It’s a well-known phenomenon that “objects in the rear-view mirror appear smaller than they are”. If you’re ever in doubt about a work-life decision, I recommend that you apply the rear-view mirror test!
Work and life in the rear-view mirror
Let’s return to the car again—behind the wheel in the driver’s seat. It’s time to take a quick glance behind us, in the rear-view mirror.
Imagine you’re at the end of your journey, or, at least, well into your life’s journey. You glance in the rear-view mirror to see the history of your life receding behind you.
I know too many people who have looked back, only to be shocked how tiny the images of their children and loved ones appear. Instead, they see a giant commitment to work obscuring their view. I know very few people who have complained about the opposite.
So, I’m not telling you where to put your current focus.
I’m simply reminding you that there will come a time when you can’t go back. The decisions you make today profoundly affect what you’ll see in your own rear-view mirror many years from now. And the images will become smaller and smaller as time passes.
Next time you’re contemplating a decision that affects your work-life balance, take a quick look in the mirror. That should help you to get it right.
Have fun, and happy driving!