Horizon based thinking

Whenever you’re at a crossroads and are wondering what to do next, here’s how to think.

1/ The first thing to ensure is that you acknowledge that a lot of your decision-making will be driven by how you’re feeling *right now* and not how you’ll feel once you choose a path.

The need to escape can make us choose things that we won’t like long term.

2/ The way to keep emotion-driven decision at bay is to *force* yourself to think in three horizons:

1. Short term goals
2. Long term goals
3. The path between the two

3/ Yes, I know this sounds trivial but far too often:

– We’re either hyper-focused on short term and optimize our way to getting stuck into a local-optima
– Or, we’re hyper-focused on the long term and forget that present actions is how we get to the future

4/ To make a realistic yet ambitious plan, you need to think in three horizons. This concept is crystallised on slide #11 in this deck by @yak_collective

5/ So essentially the first horizon you need to plan for is the short term, which means asking and answering questions like:

– What is not working for you lately? Why?
– What is working for you (or things you really enjoy or do well) that you wouldn’t want to lose?

6/ The second horizon you need to plan for is the long term, which means asking and answering questions like:

– Given infinite time, resources, money, etc. what is that you want to be?
– What is the evidence in the present that you really want to be that in the future?

7/ The third horizon is the connection between the two (and usually the most difficult).

Here you need to answers questions like:
– Where you can start investing today to get to the long term?
– What is that you want to retain as you make progress towards the long term?

8/ The point of this horizon-planning exercise is to force you to ask enough questions so that you’re neither deciding because of “my-present sucks” emotions or plan for unrealistic “pie-in-the-sky” visions that won’t happen.

9/ That’s it! Hope you like it. Horizon based planning is useful both in business and life. If you try it, reach out to me and let me know how it went for you.

This essay is a lightly-edited version of a Twitter thread I posted.

Have an opinion on this essay? You can send your feedback on email to me.