A long runway is needed for the scenarios that will give us the most joy.

Frequently, runway is referenced in business when a new project is being undertaken.  Are there enough resources (time, money, and people) to make the project sustainable on its own before everything propping it up gets swept from underneath?

Other scenarios in life have a runway.  Building our reputation at work, starting a business, gaining trust in relationships, creating a retirement portfolio.  There’s a timeline on all of them in which if we don’t meet an expectation within a period of time – defined or otherwise – we have no “lift-off”.  We scratch our heads and wonder if it’s still worth the effort.

Typically, the shorter the runway required, the less there is to reap.  The most rewarding undertakings require time and persistence.

This is where many people reference the fact that Warren Buffett amassed $70B of his $81B net worth after he reached his mid-60s.  I suspect this example may prove extreme in due time. The timeline required for amassing that sort of wealth has shrunk, but the story is powerful, nonetheless.

Be wary of short runways that provide easy take-off.  The hangover usually lurks.

The runway for wealth, long-time friends, family, and wisdom is long.  There are some short cuts, and they should be approached but with flashing yellow lights.  It’s best not to push – that will eventually bite.  All it takes is once.  In retrospect, where I’ve pushed, it either didn’t work or I was fortunate.

There are ways to extend your runway – ways to buy time – but there’s always a catch.  This doesn’t make it bad, just worth noting. Mostly, we attain long runways through saving, trimming, subtracting (which is why it’s so elusive). We prefer to add.

Lots of time – a long runway – is the ultimate tool for creating wealth.  (Wealth to be understood as recurring benefit on its own – not something you need to transact each time and start anew.)  This is applicable to money, friends, family, memories.

So, because of that, 2 things:

  1. Save time wherever you can.  This isn’t suggesting rigidity.  Quite the opposite – allow for free form.  Just don’t be wasteful.  Trim the fat.  What isn’t contributing to recurring benefit?  Spend time and money on things that give you more time and money.  This is tricky and not always obvious, though.  Because some of my best ideas have come from watching a silly show – allow space for that.
  2. Don’t waste other people’s time.  Their time is just as valuable and maybe they’re trying to extend their runway just as much as you are.  So, be honest, and don’t string people along – professionally and personally.  Less words are usually closer to the truth.  If someone gives you their time, be gracious – our lack of it is what we all have in common.

Thanks for reading,


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