test of time.

P.S. This is post number #46 in a 100 day blogging challenge. See you tomorrow!

Follow me on Twitter @alexshye.

Check out my current project Soulmix.

The easiest way to play the long game

Accomplishing something extraordinary involves doing things that other people won’t.

One way to do this is to be different. It allows you to naturally do things others won’t. An extreme example of this is being a Keyser Soze.

Another way is to choose the long game.

When people think long game, they often imagine the brilliant long-term strategist. The person one that sees the whole chess game, not just the next few moves. They see Francis Underwood from House of Cards.

This is one way to do it, but there is a far simpler way to play the long game.

Most people want stuff, but they don’t want it that badly. What they really want is a quick solution to their problem; the get rich quick scheme, the tips and tricks to a one night stand, the “lose 15 pounds in a month” program, the 6-week dev bootcamp, or acceptance into a 3-month startup accelerator.

The easiest way to distance yourself from others is to figure out what you really want, and then commit for the long term. Look at what other people will do and then commit yourself to double, triple, quadruple, 10x, or 100x it. The longer you go, the more the others will just fade in to the backdrop. They can’t help but fade away because they weren’t playing the same game as you.

This approach requires no genius. It only requires being relentless, something that anyone can start doing if they decide to.

Be Will Smith.

And who knows? As you continue, you just may just come up with your Keyser Soze or your Francis Underwood moves. Those will just become the cherry on top.

P.S. This is post number #24 in a 100 day blogging challenge. See you tomorrow!

Follow me on Twitter @alexshye.

Check out my current project Soulmix, your daily mix of food for the soul. Request an invite now for free access to the public beta!