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VOL. 45 | NO. 52 | Friday, December 24, 2021

Add some ‘white space’ daydreaming to your day

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Well, this isn’t working. You set goals for yourself before the pandemic hit, and none of them have been met. By now, you thought you’d be well on your way to a better career, maybe have a few Bucket List things crossed-off, but noooooo.

Maybe it’s time to pack it all in and stop this craziness. Or maybe you need to read “The Long Game” by Dorie Clark.

In her time as a speaker and business educator, Clark has had many opportunities to talk with conference attendees and she’s noticed something surprising: most of them have mentioned that they were so busy, they wished they “had time to think.” They were frustrated, and feeling like they weren’t “keeping up.”

If you’ve felt something similar, Clark says that you probably require “white space.” You need time to ponder, wander, plan and dream. More importantly, white space gives you room to stop looking at goals for this week or this month and start thinking about five or 10 or 30 years from now.

Says Clark, “... we can attain almost anything we want – but not instantly.”

Being busy has become a sort of competition, and we have to back away from it. Learn to say “no” if something doesn’t fit your long-term plans, even if the offer is so delicious that it hurts to turn it down.

“The Long Game: How to Be a Long-Term Thinker in a Short Term World”
By Dorie Clark
c.2021, Harvard Business Review Press
$28
256 pages

It’s OK to “be bad” at something; in fact, it’s good if you do. Being terrible at something gives you room to legitimately be stellar at something else that you can own.

Learn to set goals that are right for you. Know what you like and what you don’t, think about your hobbies and the things you do well, and then work to put these things together.

Tap into your curiosity and follow it. Give yourself a chance to explore. Stop feeling “dirty” about networking. And finally, perhaps most importantly, just be patient.

Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is your best life; you can hardly wait to get where you’re going, but sometimes you must.

In the meantime, deep breath and read “The Long Game” but know this first: there’s a lot inside this book that you may not need, at least not now. The author includes many personal anecdotes in here, perhaps too many. There’s information to read that you’ve probably learned from other sources, and its reiterations are reiterated.

Still, it’s all about the nuggets and there are plenty of them. Readers who are in need of that final step-off-the-treadmill nudge will find it here, in a hundred small non-confrontational ways that add up. Once you’re done with this book, you’ll be able to spot small thinking-spaces throughout your day, guilt-free, pleasurably, and in a way that feels right.

This is a read-then-read-again kind of book that’s perfect for anyone who needs to learn to look past the edge of their desk. Read it but remember: patience. “The Long Game” is helpful, but it’ll take a while before you know it’s working.

Terri Schlichenmeyer’s reviews of business books are read in more than 260 publications in the U.S. and Canada.

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