Quick Wins and Poor Decisions

Shouting at a child to get him to behave. Quick win. Poor decision.

Shouting at an employee to get more things done (and to get what we want). Quick win. Poor decision.

Going abroad and leaving our families behind. In some cases (not all because some do not know of and simply do not have better opportunities), a quick win, but a poor decision.

Eating at a fast-food chain (everyday). Quick win. Poor decision.

Traveling to another country on credit. Quick win. Poor decision.

Playing now and paying later. Quick win. Poor decision.

Choosing a higher salary now over a meaningful career. Quick win. Poor decision.

In this age of social media, success and winning are even more celebrated. We often forget about the processes needed to succeed. Not to mention, when we need something to post on social media, it makes more sense to go for quick wins, rather than pursue lasting success that takes a long time to build. Gratifying ourselves now has become the norm.

Also, poor decisions are easier to make. Good decisions take a lot of time, effort, and commitment. It's harder to make the good decision over the bad one.

Pursuing quick wins lead to a never-ending pursuit of quick wins.

Shout at a child today and he may grow up resentful and rebellious. His parents will have to try patching things up and controlling their kid through other quick wins such as grounding him or scolding him. He may also grow up with no confidence and his parents may go for quick wins by nagging him to perform not realizing that their actions when he was younger made him unsure of himself and too conscious of what other people think. He might grow up not being able to fully express himself.

Eating at a fast-food chain is very convenient. It's a quick win. It is more tasty than home-cooked meals. After all, these chains made it that way (MSG, anyone?). But, in the long run, always eating at fast-food chains will lead to higher risks of heart diseases, diabetes, and obesity. The popular solution? Quick wins. People take medicines for heart problems, diabetes, and obesity. Unfortunately, they will have to, later on, take medicines for side effects.

Choosing a higher salary now allows new employees to buy more stuff and to travel. It looks a lot better from the outside looking in. But later on, when the pursuit of significance and meaningful work sets in (and it does), a higher salary becomes meaningless. The popular solution? Earning more money and buying more (expensive) stuff thinking that these will fill the emptiness they feel. Quick wins. Deep inside, we all want to live lives that matter. We think that the more we have, the more we matter. But, the real solution is doing work that matters—to us and to other people.

There are no quick wins when it comes to real, lasting success. There are no quick wins in parenting (or so I read) and building a good relationship. There are no quick wins in having good health. There are no quick wins in building a meaningful career.

Real wins take time—a lot of time. But, when the time comes, the victory is more lasting and meaningful.

Make better, often difficult decisions. They're worth it.