The internet has given humanity so much.
All of the knowledge that the human race has accumulated is accessible to anyone with an internet connection.
But with all this information so immediately available to us, our attention spans have shortened dramatically.
As a result, we’re hyper-focused on the short term.
This wouldn’t be so bad in and of itself, but it seems to have rendered us incapable of thinking of the long term.
Extend your timeline and reap the rewards
Anything you could ever want to know is available to you with a few clicks – from your laptop, computer, or iPhone.
- But what about things that can’t be attained in seconds?
- What about achievements that, by their very nature, take weeks to accomplish?
- What about the ones that take months?
- Years even?
To younger generations growing up with digital nativity, those complex goals seem to be inconceivable. As an Elder Millennial, I’m right on the cusp so I remember life before the internet.
It kind of reminds me of how some technologically sophisticated boomers were around before the internet as well and had to do all their hustling on the phone.
Old School Boomers sharpened their skills on the phone through cold calling, determination, and good ol’ fashioned KILLER INSTINCT.
So when new technology came out that made their lives easier, they transformed into Ultra Raid Bosses and started crushing it hard.
Deny short term rewards, embrace discipline
As amazing as the internet is, it seems to have reduced our ability to extend our timelines.
Humans have always been focused on the short term. That’s why obesity, pornography, and alcohol are all so popular.
We love the short term payoff, even if it comes at the expense of long term gain.
But if we think about it intellectually, nobody wants to be an obese porn-addicted alcoholic.
Yet we have so many of them in the modern world because it’s just so damn easy to get.
Cheap and unhealthy food is available in just about every store.
Not only that, but it sells so well that companies are incentivized to continue coming up with tastier food. Product testing, improving their marketing, and the addictiveness of their “foods” are all at the forefront of these megacorps’ minds.
THEY have the ability to extend their timelines. But then again, they’re probably all run by soulless boomers.
In sales – as in many other areas of life – you need to develop the ability to extend your timeline.
I believe that sales is an excellent arena for working on various life skills. You’ve got a safe space for you to communicate with other people in order to learn what communication is appropriate under various circumstances.
But the most important form of communication isn’t the one we exercise with other people.
It’s the communication with ourselves that will have the most profound effect on our lives.
This is where extending your timeline comes into play.
Extending your timeline is CRUCIAL for sales
I learned this early on in my sales career.
Since sales jobs are so emotionally intense, good days where you sell a lot are marvelous. And bad days are unbearable.
But “good” and “bad” are just relative descriptors, aren’t they? Good compared to what? Bad in what way, specifically?
I realized early on that if I let my emotional state completely unravel because I had gone a few hours without a sale, then I would ultimately cap my level of success.
One of my sales managers told me early on, “It’s easy to get into the flow of selling. But staying in that peak state is the challenge.”
Another manager told me,
“Anyone can go and have a good day where they sell a lot. But doing it day after day, week after week, month after month – for YEARS – that’s the challenge.”
They were both right. Even though we had those conversations nearly a decade ago, I still think about those concepts on a daily basis.
When you view sales, or any activity for that matter, in the short term, then you’re vulnerable to the inevitably volatile ebb and flow of immediate feedback.
And while you obviously need to measure the effectiveness of what you’re doing in order to improve your performance, it’s crucial that in the back of your mind you understand that this is a war, not a battle.
- You can’t judge the effectiveness of your sales ability from one single demonstration.
- You can’t determine how good your day is going to be from the morning alone.
- You won’t know how good your week will be from a single day at work.
- You won’t be able to tell how much money you’ll make that month just from a single week of selling.
- You can’t assume that just because you had one good month at work, each month after that will be equally as good for the rest of the year.
And on and on…
Of course, since we humans are not immortal, there is a limit to how far you can extend your timeline. And the optimal length is still yet to be determined.
But the point I’m trying to get across is that you need to understand that you can’t get yourself down because you’re not seeing immediate results from what you’re doing.
And even though you’re probably nodding your head as you read this article, consciously agreeing with every word, there is no way to avoid those bad emotions when you’re in the heat of the moment.
The only thing you can do is have a plan in place when they hit.
In my experience, the best plan is to continue working under the knowledge that your timeline is not the morning, day or week – but a longer period.
Think long term, not short term
The other day I was at work and was outsold all morning by a coworker.
Watching someone else make sales when you are struggling can be demoralizing.
I’d be lying if I said that it didn’t affect my emotional state.
But I extended my timeline in my mind, consciously making myself aware of the fact that I would continue to work at this location for the next few months.
- Whatever I would sell for that morning was just a fraction of what I’d sell for that day.
- And that day was a fraction for what I’d sell for that week.
- And that month, two months, three – or however long I decided to stay there.
Once I had that knowledge in my mind, I was able to continue working with a reduced sense of despair. It was still there, but the commitment to the plan held me in place.
I continued going through the motions and failing more than I succeeded.
But fast forward to the end of the day and I had sold for a considerable amount and made myself a nice little profit in the process.
Had I not extended my timeline, my emotional despair would have spiraled out of control and I would have rendered myself unable to work.
I see this all the time with people who are trying to lose weight and get in shape. They train for a few days and end up quitting because they don’t see immediate results.
Intellectually we know that quitting early is wrong, but it happens to all of us in one area or another.
This is why fasting is such a powerful tool for people who are new to fitness. You see results immediately.
What’s the “fasting” equivalent in sales? Sadly, there isn’t one. At least that I know of.
If you discover one, let me know.