Most can barely think three months out, let alone ten years out. But sometime in those ten years, there is a 96% chance that your business will flame out.
Are you worried about that? Many of us don’t think more than a quarter out. In fact, in a recent meeting at one of our clients, the innovation group head literally said
“With everything going on, thinking about the future is meaningless”
Wow. Just wow. How can you possibly run an innovation group and make that statement?
Many people live in the past, but the past is etched in stone. It’s a safe place. It doesn’t change (although some scientists think that on the quantum level, time flows in more than one direction), so we know what we are getting when we think about the past. We ruminate about the bad decisions we made, and imagine what things would be like if we did something different. We waste a ton of time looking to the past instead of looking at the future – instead of keeping the past where it is – as a guide to understanding what worked when and where we think that it can tell us about the future.
Doesn’t every investment ad remind us that past performance is no guarantee of future results?
The past is great, but we should spend a little time there. Recently, there has been a vast movement for us to live in the moment – the present. Mindfulness is taking over all of our well beings – with all of the literature, magazines, books, articles, blog posts, meditation, and mindfulness sessions pushing us to live in the present; we forget that the “present” is only a “moment.”
Before we can get a handle on the present, it is already the past.
The future is the only thing we can change, and a big part of how the future changes are based on the millions of decisions both you and everyone else make every second. The future can change, and you can change the future – and it can only change if we make it change.
If we don’t take an active role in changing our future or the future of those around us, then the future will change us. It will steamroll us.
Some people come in the future as a vast black hole, utterly devoid of prediction. No one knows what the future holds, precisely, but we can make educated guesses and suppositions based on trends and signals that we see happening over time. Using the tools of foresight science, you can envision and forge your firm’s ideal future. The future that you want for yourself and your company.
Why do most of us only look out such a short term? Why are “strategic plans” only a quarter out? Why do we need financial statements and investor calls every quarter? We have reduced our prescience timeframe down to the short term, and we rarely look further down the road. Do you want a competitive advantage? Look further down the road.
Looking further down that road helps you to build agility for the future, and head off threats before they become threats.
Don’t fear the future – embrace it – for unlike the past and the present, you can still write it.