Think of the Future

The state trooper flagged the pickup to stop.

Think of the future

 

Rain bounced off his wide brim trooper hat and rain coat as he approached the cab of the truck. A 60 year old man lowered the window enough to communicate. He spoke in a Cajun drawl, “Officer, what it is up ahead? Road don’t look washed out.”

“We’re not taking chances,” he answered speaking the man’s name in a consoling voice.

The man in the truck pushed the brim of his baseball cap back on his head to wipe his forehead and eyes, “Got to git down there. My dog is locked up in the house.”

“Most places are wiped out. Best be happy you’re alive and think of the future.”

The words ‘think of the future’ are never more poignant than at times of despair and grief. Even when times are good, we all think of the future. Some of our best selling authors address the issue. One of my favorite lines comes from Jim Rohn as he speaks of the power of the ‘pull of the future.’ Zig Ziglar states, “Everything in your past pales in comparison to your vision of the future.”

The way the world can be in the future drives us. All humankind, back to the Stone Age, has stargazed wondering what’s next, but the science of predicting the future is relatively new.

One of the first advocates for a study of the future was H.G. Wells. After success in 1901 with the best seller, Anticipations, he gave a lecture in 1902 titled, The Discovery of the Future. As he spoke, Wells anticipated what the world would be like in 2000. The lecture became another best selling book that accurately forecasted trains and cars moving the majority of the population out of cities to the suburbs. In the lecture, he argued for a “knowability” of the future. He said there are two divergent types of minds. One mind judges and states the importance of the past and the other mind finds it more important to focus on things that will happen in the future. You may be aware of H.G. Wells as the author of War of The Worlds.

War of the Worlds

The novel’s first appearance in hardcover was in 1898. It has been made into numerous movies and was the subject that panicked all America in Orson Welles 1938 radio broadcast that listeners believed to be real news.  His other science fiction novels include The Time Machine, The Island of Doctor Moreau, The Invisible Man, and he was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature four times. Tragedy was a motivator for Wells. His bright future didn’t look so bright in 1872 when an accident in 1874 left him bedridden with a broken leg. To pass the time he started reading books from the local library, much the same way a young Earl Nightingale found his future. Forecasting has been defined as the process of estimating outcomes in uncontrolled situations. So, how can we empower ourselves to take advantage of the pull of the future?

To be scientific, there are specific fields of study such as:

Probability requires some quantification to determine a confidence level that a specific event will happen. There are enough of mathematical formulas to send us soaring into the oblivion of confusion. Governments rely on this to determine regulations, taxes, and all sorts of ways to control our lives. Insurance underwriters use these models to figure out how much the rest of your life is worth.

Strategic Foresight is a planning tool to enter the realm of the study of the future. Strategic planning requires analysis, but statistics put aside, it comes down to forecasting possible futures, probable futures, and an action plan to move in that direction. Strategic foresight is being hailed in corporate practice to grow both businesses and personal lives.

Think of a three legged stool with each leg dependant on the other on three paradigms:

Foresight to actualize personal goals

Skills to execute organizational business goals to produce profit and growth

Movement toward a better world by forecasting the needs of social issues

Earl Nightingale wrote a great deal about creating a better future. In one of his audio segments in The Secret Advantage he even forecasted events that may happen deep into the 21st century. It is interesting to see that some things have already come true. Most of his practical advice on the future did not rely on complicated math or some sort of detailed matrix, but two simple lists. Call them bucket lists if you wish.

  1. Long range goals could be the big things like cars, homes, travel, college funds, or building a legacy.
  2. Short term goals are things you can get in a relative short period of time such as getting a raise, making a sale, starting a business that will in turn serve the long term goals. In the short term, do not confuse ‘wants’ with ‘needs’. Needs are required items such as having a job; not a goal, but a necessity.

Take time to write out a list of everything you want. The first analysis of your list begs the question if there is something on your list you do not have, why not? What have you done to get what you want, and what have you failed to do? One thing that is guaranteed; your future will be the result or consequence of what you do today.  In another related article, we’ll discuss, “What happens when you run out of goals?”

In the meantime, dig deep into the core fundamentals on The Secret Advantage and you will find out what needs to be done to get anything you want.

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