Short-term vs. long-term

Two different 18-year-olds, from two different families, are about to enter college. Then, tragedy: both have one parent leave the family. They each have two younger siblings they need to raise. 

One decides the right thing to do is not go to college and help their remaining parent raise their siblings. They are stuck doing menial work, and the culture of the family turns into one of survival and getting by—not achievement and getting ahead. 

The other decides the right thing to do is to provide for their family, by temporarily leaving the parent and siblings behind, and working really hard and doing well in college. They graduate with a great job, and set a great role model for their siblings who also go to college and get great jobs. 

While both people had compassion, Dr. K describes the difference between these two scenarios as short-term compassion and long-term compassion. The same key value and emotion, viewed through different time horizons, can create extremely different results.

That’s just compassion. When you view relationships, greed, and love through long-term lenses, things look different.

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