Creative Leadership

The Dangers of Being “Future Blind”

I think I’ve invented a new mental (or career) disorder…

I’m not a psychologist, but I’m declaring a new malady that I’m calling “Future Blind.” The symptoms could apply to a great number of people, and for many it can be deadly in a variety of ways.

I’m describing the problem as, “The inability to see anything beyond the present. To be blind to what’s coming. A failure to anticipate the future.”

An example would be someone who waits until the very last minute before making a decision, or someone who refuses to plan or consider future options or possibilities.

I have a friend that does this while driving. He never gets in a turn lane until it’s almost too late to make the actual turn. He doesn’t brake until the last minute, which causes his passengers to experience something close to a heart attack. He speeds up and slows down in jolts, because he’s not paying attention to what traffic is doing ahead.

A client I worked with refuses to think about anything beyond today. He won’t plan because he knows that sometimes things change, so why bother? But that leaves his team in total chaos, unable to work toward any common goals.

The worst problem with being Future Blind is that it leaves no margin. In other words, with my driving friend, he’s far more likely to have an accident because he leaves no space to maneuver in case someone else slams on brakes, or crosses over into his lane.

The client’s team can’t compensate for outside changes, because the leader had no plan to begin with.

If you suffer (even in the slightest) from being Future Blind, I recommend you start looking beyond the moment. Stop scrolling on social media, stop focusing just on what you’re doing right now, raise your eyes, and look ahead.

What’s tomorrow look like? What happens if things go wrong? What about a Plan B?

It’s a good argument for scheduling a personal planning session at least once a week. Take a few minutes to reflect on the upcoming week, meetings you have scheduled, and the tasks you have to accomplish. Then, fill out your calendar or schedule with that in mind.

Focusing on the present is important when we’re doing deep work, but every once in awhile, it’s a good idea to come up for air and look around.

If nothing else, it makes it far more difficult to be caught off-guard.

Photo by Ryoji Iwata on Unsplash

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