Becoming Future Proof

Original blog post on Medium.

How will you know if you are future-proof? What should you do to find out? Here are 6 ways to take action.

If you don’t want to wait until the future actually arrives, read on!

People view the future in different ways and from different perspectives. Each perspective is unique. One thing is certain though: Change. Do you want to be future-proof?

I could just say: “You are on your own, find your own unique way forward”. But that isn’t very friendly.

What is my point, then? People naturally find groups of common interest and perspective, being circles of friends, hobbies, political parties etc. These groups highlight common personality traits or perspectives. Can we use this principle to review your future self?

Yes indeed we can. A common approach is to define sets of opposites, between which you will be able to identify yourself. An example: How comfortable are you are with different levels of knowledge about the future?

Where are you on the line?

Another example: Are you happiest when settled or being creative?

And on this line?

If you think about answering these together, does it sound familiar? Do you see yourself reflected back, even a little?

Try it out

There are a range of contexts in which the approach can be helpful. For example exploring your attitude to technological or environmental change.

Let’s try with a quick interactive demo (here is the external site).

A simple game to review your future attitude

Do you think the example helps you reflect on the future? Did the text change in a way you recognise or find helpful? What sort of questions would help you to understand your perspectives on the future better? Go to the Medium post and add a comment at the end!

There are no right or wrong answers — just you.

Underlying the game are the 5 stages of engagement. It might help to consider how these reflect you now and why you might have a different perspective on the world from others. The following strategies aren't aiming to fundamentally change you or suggest which part of the game you "should" click. They are just ways to make considering the future easier.

Six Future-Proofing Strategies

What can we consider to be effective strategies for thinking about the future? (for the large majority of us who are not already fully embracing the “uncertainty/creative” perspective).

There is a very good reason for including a “settled ←/→ creative” concept. The process of thinking creatively can be very useful for thinking about the future. This is not to say we should all try to become “creative types”. Sometimes however being able to think this way can be helpful. You don’t need to be ‘born’ creative — as Ravi Shankar Rajan shows in this article. See part 1 of my series on future-proofing — creativity.

2. Diversify

Don’t remain a hostage to fortune — diversify your investments and personal interests to become more resilient. Try:

  • Visiting a news site you’re unfamiliar with (an English language list)

  • Searching for a new subject (especially revisit Google’s “I’m feeling lucky” button);

  • Taking a chance

  • Get some independent (paid for) financial advice!

A common way to take control of your future is to take action. It doesn’t really matter how big or small; starting is the key. Then use your friends and family to support your progress.

If you’re regretting past errors or fear repeating them, try to move on. The past is most definitely not a guide to the future but your successes might be!

You wouldn’t be you without personal views and opinions. In order to review new possibilities it helps to clear the mind and consider new ideas on their own merits.

Finally, try visualising what you might look like in the future. Weird but true…