What has been the single most important factor to your success in life?
If you were to ask my husband, Jer, he would tell you that it was changing the way he sees time. Growing up, he was most concerned with what was happening that day or week. But as he grew older, he began to stretch that time frame. As an adult, he considers the long-term consequences when making decisions.
Sometimes people argue against this principle. They say life if short and you’ve got to enjoy it while you’re young. I agree. Life is short. You should slow down enough to appreciate each day.
But life will also throw you curveballs. And the better your foundation, the better you can respond to the unexpected. Building that foundation means thinking long-term.The better your foundation, the better you can respond to the unexpected. Click To Tweet
This topic is one that Jer is very passionate about, so I asked him to write today’s post.
Learning to Think Long Term
Guest Post by Jeremiah Scherer
One of the most significant changes in my life has been learning to extend the timeline I use when planning my life.
When I was a child, I made decisions on a daily or weekly timeline. Events beyond that timeframe didn’t seem to carry the same relevance. The notion of Christmas or a birthday being six months away seemed so far out that it wasn’t worth thinking about.
As I grew older, I began to realize that weeks and years were becoming smaller chunks of my overall life. A week, when you’re four, seems like forever. A week, when you’re forty, is over in the blink of an eye.
We all experience this phenomenon as we grow older. So why do some people have a five-day life plan and others have a 50-year life plan?
Like most of our behaviors, I believe it’s a combination of nature and nurture. Some people naturally find it easier to think in longer time frames. My wife is one of those people. She has a backup plan for her backup plan.
I was nurtured in an environment that functioned on a daily timeline. In my experience, the chronological context a household operates on affects how children view time as they grow older.
As I entered my twenties, I remained stuck in that short-term mindset. I spent most of my time chasing fun and hanging out with my friends. Having fun is not a bad thing, but it didn’t produce anything.
Fun seemed fleeting. I couldn’t imagine letting fun be the end game.
If fun wasn’t the answer, what was? Happiness? That too seemed to come and go.
I wanted to do things that were satisfying. I yearned to make an impact. I wanted to accomplish big goals.
When I began setting and working on my goals, I realized the goals that were the most rewarding took the most time. Once I began achieving these big goals, I discovered that fun and happiness were byproducts. Sure there are unpleasant and uncomfortable moments, but that’s what makes the accomplishment so rewarding.The uncomfortable moments are what make our accomplishments so rewarding. Click To Tweet
Shifting my perspective of time has provided a greater sense of stability. I am now able to make life decisions proactively instead of reactively. I make decisions based on my values instead of fear. I’ve found a sense of freedom that never existed when I was young and chasing fun.
My challenge to you is to consider how far in advance you are thinking. Then push it out a little further. If it’s a year, make it two. If it’s five years, make it seven. A year from now, you’ll be amazed at the difference it makes.
I hope that sharing my experience is helpful to you or someone you know. Change is the result of tiny, deliberate actions over a long period of time. Be deliberate and enjoy the ride!
What has been your experience with changing your perspective on time?
Share in the comments below.
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