Focusing on the Important by Suppressing the Urgent

See the Forest for the Trees in InvestingWe are all bombarded by swaths of information each day from a variety of sources that compete for our attention. E-mail, TV, letters, phone calls, etc…Often, some of these divert our attention and pull us away from our long-term objectives. If achieving some measure of financial independence is important, we have to focus on that and suppress the “urgent” items that steal our time.

 

Avoiding “React Mode”

Think about all the times in your life where some decision absolutely had to be made on the spot versus the next day or even the next week. For most of us, these occasions are relatively rare. If we are constantly in “react mode”, everything that enters our gaze will appear to be “urgent”. Marketers know they have to create this sense of urgency to heighten our emotions and dampen down the rational portion of our thinking.

I read an article recently on leadership and the author opined that teaching individuals to think strategically, to take a broad long-range approach, is among the most difficult skills to develop. We only have so much brainpower to push towards problem solving at any particular time. If we are constantly focused on the “urgent” instead of the long run, strategic planning melts away.

 

Long-Term Focus=Less Anxiety

Within the investment realm, if we have anxiety about today’s market or when rates will rise or if we are in for a correction, we are falling prey to the “urgency syndrome” and it is only a matter of time before our emotions will take control. Instead, focus on where you want to be 10 or 20 years from now. Understand the reason for investing in the first place…producing long-term returns above inflation. No one can predict or control what’s just around the corner. It really doesn’t matter as long as we stay focused on what’s important.

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