Looking at the 5 to 10 years ahead in the future is difficult. But if we can do it, we can achieve most of our dreams.
When was the last time you looked at and visualized 5 years ahead, 10 years ahead?
For career? For personal life? For finance? For your family?
It is rare and not very consistent. Moreover, if someone asks you to plan for it, it doesn’t seem possible.
But the leaders and visionaries do that successfully.
So why can’t we think long-term? How can we do it? here are the pointers and solutions:
We like short term thinking as its effortless
Our brain is physically is not meant for thinking ahead, most of the brain functions are in current living mode. Maximizing the current, be it eating, be it drinking, be it earning money, etc. And that’s the reason we don’t easily sacrifice immediate pleasures, even after knowing that if we sacrifice now, we will get much better outcomes (In longer terms).
The marshmallow test is the biggest example (Wikipedia) where even a delayed gratification for the next 2-3 hours of getting more marshmallows if you don’t eat now, couldn’t be accomplished by many of us.
We need to exert self-control and willpower to avoid things even though it seems gratifying now but can have ill effects in the future.
Also, practice thinking towards the longer term. Visualize your long-term dreams because that will motivate us to control our present.
Requires knowledge and hard work to think about future
It requires wisdom, knowledge, and application of your learnings to think about the future. It requires hard work to think about the future.
Let’s do this small mind experiment:
Say you are a cricket fan and don’t know much about football, now if I ask you in the next 3 years where will India be in cricket, you will immediately have some answers based on your knowledge of cricket, current team, etc. But if I ask the same question in football, where we will be in the next 3 years, you will be blank.
Even though the above experiment is trivial but it shows that we can think of things in the future only if we have the knowledge and wisdom based on our learning.
This also proves that the more knowledge you can gain, the more you are capable of thinking, planning, and dreaming about the future.
Keep learning hard and understand as much as possible, specifically in the field where you want to succeed, that’s the only way you can see ahead of yourself.
Don’t want to plan the future because of past failures
We don’t see any value in thinking about the future based on past failures and experiences in a particular area or field. It might have happened in past, that you would have planned and executed but failed in it. With these failures in mind, it’s painful to plan for the future in that field.
But that’s exactly the opposite, the more we fail, the more we gain knowledge in the field, and next time our chances of success are much higher.
Most successful people are visionaries who can think about the future without getting emotional about pasts.
Failure just implies that the path we have taken may not be the right one, but does not mean that our goal, mission, or dream is untenable.
We need to let go of our past hindrances and learn from them, do better planning for our future.
I think if we can do these things consistently, we can be long-term thinkers and be successful in achieving our life dreams.