In order for you to have a different level of success in the future than you are experiencing today, it is important for you to be able to consistently think about that future level of success.  In other words, having a long term vision.

Think about your past accomplishments.  Didn't you have some sort of long term vision in order to accomplish them?  Maybe you finished some educational program like college, university or a professional development program.  Didn't you have in your mind that you would finish that program?  Maybe your vision was just the length of the course, whether it was 4 weeks or 4 years is not important, 4 weeks is still a long term vision.

Long term is anything longer than the current moment in which you are living.  Ordinary people have a vision and planning timeline of 1 day or 1 week.  Their thoughts are consumed with things like "What will I wear today?" "Where should I go to dinner this evening?" "What should I do this weekend?"

I propose that to improve your level of success, it is necessary to extend your vision out to at least 5 years.  For some things I have a 40 year vision because I want to still be alive and healthy for the next 40 years of my sons life.  I thought I had heard some rumor that the Japanese had a 500-year vision for their country, though can't find any reliable references online so maybe it was just my imagination.

Assuming you accept that having a long-term, around 5 year, vision is critical to increase your level of success, how can you develop this habit?  Just like everything else we talk about, practice, practice, practice.  I am convinced in the value of spaced repetition.  If you like to research this, I suggest reading the many interesting articles at the SuperMemo site.  So little amounts of practice, like 5 minutes per day, on a regular basis can be as effective, if not more effective than spending 1 hour per week.

What can you do for 5 minutes to develop a long-term outlook?  Write out your goals.  That's it.  The key thing though is, do not refer to your previously written goals.  Write your goals out from memory.   At first don't worry about how you do it, just write a list of goals from memory each day.  You can write it by hand or type them into a computer, either way is fine.  After 30 days you will start to form a pattern to your goals.

I recommend combining the ideas of both Brian Tracy and Noah St. John when doing this exercise.

According to Brian, these statements should follow the 3 Ps, Positive, Personal, and Present tense.  So, an example might be "I make US$100,000 during the year 2013."

According to Noah, these should be questions in a positive manner designed to get your brain thinking of ways to achieve your goals.  Something like "How can I make US$100,000 during the year 2013."

Try them both, or make up your own method.  The key is to regularly practice thinking long term so that it becomes one of your new habits.

How long term is your vision?


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