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The future doesn't start now or tomorrow. For professional futurists, it starts ten years from today. That is because it is enough time for society, and your own life, to become dramatically different.
Thinking on a ten-year timeline will help you open your mind, take in new information, and reduce your blind spots.
Any useful statement about the future should at first seem ridiculous.
It's easy to prepare for futures that are similar to today or make sense as they seem normal and reasonable. But, when a possibility makes us say, "That's ridiculous, that could never happen," or "I can't even imagine it", we have to spend time taking it seriously.
We need to prepare our collective imagination for "unimaginable" possibilities. Then, if they do happen, we're not frozen with anxiety or stuck in old ways.
Every form of creativity has its own raw material. A sculptor works with clay, a chef with ingredients, a futurist with clues.
Futurists collect, combine, and build future scenarios out of clues to how the future might be different. You can find future clues by spotting weird stuff that others overlook. Things that make you say, "That's strange", and "I wonder why that's happening."
If your imagination feels stuck, spend time mentally immersed in “upside-down worlds.” Make a list of about a hundred things that are true today and rewrite them so that the opposite is true.
For example, libraries are mostly quiet spaces. To flip it, write ten years from today, libraries are loud, wild spaces. Then envision what makes libraries feel and sound so different.
Urgent optimism consists of three key psychological strengths:
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