Is there a single word or phrase to refer to this (the blanks below)? I'll get to the example right away as it will describe it better than I can:

Always consider how I want to be in the future (~10yrs), whilst ignoring the day-to-day ongoings (today, this week, last month, etc.). Any decision I'm about to make (be it deciding to change jobs, or choosing what to eat) ought to be made from this perspective.

When tackling any problem in the present ... instead of being overwhelmed with it in the heat of the moment, visualize myself to be looking ahead, at distance as if to adopt that distant perspective of how I want to be, ultimately ... which perspective then generates a better solution to that problem, unhindered by the ongoing emotional constraints. In summary, when doing anything in the current moment adopt the perspective of ___ so as to counteract the instinctual habit (see next paragraph).

Normally humans react based on their current emotional state (which changes day to day!). This perspective is the diametric opposite of that, since self/identity/affect is removed from the equation, leading to a more dispassionate outlook

Words like "frame of reference" and "point of view" and "outlook" capture the class to which this word belongs, but not quite the specific distance aspect. The distance metaphor (captured in the picture below) translates into wanting to be something in the future rather than (reacting to) what I'm already being in the present. Compound words/phrases are acceptable too, as a fallback.

graphic drawing of a Native American holding a spear and dressed in a stylized classical tribal outfit and sporting a feather in his headband who is gazing off into the distance where successive mountain ranges are seen

A second attempt (and second example) at clarifying what I'm asking

Our day-to-day activities are mostly a reflection of us reacting to our present emotional state. For eg., someone says something that has us feeling upset, and correspondingly we react to it, often negatively thus behaving suboptimally. Let's call this perspective the normal perspective.

What perspective will reliably have us behave optimally? If we stop getting hung up with what's happening in the present moment (specifically the emotions involved), and instead look towards many years into the future and ask ourselves, for example, how we want to live (or what makes us happy), then that very consideration will change our frame of mind, taking off the heat of the moment as it were. This has the effect of stopping such petty reactions (to the anger example above), and instead, have us react more intelligently - because our actions will now be in line with these long-term goals, regardless of their short-term trigger. This is called ___.

The question, specifically, is what would you fill-in-the-blanks in all the 3 places above? It could be an idiom or phrase. It doesn't even have to be a 'perspective' per-se; I am just looking for something mnemonical ...

Related words / phrases identified by others

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    – tchrist
    Jun 13, 2022 at 15:46

2 Answers 2



Such a ____ long-term ____ perspective will enable me to react more intelligently.


occurring over or involving a relatively long period of time: seeking long-term solutions

This works because the listener can abstract from the time term and apply it to distances.

  • "long-term" is too generic to capture this specific scenario, to which there are two parts: one goes above the fray (mentally, not actually) so as to be able to see the forest for the trees - and thereby make a better decision to the current situation. I also edited the question to clarify that it doesn't have to be a "perspective" per see. I struggle to this describe verbally, but I'm trying. Jun 13, 2022 at 2:52
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    Okay, I recommend that you make some adjustments to your sentences. You can take a step back to look at a situation with fresh eyes. "Take a step back" provides greater physical distance. Jun 13, 2022 at 4:12
  • Yea, that definitely is better. Combining Lambie's and @Yosef's suggestion ... "Take a step back and take the long view to be able to see the forest for the trees". Jun 13, 2022 at 15:12
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    Pick one -- long view, or forest for the trees. Jun 13, 2022 at 19:18

This might not be exactly what you've asked for, but consider teleology.

1 Philosophy The explanation of phenomena in terms of the purpose they serve rather than of the cause by which they arise. ‘no theory of history can do without teleology’ -lexico

Although the definition uses the term purpose, it comes with the connotation of a logical endpoint from which the current state is assessed.

From Wikipedia:

Teleology (from τέλος, telos, 'end', 'aim', or 'goal,' and λόγος, logos, 'explanation' or 'reason') or finality is a reason or an explanation for something which serves as a function of its end, its purpose, or its goal, as opposed to something which serves as a function of its cause. -wikipedia

There is admittedly a large component of 'function' carried in the word, as evidenced by the term teleological argument. However, within your narrative, you can talk about the "perspective of teleology" in the following sense:

Mises believed that an individual's action is teleological because it is governed by the existence of their chosen ends. In other words, individuals select what they believe to be the most appropriate means to achieve a sought after goal or end. -wikipedia

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