Answer these three questions to test your vision

Bob McKinnon
2 min readApr 30, 2018

Most people will probably fail this eye test

Birds see better than people. Is it because they spend so much time outdoors or they have better perspective?

There is an ongoing tension in our vision between short and long distances. In clinical terms we refer to the extreme on both ends as nearsighted or farsighted. This is a rare instance when we label a condition not by a weakness (e.g. I can’t see things close up) but by its opposite strength (i.e. I can see long distances well).

In a figurative sense, we also experience the same tension. Am I always looking to the future while neglecting the present? Or, do I see things well in front of me at the expense of the bigger picture?

It is probably safe to say that in a world where too many people live check-to-check, so many noses are buried in cell phones and busy lives place larger questions on hold — most of us fall into the latter bucket — we are nearsighted.

If your answer isn’t intuitive, ask yourself these three simple questions:

Do you spend at least one quality hour outdoors everyday?
The sheer act of being outside makes us more farsighted. The horizons allow our eyes to gaze into the distance. Also, when we are in the expanse of nature, we feel smaller which is healthy for our mental state.

When you think about your future, do you feel at ease?
Ok, your laughter may be masking your anxiety. Whether it’s your next job or retirement, having kids or sending them to college, being a good parent or taking care of your parents — our future can weigh heavy on us. This is particularly true if we think about it sporadically and plan for it less. The more you engage with your future, the less anxious it will feel.

In little moments, do you often see the bigger picture?
It is easy to get caught up in the stress of daily life and lose sight of what really matters. Phrases, like “in the scheme of things” and “in the long run” give us pause to look up and put these moments in a broader, healthier context.

If you answered, yes to all three questions, congratulations — you’re doing a better job than I am.

If you answered no to any or all of the above, don’t worry. There is simple way to improve your vision. Use it.

Our eyes and perspective get better with practice. So spend a little more time outdoors each day, take an evening once a month for planning your future, and the next time a moment starts to feel heavy — try to make it lighter by putting it in perspective.

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Bob McKinnon

Writer. Husband. Dad of Three Girls. Creator of Moving Up & Actions Speak Loudest. Adjunct Professor, Parsons School of Design. Redesigning the American Dream.