We can imagine our ideal summer holiday next year; we can imagine ourselves looking incredible in a swimsuit, lounging around in the sun with a cool drink, surrounded by laughter. We can visualise ourselves looking our best and living our best lives. But if visualisation is so easy, why can’t the majority of us imagine our lives in ten, twenty or thirty years time? Why can we plan a holiday next year, but not plan for the rest of our lives?
Most People Have No Future Vision
“The only thing worse than being blind,” Helen Keller once claimed “is having physical sight without long-term vision.”
Most people live their lives totally disinterested in their future. Sure, they hope they’ll have a nicer home; they hope to go on a few more holidays and see more of the world; they may even hope for a promotion, a pay rise or a proposition of Linkedin by another company.
Most people have a lot of hope for their future, but no vision for it. They imagine good things happening to them, things they want to happen, but they never visualise the process of achieving these things. They merely simplify the concept of happiness and success as things which will just happen to them, as though these things come with the rights of ageing.
Hoping for the future you want is as fruitful as playing the lottery every day of your life in the hopes that you’ll win the jackpot: everything you want out of life may come about by sheer luck, but the odds of it happening are 139,838,160 to 1.
Most people are either too complacent about their future to consider working towards it or are too frightened to think about it. These kinds of people hang out in the same social circles; repeat their daily routine week-in and week-out; crash out in the evenings on social media and spend their weekends burnt-out, bored and unproductive.
They do this because it’s much easier to live a life when you focus on what you want in the immediate future and what you need to do to attain it rather than focus on what you need to do in order to achieve a mid to long-term goal. If you want a holiday next year, you can save for it now; and if you want to start dating, you can download dating apps and swipe strangers left and right until you find your dream partner.
The Power of Visualisation
Visualising who you are, where you want to be and what you want to look like next year or in the next couple of years requires limited visualisation skills. You don’t need to extend yourself much to achieve short-term goals and aspirations; you know what your skill levels and capabilities are right now so it’s not difficult to imagine what you are possible of in the near future.
Your ideal future self, however, feels totally off-limits and undefinable. We can’t imagine what skills, abilities and contacts our future self could have, nor can we imagine where they’d be, what their finances would be like or what relationships they’d have.
The only reason you find your future self and life so hard to define is because you’ve never visualised either of them. Your future self won’t have new skills, contacts or an incredible lifestyle if your present self doesn’t visualise them and work towards them. The small steps your present self makes today are entirely responsible for your future self’s outcomes, and there won’t be any positive outcomes unless you visualise them now and make a plan to turn them into reality.
The only thing limiting you and your future is your limited visualisation. If you can only see yourself working the same job next year, hanging out with the same friends and maybe going on a few holidays then that’s all your future will be. Life-changing growth and development require a vision which reflects what matters most to you in life. You need to look at your life in the grand scheme of things and ask yourself what you can do in the short-term to build yourself towards your ultimate goal.
“A man’s reach should exceed his grasp”.– Robert Browning
Crafting Your Future Vision
I’m not saying that you can’t plan a holiday next year or dream about your new house renovations, but you need to know that your future is so much more and these small details of your immediate future which serve your immediate happiness. You have one life to live, so make it count: make an impact and ensure your present self is more occupied with serving your long-term future self rather than your immediate future self.
You need to be able to see the kind of life you want to live in order to live it.
You need to see the kinds of people you want in your life in order to have them.
You need to see what you’re capable of to motivate yourself to become capable.
You need to be able to see the change you want to see in the world in order to make it happen.
Stop holding back on your visions, goals and aspirations and stop striving to live the life you have now when you can always strive to live the life you want to live. If you believe your visions for your life are too big to be possible then they never will be possible. The second you impose a limit on yourself is the second you start making the ‘impossible’ your reality.
Your life vision defines who you want to be and what impact you want to make in the world; it defines what you want to be known for and who you want to influence and inspire. Today is the best day to become the person you want to be, so start thinking big and stop living small.