The very first words spoken to Philip J. Fry when he stepped out of the cryogenic chamber are apt for ringing in 2020.
Can you believe that it’s 2020? According to science fiction, by now we would have:
- Flying cars
- Landed humans on Mars
- Time looping soldiers in robotic exoskeletons saving the future
- Human clones and human-looking robot replicants
- Lived through the Eugenics Wars and launched Khan Noonien Singh into deep space on the sleeper ship SS Botany Bay
- The technology to live forever (although this time traveler said that its happening next year)
So, maybe it wasn’t 100% accurate. Predicting the future is both hard and easy. The Easy Part: Pretty much everything that we can imagine WILL happen. The Hard Part: Predicting WHEN it will happen.
Interestingly enough, it’s all up to us. We have to ask ourselves:
Where do you want to go tomorrow?
If this sounds familiar, it’s my version of the original Windows tagline – “where do you want to go today?”
Back when that was launched in 1994, I thought it was a great line – full of opportunities and possibilities. A world of options, in a sentence. But it restricts.
Where do you want to go today doesn’t fire up the imagination – it asks you to think about what you already know – and all of the possibilities currently available to you – and pick a path. The paths are already laid out for you – the places you’ll go – the people you’ll see – the things that you’ll do – you are aware of them. It’s all about today – or the present.
Unfortunately, the present is fleeting. It is now and then gone. A memory etched in stone and never to change.
However, think about “where you do want to go tomorrow?” for a second.
Tomorrow is unwritten, a new space, a new place, brimming with many more possibilities than today. Why would we be interested in today when we can think about tomorrow? Not enough of us think about tomorrow.
We think about yesterday. We mull over what we did then; why do we make our today and tomorrow about yesterday when yesterday is dead and gone? No matter how we’d like to – we cannot go back in time (despite the supposed 2028 invention of time travel). It’s over and done. Still, many of us spend more time in yesterday than we do in today or tomorrow, focusing on the mistakes we made, the things we could have done, the people we could have talked to, the paths we did not take.
We should not forget the past, but let it guide our tomorrow. We should not look to the past to determine the future. If we allow the past to dictate our future, then we cannot grow. We cannot be better people – we cannot grow better businesses – we cannot serve our customers better.
We can determine our future by simply deciding to “make it so.” We engineer our future in every moment by the decisions we make – if we eat that donut, we’ve engineered a future where we weigh more – if we cancel that promising project we’ve created a future where it doesn’t exist – if we continue to fail to exceed our customer’s expectations, we’ve created a future without those customers.
The question is – are you engineering your ideal future? To engineer your ideal future, you first need to envision that future, without the restrictions of today. This is one of the reasons why people feel that certain entrepreneurs are visionaries. Steve Jobs and Elon Musk (to name a few) both envisioned an ideal future and then took steps to engineer that future.
Notably, Elon Musk, who creates businesses based on personal issues that we would like to see solved, then creates enterprises to solve them – but not by using a solution of today – but a solution of tomorrow – typically an audacious scheme which requires invention to realize. Are you engineering your ideal future in the same way?
Are you taking steps to create your ideal future – making the decisions needed and taking risks necessary to reach that ideal future? The key to achieving that future is envisioning that future, and then making the decisions to realize it.
Without this, you depend on fate – the interactions of people and things in an extremely complex system (this world) to somehow come together and present you with your idea future. It rarely happens like that.
Sure, the world sometimes will deliver you a future closer to what you envision, but without your active involvement in engineering that future, then you depend on luck – that magic interaction between this incredibly complex system that we call “the world” and “your desires,” just magically matching up.
The time is now. We are living in that future. Will the “Soaring 20s” be the future or the past? It’s up to you.