Believe in the Future by Creating It First
Most people make the mistake of thinking The Future looks like this:
They envision they are moving forward at relatively even pace through time, towards some distant destination. There’s all sorts of assumptions in this view. It implies that you can control the direction you will take, the pace of change and what unfolds along the way.
But The Future isn’t like that. It looks more like this:
The Future is hurtling towards us at an inexorable speed, and there is nothing we can do but prepare for its arrival. It helps to think of The Future as something that is coming, whether we want to acknowledge it’s impending arrival or not. This kind of thinking really highlights the risks associated with assumptions, predictions and wishful thinking.
The diagram below illustrates the dangers of assumptions through the metaphor of a “cone of uncertainty”. It’s easier to predict what might happen this week or next, but as we peer further into the future the field of certainty narrows. Even more disconcerting is the number of unpredictable events that we can’t even conceive of.
Market conditions are not going to change in The Future. They are changing NOW under your feet, and the survival of your business depends on being prepared for those changes. Spending a small amount of time forecasting future trends can widen your cone of uncertainty and allow to build contingencies.
But it’s impossible to plan for the infinite number of scenarios that the future might hold. You can drive yourself crazy trying to think of everything and beat yourself up for not thinking of everything.
If you chose this card, it suggests that you know that the real goal of Future Forecasting is to increase your comfort level with uncertainty. Planning ahead isn't about thinking of everything. Its about building your foresight muscles so that when the unexpected happens, you’re conditioned and ready.
A rancher once told me the wisest words about the future I’ve ever heard: “I don't know what the future holds. I only got two balls and neither one of ‘em’s crystal.”