My aim with this book is to help you cope with the future - or to help you help others. Not all of us realise that we're stressed by the uncertainty the future provides (constantly) but it exists never-the-less. The book is certainly not intended to address what might be considered clinical diagnosis of anxiety but more our day-to-day unwillingness to really challenge the future and take ownership.
The first part provides a framework for engagement, either to help you identify your current attitude or identify the most effective starting point for engaging others. The second part provides a theory of change which is a little different from many others. Rather than being a step-by-step programme of activities it focuses on mindset.
I was inspired to investigate the way we generally fail to engage with the future by the realisation that I wasn't as good at it as I thought I was. My usual response to something new is to try and delve into the principles and then turn them into something practical - hence this book! So the first part of the book examines psychology and the second part, provides some practical ideas for helping you deal with the future better.
Here's an example of the type of issue and approach to a solution the book tackles:
Climate change is happening and in future will get worse
So ideally we would tackle a source of future anxiety by realising and acting on the greater good to society
Human nature by default is to get anxious (to some level) about uncertainty and the future is of course always uncertain
We have many ways of dealing with anxiety that mostly involve avoidance of thinking about it
Most people will acknowledge a desire to change on the basis of self-interest rather than common interest
Climate change isn’t really about personal impact for most people if they even acknowledge the risk
So a double-whammy, not personal and you avoid thinking about it due to future anxiety issues
As I hope to show in this book, there are ways to think differently which can mitigate anxiety (e.g. about the future)
Thinking differently about the future can make you more likely to acknowledge problems and engage with change
Hence this book, which links personal improvement with climate action focuses on tools to help engage on a personal level (i.e. highlight there is an issue which can be addressed – future anxiety) and then reduce (e.g. with creativity) future anxiety and so gain a mindset more likely to acknowledge and engage with climate change
The approach isn't about telling you what to do
Note on the tone of the book: The content currently switches between addressing you the reader directly and a more formal technical approach. This is part of the evolution of the content and will likely change over time. Apologies for any confusion.