About seven months into the year 2017, I started getting very restless and bothered about how the year was going. I had set my goals at the beginning of the year (as usual) but almost nothing was going the way I had intended. My greatest frustration was about my company and the vision I have for it. I found myself getting depressed over the matter and it dawned on me that this was my routine and that of many other Nigerians/Africans every year.
We set goals at the beginning of the year for that particular year and somewhere between July and August it starts dawning on us that those goals are not going to be achieved.The more we work at them the less progress it seems we’re making. Some of us that are very goal driven resolve to doubling our efforts, pile on ourselves a lot of pressure and start running from pillar to post just to make sure that things are working according to our plans but we discover that in the end, it all goes to waste and we get sad, depressed and even fall sick at times. It was at one of those really low periods for me that I decided to really study the Law of Time Perspective. I had heard about it before and knew what it means on the surface but I didn’t have an in-depth understanding of the matter so, I decided to dig in deeper.
I wanted to know what I was doing wrong as regards my goal setting and why I was getting frustrated all the time.
The Law of Time Perspective says: The most successful people in any society are those who take the longest time period into consideration when making their day-to-day decisions. In other words, these people make long term plans and start working towards those plans on a daily basis. This law implies that the longer the time you take into consideration while setting your goals the better you get and the more successful you’re likely to be. From the moment you make those long term goals, they become your guidelines for your everyday decision making process and you’re able to measure every action you intend to take against the goals you have set.
You cannot compare someone who only sets yearly goals to people with a minimum of 5, 10 or 20 year goals. Unfortunately, this is what most people do and even worse; this is what most African countries practice. No wonder we are where we are and the developed countries that have 50 to 100 year goals, make better decisions than we do.
The most damaging thing about setting yearly goals is the inconsistency of those goals from year to year. I mean, last year, your plan was to lose 20 pounds of weight. You didn’t achieve it because you got frustrated and abandoned it. This year nothing in your goals reflect your weight loss goals, by next year, it would be a different goal again so, how do you stay on course?
Imagine having a 20 year plan and using this plan not only as your yearly guide but also your everyday guide. It makes your goals register a lot better not only in your brain but also in your subconscious mind and before long, your whole being gets on board this dream you have written down and everything you do is as an off-shoot of these plans.
Following the revelation I got from my findings, I decided to type out (on my laptop) a 10 and 20 year plan for my company and put them is power point presentation format in form of a proposal that an investor can read and understand. This process took me about two weeks but by the time I finished one of the first things I experienced was peace. There was this unbelievable peace that filled by heart and the pressure and depression I felt before was nowhere to be found.
One of the best things about having long terms plans is the fact that it saves you from unnecessary pressure (especially in this era of social media). You are able to tell yourself that I may not have the success others may be flaunting now but it’s in my plan and I’m daily working towards it. I have 20 years to work it out so, no need to fret and get overly worked up because I don’t have it today. This conviction saved me from my usual everyday worrying.
This law also works in nation building. Like I mentioned earlier, you cannot compare nations who make very short termed plans to those with very long term plans. A wise saying states that; ‘a wise man plants trees that his children and grandchildren will sit under’. This is contrary to the practice of most African leaders who are professionals at creating headaches for their children and children’s children to deal with. Take the UAE for example, some of the projects they have embarked on today will not be finished in the life time of the current leaders but that is fine, they have looked into the future and decided on the kind of legacy they want to leave for the generation coming after them. I wish I can say the same about my country.
The objective of my long sermon is to encourage my readers and Africans in general to employ this law and stick to it. There is a lot we are missing out from and it’s because we don’t think long term. Once we start having long term plans, we will ultimately start making better every decisions and daily acting better. We will also have more peace in our lives as we won’t be under undue pressure because of things we don’t have today. It doesn’t take much to do, just sit down, decide the kind of life you want for yourself, determine what it will take to achieve that kind of life, make the plans (and make them long term) and start working towards it every day.
Put this to use and thank me in the next 5, 10 or 20 years.