Many of us make the mistake of focusing on the short-term accomplishments and benefits that come as a result of our decisions. In order to succeed at anything, we must learn to focus on long-term goals. It’s time to look at the bigger picture.
Most of the challenges that we have today in our personal lives are the results of our short-term focus. Success and failure are never immediate. It’s all the small, short-term decisions that we make along the way that are responsible for our failures: our failure to follow up on decisions, our failure to take action, our failure to persist, our failure to manage our mental and emotional states and our failure to control our focus. These are all the results of the small decisions we make every day without realizing it.
The reverse is also true. Success depends on the short-term decisions we make every day too: our decision to hold ourselves to a high standard, our decision to feed our minds rather than allowing the environment to control us, our decision to go the extra mile for a customer. All these mainly subconscious choices create the life experience we call success.
No entrepreneur has achieved success based on short-term focus. Through concentrating on immediate gain, you may not be able to see which long-term path you ought to be taking. If Honda Soichiro had concentrated on achieving only short term results as his goal, today we would not have Honda automobiles.
A Case Study Of Success. The Honda Story
Mr Soichiro Honda, the founder of the corporation that bears his name, is a superb example of a man who found success through measured decisions. The power of the man was his resolution and desire to succeed when faced with obstacles and challenges. The Honda Corporation began with a decision and a passionate desire to produce results.
Way back in 1938, a young Japanese man had a dream. He was still in school, but his faith in this dream burned so strongly that he invested everything he had in developing his idea. In the small, dingy workshop that was all he could afford, he worked night and day on his plans for a certain type of piston ring that he knew would work well for the Toyota Company. He threw everything into his work, and when he ran out of funds, he pawned his wife’s jewellery. Finally, the prototype was finished, but when he tried to sell his new product to Toyota, he was turned down. It looked as if his dream had crumbled and after all his work and sacrifice, he was nothing but a laughing stock; the butt of jokes from all his peers.
Honda went back to his studies, but he kept his dream alive. He never doubted his own instincts and focused on what he wanted. Finally, he got the Toyota contract. He was rewarded for remaining true to his goal, whilst remaining flexible enough to keep changing his approach until he got the desired result.
Honda was on the verge of building his own factory when war broke out, and it wasn’t long before shortages were severe. This time it was the Japanese government that presented him with what looked like an insurmountable problem. They refused to give him the concrete he needed to build his plant.
However, Honda was a resourceful man. He found the solution to the dilemma in the problem itself – invent another method to make concrete! This he did, not only building his own factory but developing a useful product along the way. Fate intervened once more though, and no sooner was the factory completed then it was bombed. Twice. Still Honda wouldn’t give up. His dream burned as brightly as ever and he rebuilt.
Finally, with every scrap of metal in the country commandeered to support the war effort, he and his workers gathered gasoline cans left by the American Air Force to provide raw materials for his manufacturing process to keep the factory going. Finally, an earthquake flattened his factory for the third time, and Honda was forced to take the decision to sell his piston operation to Toyota.
Once the war was over, peace presented more problems. Gas shortages made it impossible to travel anywhere except by bicycle. The resourceful Honda again saw an opportunity where others saw only problems: build a motor for the bicycle so transport could again be easy and affordable. This he did, using his own bike as a prototype. At first he was only moderately successful, but once he refined the idea and made the machine lighter, the Honda scooter was born and became a great hit – not just in Japan, but around the world! Necessity is, indeed, the mother of invention, especially for a man who never loses sight of his goal.
Honda went on to become one of the leaders of the Japanese car industry, outselling everyone but Toyota in the United States. His story is a compelling example of a man who never gave up, who kept focused on his goal and continually found new ways to shine, even in adversity.
So how did this indomitable man achieve such phenomenal success? Honda knew that when you make a decision and take action, in the short term it may look like it’s not working, but short-term goals do not yield high gains. In order for us to succeed, we must acquire the habit of focusing on the long-term. Always plan for the future!
Honda knew that when you make a decision and take action, in the short term it might look as if it’s not working. In order for us to succeed we must remember the example of Honda and acquire the habit of focusing long term and looking towards the bigger picture.
Your goal can be achieved if you stay committed to your decision and have a burning desire to succeed. You must learn to discipline yourself to consistently think long term. You must also realise, above all, that the hardest step in achieving anything is making a true commitment – a true decision. Holding on to your commitment is often much easier than making the decision, so make your decisions intelligently but make them quickly. Don’t labour forever preparing to succeed. Remember that you are born to live and not to prepare to live.
Often, the effect of the decision you make now helps you in the achievement of a larger goal. Make a rule now never to stop after making a decision without first taking a specific action towards its realisation, and enjoy your success!