How Far Down The Road Are You Looking?

Are You Future Focused Enough?

As humans, we’ve been biased to go after short term results over long term results ever since we were primitives wandering the savannah. The ability to plan and think to the future, to save for tomorrow, to think about what is next, is something that only human beings have, along with the ability to think and reason. But like most humans, we are lazy, and only look as far out as we need to.

We haven’t evolved much from those days – how many of us would probably fail a marshmallow test, had it been administered when we were kids? I know that I probably wouldn’t be able to wait the 5 minutes for the second one. Considering looking up and out is something challenging for us to do for millennia, its not surprising that even today, with our much more critical, supposedly more intelligent big brains, we can plan.

We can look to the future. We can make decisions based on expected future results, instead of making decisions which will provide to be detrimental in the long term. Still, we find it hard. Homo sapiens is the only animal on the plant which can plan – the ability to look into the future – the ability to not only predict that future but work towards making that future into a reality.

We can dream and then take steps to fulfill that dream. Sure, many things need to align for us to realize those plans, and some of the best intentions may not work out, we will generate scenarios of a possible future, and then work towards our preferred future. We do this in combination with what we can observe in the world around us – making it even more critical that we continually expose ourselves to new information all the time, to help us to adjust and pivot our plans so that they can reach their desired conclusion.

Most of us have short range plans, but not long-range ones. The longer the plan ranges, the fuzzier it is. The more dependent it is on external events for them to occur. But unlike the rest of the animal kingdom, not only do we have the ability to plan, but we also can decide how far out to plan. Our ancestors rarely planned. We plan more than they do, but we get to a certain point and then throw up our hands. We give up.

We do, however, can project further out – we CAN build long-range plans and envision scenarios. You might even say that the ability to think further out than other people is the thing which leads them to success – how many visionary billionaire startup founders are there?

If long-range vision leads to success, why do we still rest on our primitive selves distance of vision and not look even further into the future than we do? Once we can and adjust our timeframes from quarters to years to decades, who knows how much better our decisions will be?