#1 What 1 year’s research tells you about the future

Hello!

WHAT 1 YEAR’S RESEARCH TELLS YOU ABOUT THINKING ABOUT THE FUTURE.

A very warm welcome to The Makers, the email newsletter for curious, conscientious people who are looking to live better by looking to the future.

Here you’ll find thoughts and ideas to help you engage more positively and purposefully with the future.

The Makers loosely accompanies the YouTube channel Ours For The Making.

In this first edition of The Makers I’m going to share with you two things:

  1. insights from a year’s worth of reading about the future
  2. framework for you to start thinking about how you engage with the future

Thinking about the future 🔭

Over the past 12 or so months, I’ve been reading, researching, discussing and observing how we engage with the future. Here is a selection of insights I found interesting.

How do we think about the future? Four broad ways: we simulate different scenarios, predict their likelihood, use intention to say “let’s do this” and plan the steps to make it happen. 

When do we think about it? Around 14% of our waking time, apparently. That’s roughly equivalent to one hour out of every seven hours thinking. Every day.

How do we feel about it? Everything from wildly optimistic to “avoid, avoid, avoid!”

How often do we talk about it? A lot. According to psychologist and writer Claudia Hammond, “time” is the most frequently used noun in the English language.

What role does it play in our lives? It’s central. How we think about the future plays a leading or powerful supporting role in almost everything we do: it shapes our motivation, sense of purpose, meaning, direction, connection and belonging, why we learn, the list just goes on and on…

Thinking about the future and your present

The pandemic has understandably prompted people to look at their lives and question what’s important to them and how they spend their time. 

The Guardian newspaper in the UK recently reported that 3 out of 4 Britons have re-evaluated their lives during Covid. However, of those who had considered some kind of change, 8 in 10 had done nothing to achieve it. There’s clearly future-thinking going on, but it’s not necessarily linked to future-doing. Sometimes for good reason: concerns about money and lack of opportunities to name two. But for some it could be simply a lack of the right mindset or useful, actionable methods.

7 fundamentals 🧱

So, how might you and I go about improving our relationship with what’s to come?

Well first of all, how about we begin with where we’d like to end up: being ‘future-fit’. 

A ‘future-fit’ person

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?

In this video I explore the 7 fundamentals of a ‘future-fit’ person. It’s a synthesis of my past year’s research, interviews, observations and personal reflections. 

In summary, a future-fit person thinks about the future in a purposeful way, imagining the many ways the future could look. They take action in the present to be well prepared and positioned. They are resilient, have a healthy relationship with the future and include others – and the world around them – in their focus on what’s to come.

A framework for thinking about the future

The 7 Fundamentals offers a kind of framework for you (and me) to start thinking about how we engage with the future. Take a look and let me know what you think – either in the video comments or alternatively, you can reply to this email.

Thanks 🙏

Thanks for reading, watching, subscribing and being a Maker! I really appreciate it. If you have any questions or comments, I’d love to hear from you – just tap reply or find me on social media (links below👇). 

If you’ve not already subscribed and would like to, you can do so here. I’ll also send you a (free) copy of my short ebook the 7 Fundamentals of a Future-Fit Person.

One last thing 

Out there is a world of really interesting thinkers, writers and practitioners doing inspiring and thought-provoking work under the broad banner of ‘thinking about the future’. In addition to those I’ve referenced above, I hope to introduce you to a few more in the weeks to come.

Until next week…

Best wishes,

James

Link to video “7 fundamentals of future thinking”

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The ‘Makers is my short, (somewhat) weekly newsletter. It gathers together evidence-based, actionable ways to help you think and do long-term. 

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