The paradox of living a fast-changing life and cherishing long-term thinking

Post written by Orsolya Hernold

Movement and change have been always present in my life. Whether it is moving to another flat, changing jobs, starting a new project or trying a new form of entertainment, my attitude has been open, welcoming, even craving to change something. My family and friends are used to my announcements of starting something new. The pieces of my seemingly fragmented life still add up to long-term permanence–at least for me.

What is constant?

Objects, flats, job positions, projects come and go in my life, constant is my attention to my relationships and my learning. Why? Because that what matters to me, this two count in the long run: the people who surround me and my abilities and knowledge. My thinking long-term is narrowed down to two basics that’s why everything else is bound to change.


My mental model of thinking long-term in the case of my relationships is gardening. The gardener does the job, everything with the best intention and abilities. The gardener creates the environment for the plants to grow and then can do nothing else, but allow the growth to happen. The weather cannot be influenced, animals (pests or bigger ones interested in the produce) will take their toll, but the gardener did what she / he could. There is an element of uncertainty and trust–or rather an ability to tolerate change. I do what I can in my relationships (and tolerate those times also when I am not able to do something for the other person) and accept that there is another side of this story I have no control over.

The same is true for the upbringing of children. I strive to be a good mother, do the best I can, but they have their own path, their own personality that I can influence some (and I am pretty sure this influence is of lesser importance than their aptitude), however after two decades it will be up to them how they will utilize the resources they received in their childhood. And this process of 20 years needs constant changing, renewal, redefinition that can be noticed only with devoted time, attention and good intent–the ingredients I am responsible for.

In love and friend relationships, I give what I can (my love, my time, my attention), too. The relationship can still come to an end as we both change, but at least, I know I did the best I could.


My life has been enriched by teachers who inspired me to learn. I became who I am due to their feedback and encouragement. I got so used to learning (having a mentor always around) that I cannot do otherwise. My experience also strengthens my motivation: life created plenty of opportunities for me to put to use my newly acquired knowledge and thus, I could develop further. So I continue because I got used to this positive feedback cycle.


Thinking long-term needs clarity of values and beliefs, and writing can support you to see clearly. If it is easier, start by jotting down your core values and cherished beliefs before you turn to these questions.



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