May seem like a stupid question, but what is 'the future'?
If you had to ask a hundred people this question, you will get a hundred different answers, because 'the future' is one of those human constructs that we all refer to on a daily basis, but very seldom stop and really think about the precise definition of.
So 'the future' is, according to some definitions:
- The period of time that follows the present
- The time that is yet to come
- The unexplored part of history
The future and time
If thinking a little deeper, the future is a construct of time.
It is a 'time-related' realm and when you get into trying to define 'time' you start to get into other mental constructs such as 'relativity', 'entropy' and the 'continuum of events from the past, into the present and then into the future'.
The fact is, that time does not exist outside of thinking.
If you are not able to think about the future, then there is no such thing, because you will constantly just be experiencing life in the present moment.
This is what 'mindfulness' and the act of meditation is trying to do; to radically reduce active thinking so that you can just exist 'in the now'. Constrain thinking and the span of time narrows into the present moment.
If time doesn't exist outside of thinking, then logically the future doesn't exist outside of thinking.
If we wanted to generate a comprehensive, holistic view of history, we would have to access all of the collective thoughts, knowledge, experiences and ways of being of every individual who has ever lived.
History, or the time that has already pasted, is all of the thinking that has already been done.
The future then is all of the collective and individual thoughts, knowledge, ideas and experiences that has not as yet, at any point in time before, been accessed and processed.
The future is all of the thinking that we have not yet done.
The future is the realm of things that we do not currently know about, it is the place where brand new thoughts and ideas, that no human being has ever had before, potentially exist.
The future is unknown because we literally haven't had the thoughts that will create and make it known to us yet.
With this in mind, a futurist is a professional practitioner who helps individuals and organisations with the generation of new thinking and new possible ways of being, which are more suited to the forecasted changing contextual and competitive environments that could possibly emerge in time.
A futurist is a facilitator of good, new thinking.
Because change is constant and inevitable, new thinking and new ways of being will always be necessary for survival.
Hanging onto old thinking and old ways of being under conditions of contextual change accelerates the incompatibility of those who unable or unwilling to innovate their thinking.
The quality of your future depends on the quality of your thinking.
You can choose to fall back on the ol' 'tried and tested' approaches that you know and love, or you can boldly explore new thinking that will be better suited to where the world is heading.
Old thinking (old futures) is easy - you can look all of that up on Google for free; new thinking (better futures) requires courage and curiosity and creativity and confidence.
Think about it.