‘The future’ never arrives.
It always lies ahead, out of reach, while we experience a constantly unfolding present.
The present is the only time when we have choice and agency. Whenever we’re looking back at history, or forwards to potential futures, it is nothing more than an interesting exercise unless it shapes how we make sense of, and act in, the present.
We explore futures to understand the present
Considering multiple potential futures we may find ourselves in allows us to consider the implications of our actions in a variety of conditions.
Exploring radically different futures, we often uncover options available to us today that we hadn’t noticed before. We can make more resilient choices that hold us in good stead whatever comes our way.
We start to spot how the choices we make today might shape how the future emerges. We begin to act in ways that shape a future we want to live in, and create a legacy we’re proud to leave behind.
Doing and not doing
One of the many biases we have as humans is a bias towards action.
When it comes to responding to images of the future, the bias to act is strong. In situations where we feel uncomfortable or uncertain, we want to do something, anything to help regain a sense a sense of control.
In many places, we have a cultural aversion to inaction. We see it as the domain of the lazy, powerless, and complacent.
There are many situations where the best course of action available to us is to take no action at all. Next time you are thinking about the future, consider what would happen if you chose not to act.