49. The Law of Time Perspective

The most successful people in any society are those who take the longest time period into consideration when making their day-to-day decisions.

This insight comes from the pioneering work on upward financial mobility in America conducted by Dr. Edward Banfield of Harvard University in the late 1950s and early 1960s. After studying many of the factors that were thought to contribute to individual financial success over the course of a person’s lifetime, he concluded that there was one primary factor that took precedence over all the others. He called it “time perspective.”

What Banfield found was that the higher a person rises in any society, the longer the time perspective or time horizon of that person. People ...

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