#10 The Makers hits 10!

Hello,

Today’s edition is a bit of a milestone: The Makers has reached #10!

Welcome to The Makers and a very warm welcome to new subscribers joining us this week. You can read all previous issues here (scroll to bottom of the page). 

The aim of The Makers is to share ideas to help you engage more positively and purposefully with the future. 

It accompanies the YouTube channel Ours For The Making which explores “how to get ‘future-fit’ in an age of short-term thinking and uncertainty.”

Today’s #10 email is going to be a little bit different. 

I’m going to showcase some back catalogue editions and videos that you might not be aware of across three themes:

  1. Fundamentals: why thinking about the future matters; the core qualities of a future-fit person.
  2. Time: the forces shaping how we experience it; what the long term reveals about our attempts to bend it to our will – and what you can do about it.
  3. Tools: two simple tools for you to use to start engaging with your future self and futures that lie beyond yourself and your lifetime.

1. Fundamentals 

Why the future matters

The future plays a leading or powerful supporting role in almost everything you do: it shapes your motivation, sense of purpose, meaning, direction, connection and belonging, why you learn, the list just goes on and on…

Being a fluent forward-looking person is also important to your career. New research reveals the skills people need in the future workplace and a surprising number are linked to future-thinking.

What ‘future-fit’ looks like

So, what does someone who does this whole ‘future-thinking thing’ look like? What qualities do they possess? As edition #1 said:I invite you to picture a person who engages positively and purposefully with the future… 

​They use their skill of mental time-travel as part of their everyday life. It helps them to imagine new possibilities, plan and prepare. It informs the choices they make. It inspires and motivates them. It helps them crack stubborn problems. It offers them perspective, encourages resolve and helps them build a sense of belonging.​So, what behaviours and habits does she or he exhibit? What kind of mindset do they hold? How do they achieve a ‘future-fit’ state?

(The Makers #1)

In this video I explore the 7 fundamentals of a ‘future-fit’ person. 

2. Time

How we experience time

‘Time’ sits at the heart of what we talk about at Ours For The Making

It can feel increasingly disorientating as our perceptions of time are stretched out into possibilities far in the future, whilst our everyday experience of time feels increasingly compressed. 

Here I talk about three forces (life expectancy, advances in science and technology and climate change) expanding the frontiers of the future and three forces (society, technology and your mind’s wiring) pinning your attention to the present. 

What the long term reveals about our commitments

The long term can play havoc with your long term commitments.

Imagine you have strong views about what action you want yourself to take in the future. For example, you might wish your future-self to not blow all of your retirement lump-sum on a flashy sports car or year-long cruise. But, your strong view of what you want is not matched by a strong confidence that your future-self will do what you currently desire them to do. 

When we look ahead and fear that our future-selves won’t uphold our present-self’s wishes, one option is to (try and) use something called a ‘commitment device’. A ‘commitment device’ is a decision you take, when of calm mind, that fixes you to a particular future path. It’s a deliberate attempt to ‘bind your hands’. The purpose is to avoid your choosing something undesirable in the heat of that future moment.

Over the short term, these can work pretty well. But over longer time periods, problems can start to emerge. These problems stem from two fundamentals: 

  1. the world in the future is liable to change 
  2. you are liable to change, and by more than you think 

A failure to accommodate these fundamentals can cause all sorts of trouble. Here, I discuss how time can play havoc with long term commitments – and what to do about it

(A video version is also coming out on 23 September.)

3. Tools

Make friends with your future self

Want to engage more positively and purposefully with the future? 

One idea seems to crop up time and time again in various forms is essentially to make friends with your future self

Here is a very simple and quick exercise to build your future selves into your decision-making. (I managed to cover the idea in just 35 seconds, recording this video sat in an electric hire car waiting for my daughter to come out of her dental appointment!)

Make time a bit more manageable

The future is vast and can be pretty overwhelming. So, here is a tool for cutting it into manageable chunks, or ‘territories’. This approach invites you to consider how your life and your actions in the present relate to each of these territories. Ask time a question and each ‘territory of time’ will offer a different perspective and pose different questions. 

It builds on ideas that feature in the Bento Society, which I recommend taking a look at.

Thanks 🙏 

At these early stages of this ‘project’ every ‘like’ and every subscriber to this newsletter and to the YouTube channel make a real difference. So thank you for reading, watching, subscribing and being a Maker. I really appreciate your interest, questions, support and encouragement. 

If you know someone who might enjoy what you’re reading and watching here, please consider sharing this email with them.

Until next time…

Best wishes,

James

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