Are you prepared for what might happen next month or next year?
The future has always been uncertain. Today right now, the future is even more uncertain. We’re dealing with a lot of uncertainty right now.
Many people can’t cope — they are stressed and overwhelmed.
“Deep uncertainty merits deep questions, and the answers aren’t necessarily tied to a fixed date in the future. Where do you want to have impact? What it will take to achieve success?” writes Amy Webb, a quantitative futurist and professor of strategic foresight at the New York University Stern School of Business.
Futurists plan for the future in a whole new way. They think through multiple scenarios to make sure they are prepared for almost all possible scenarios. They may not know what could happen, but they are proactive about the unknown.
“For any given uncertainty about the future — whether that’s risk, opportunity, or growth — we tend to think in the short- and long-term simultaneously,” says Amy.
Futurists attempt to systematically explore predictions and possibilities about the future and how they can emerge from the present into a future they’ve prepared for.
“At its best, futures thinking is not about predicting the future; rather, it is about engaging people in thinking deeply about complex issues, imagining new possibilities, connecting signals into larger patterns, connecting the past with the present and the future, and making better choices today,” writes Marina Gorbis, Executive Director of the Institute for the Future
We are in the midst of a historical transformation — the art of futuring your life and career is a necessary skill in an extremely uncertain world.
Despite the mass uncertainty we face right now, if you can’t figure out your long-term plan for tomorrow, next month or next year, you will feel stuck, react more to other’s demands, procrastinate more, and give up sooner when challenged.
Make “futures” thinking a way of life
We are facing huge challenges in the world today, but you can’t thrive, grow or make the most of your life if you approach your present difficulties with short-term thinking.
Futures thinking skill is essential right now to better navigate your life and to make better decisions in the face of so many uncertainties. People who excel at managing the uncertainties of tomorrow think like futurists.
John F. Kennedy once said, “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future.”
Take a moment and envision your life in, say, 2 or 5 years from now. What you’re imagining? Most people focus on a single future. What their life or career could look like if they take certain steps or actions.
Futurists think about multiple futures instead — they open themselves to all kinds of possible scenarios and solutions. Multiple perspectives are at the heart of futures studies — they actively consider alternatives.
“The best way to predict your future is to create it, ” says Abraham Lincoln
When you make a smart long-term decision about your future, you are effectively thinking backwards, and getting ready to live the future you want.
If your first and best case scenario about your life or career doesn’t work out next year, do you have another perspective you can explore?
Futurists have a long term perspective.
Thinking like a futurist involves paying attention to what’s changing, what doesn’t change and how to better prepare yourself for what’s next.
It means maintaining an open mind and running through various possibilities to find potential outcomes or imagining many possible futures.
A good futurist is always learning — for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today. Learning new career skills and how to manage your emotions in difficult times can give you an upper hand — it puts you in control of what can disturb your peace of mind.
Robert Anton Wilson argues that “The future is up for grabs. It belongs to any and all who will take the risk and accept the responsibility of consciously creating the future they want.”
Whether you foresee an unknown and difficult future or a bright future because opportunities abound, it’s your responsibility to prepare for both.
“If you are deliberately trying to create a future that feels safe, you will willfully ignore the future that is likely,” says Seth Godin.
When you think like a futurist, you can know what’s coming faster — that makes it easy to prepare better for disruptions in life and career.
Preparation puts you in control of what might be coming. You can’t predict the future, but you can be better prepared for possible scenarios.
With long-term thinking, proactive action, and an open mind, you can still thrive tomorrow and create better experiences for your life and career.
Today, right now, think about every possible scenario that could happen in your life in the next year or two and figure out how to best plan for every possible scenario.
If you are able to take these steps each day, you will be thinking like a futurist. You will be able to better anticipate and prepare for all possible future scenarios. With a sense of what your farther future might look like, you will be ready to take the best action for your life.
This post was previously published on Personal Growth.
If you believe in the work we are doing here at The Good Men Project and want a deeper connection with our community, please join us as a Premium Member today.
Premium Members get to view The Good Men Project with NO ADS. Need more info? A complete list of benefits is here.
Photo credit: iStock