The dangers of inadequate future orientation
Time management isn’t just about being more organised. The science is evolving to understand that time management involves managing ourselves in relation to time, and is in fact the heart of personal management and effectiveness. Yet this terminology sounds fluffy and devoid of meaning due to overuse. Practical solutions are therefore required to assist us in attaining what can appear to be overwhelming ideals and goals.
One of the most defining characteristics of successful individuals is their high future orientation. In fact, it is believed that a well developed future orientation could be the single greatest determinant of success. Future orientation is the vision to embrace the big picture. It is the ability to forego the short term temptations and rewards in favour of the long term goal. A future orientated person has long term goals, saves for retirement, has plans that span a lifetime, is environmentally conscious and understands that their actions today determine their fate tomorrow.
To demonstrate future orientation the Chinese have a proverb that states, “When planning for a year, plant corn. When planning for a decade, plant trees. When planning for life, train and educate people.” The realm of truly future oriented people consists of lifetime goals, not goals that result in instant gratification.
Most of us are trapped in the present, some of us are even trapped in the past. The failure to be able to look ahead and plan for the future is termed ‘temporal myopia’ in psychology. Myopia, or short-sightedness, is a fitting description, and without vision we will fumble around blindly without direction if we fail to plan ahead.
It is said that the great Abraham Lincoln once said, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will do.” There are many roads that we certainly do not want to travel down, as there are many outcomes for our own lives, our futures and the future of our planet that we would rather not realise!
The good news is we have control and choices, and this is exactly the knowledge that future orientated people use to their advantage. Take the time out to slow down and adjust your focus. And consider these words. “”Destiny is not a matter of chance; but a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for. It is a thing to be achieved.” – William Jennings Bryant