Mental Model

There are rarely shortcuts to health, wealth, freedom, and a respected reputation. The most valuable things in life require long-term thinking and contributions that compound over time. In a world of instant gratification, people make the mistake of thinking there is a shortcut or hack to creating or accomplishing something truly remarkable. View your career as a marathon with aspirational long-term goals. 


If your ambition is to achieve unreasonable success, thinking and planning long-term is the key. You must adopt a mindset that values long-term goals while choosing your daily activities that accrue value towards these goals. It’s the congruence between long-term goals and short-term actions that increase the likelihood that these goals become a reality.

Planning for the long term can take many forms. It starts by first documenting the long-term outcomes you desire. Then identify milestones that serve as signposts that you are making progress toward your destination. Finally, you must adopt a set of solid habits and decision-making skills that align daily choices with these goals.


1 – Envision your future truths.

Write a one-line sentence for each future outcome you want to be true.

Make goals for health.

Make goals for wealth.

Make goals for deep relationships.

2 – Decompose each goal into milestones.

Mentally envision a few tangible signposts for each goal.

Think about how you will need change to arrive at these milestones.

3 – Plan for obstacles and failures.

Envision what can and will go wrong during your journey.

Articulate the impact and likelihood of each risk.

Plan ahead of time what you will do to neutralize the risk.

Mentally prepare for surprises – they will come.

Experiment With This

  • In Principle 1, we talked about crafting a personal vision document that includes your big, hairy, audacious goals. What are my tangible, measurable goals in the next 5, 10, or 20 years? What is a realistic plan of sequenced milestones to realize those goals?
  • The people we spend time with have a significant influence on how we think and dream about the future. Am I spending time with people who think long-term? Are my work colleagues people with who I see myself doing business long-term?
  • Keep your written goals visible in daily view or easy access when are making a decision on where to spend your time.
  • With a close friend or family member, you trust, share, and talk about your goals. Did you feel energized or did they not feel ambitious enough? What ideas did they have for you?


The Almanack of Naval Ravikant: A Guide to Wealth and Happiness by Naval Ravikant

The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene (Law 29 – Plan All the Way to the End)

Unreasonable Success and How to Achieve It: Unlocking the 9 Secrets of People Who Changed the World – by Robert Koch