Trading your long-term goal for a few bucks

Lately I’ve been noticing how people (even pretty experienced ones) miss their long-term goals over their short-term desires, and I believe this is a mistake that kills many careers. All because they can’t focus on what truly matters.
In the last months I’ve been publishing some articles on Medium. I hate the idea of using a third party site to publish my content, because in the end you’re not in control. However, within the limits of my worldview, I can impact more people with the idea I want to spread. But at some point they might be gone–bigger companies have fallen, it could happen to them.
A while ago I discovered their Medium Partner Program, which is a way for writers to earn money from their audience. Medium members pay a monthly fee and that money is distributed to the authors of the articles these members clapped for.
So all you have to do is to write a story, select the “make money with this story” option, and if you resonate with people, you get paid a few bucks at the end of the month. This is terrific.
The thing is, everybody can read your story if you decide to not make money with it. But if you check the “make money” box, only paid members can read your stuff. (Technically you’ve got 3 free-reads each month if you don’t want to pay.)
A friend of mine always says that if you write something it shouldn’t be for free. And that’s the goal of some people and companies. That’s the goal of The Economist, Bloomberg, The New York Times, you go down the list.
That’s their business model. But this isn’t true for everybody else.
The reason most people write (leaving aside journalists) is because: (1) they want to position themselves as experts, or (2) they want to spread an idea. But too often people act otherwise.
If, let’s say, your goal is to spread an idea, why would you leave people behind and serve only a few paid-members on Medium?
That’s the kind of friction that can kill your ideas.
Most people don’t understand this. Yes, from an economical point of view, writing offers the worst ROI of all. But it serves a long-term goal you can’t quantify with a short-term metric.
Most people’s desire to earn a few short-term bucks kill their long-term goals.
When I tell people that I’m giving away my book (digital version), they don’t understand it. But if the goal is to spread an idea no matter what, isn’t this the right way to do that?
Writing is just a tiny example. People usually give preference to their short-term desires, rather than their long-term goals.
In the end, whatever you’re doing, it’s been proved that delaying instant gratification pays off in the long-term.