Polar vision is the ability to assess any situation from a long and short-term perspective; both the big picture and the minutiae of the day-to-day.
It’s a concept I created for myself, but I think it’s powerful.
There are two ways to use polar vision:
1. When setting goals
Rather than only considering the upside, the best-case scenario and the grandiose dream, think of how your big plans relate to how you spend your time today.
Imagine your ultimate goal is to be a billionaire. What does that mean for your actions today and tomorrow?
Imagine your goal is to have a triple bodyweight squat or a double bodyweight bench press. What does that mean for how you spend the next ten minutes, the next day, and the next week?
Polar vision is being able to translate your huge, brilliant dreams into tiny, consistent actions.
2. To predict the future
Based on how you spend every day, what will your future look like? Imagine every action you take is projected forward and compounded. How does your every move affect who you will become?
Imagine you write a LinkedIn post every day. How powerful will your personal brand be in five years?
Imagine that you have a meaningful conversation with five new people every week. How powerful will your network be in two years?
Polar vision is being able to predict the future based on small component parts.
Making decisions with polar vision
Plenty of people don’t make decisions with polar vision. They fail to see that cutting corners every day will lead to a future where they don’t achieve what they are capable of. They make a grand commitment (a dog, a house, kids, a side project) without considering how it affects their waking hours.
There’s no point saying you want that goal without also wanting the steps that go into making it happen. There’s no point kidding yourself that short term actions are adding up to long term gains when they could be having the opposite effect.
It’s not that easy to think long term and short term simultaneously. It’s tricky to zoom in and out on a whim. But it’s essential for congruence. It’s essential for aligning current and future you.
The murky medium term
We often think in terms of the medium term. It’s a safe distance. There’s not too much of the nitty-gritty detail, there’s no danger in the lofty future that can freak us out. Planning in terms of the next few months is reassuringly straightforward. No big surprises, no probing questions that require an answer.
But there’s a problem with the middle distance. It’s murky. It’s too far away to know how you’ll feel when the time arrives, but it’s not far enough away to have meaningful perspective. You can’t see the detail. You can’t envision your fullest potential. No one wins thinking medium term.
If you don’t develop your polar vision, you’ll constantly be confused and surprised. You’ll feel a lack of control. You won’t reach your goals, you’ll have unexpected outcomes. You’ll feel like success is a black box and lose motivation to work.
Close the gap between who you are now and who you want to become. Think in terms of the grand long term and the minutiae of the short term, in these two ways.
Avoid the murky middle and hone your polar vision. Make better decisions by nailing this concept.