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"[I]t's not enough to see hard trends and soft trends, anticipate, transform, go opposite, skip your biggest problems, and reinvent yourself. These are all valuable and vital steps, but there is something larger: you need to actively shape your own future." Daniel Burrus

Not only can you define your future, doing so is imperative in surviving and thriving in business and in life. In Flash Foresight: How to See the Invisible and Do the Impossible, futurist Daniel Burrus describes seven radical principles that can transform your business. Each of the first six, as he says, are valuable and vital steps: the seventh - directing your future - is the thread that ties them all together. Burrus writes, "The fact is, you become what you dream." What are you dreaming?

Identifying Your Future View

To use flash foresight, you need the ability to project yourself into the future. Burrus calls this your "futureview." This isn't what you hope for or aspire to; it's what you "expect and believe about your future."

For example, a child growing up in a violent neighborhood may believe he or she will be killed before reaching adulthood. This futureview leads him to disregard warnings about drugs or to neglect education. He makes decisions based on that picture - and they make that future vision more and more a certainty each day. You are what you dream, for better or worse.

Your futureview "determines which actions you'll take, and which you'll avoid taking." It determines the "future you." Becoming aware of it, and conscious of it, can help you change your futureview (if necessary) or preactively realize it.

In his book, Burrus relates how he enjoys riding his motorcycle when he needs a break:

The Harley's rear wheel sits behind me, powered by the engine. That's exactly what the past does: it sits behind us, and we can use the momentum of the past to drive us forward. But it's the wheel in front that we use to determine our direction. And anyone who's ever ridden a motorcycle knows this cardinal rule of the road: You head for where you're looking. If there's a rock in the road, and you look straight at it, you'll run over it. Where you look is where you go. Where are you looking?

Make time to explore the future by unplugging from the present - just an hour a week. Don't worry. During this time, ask the following questions:

  1. What are you certain about?
  2. What are the hard trends of your future? What are the soft trends?
  3. Identify cyclical changes vs. linear changes.
  4. How are the 8 pathways of technological advancement and 3 digital accelerators going to affect your work and life?
  5. What are the problems you'll face in the next few weeks, months, or years?
  6. What are the problems your family, employees, and customers going to have?
  7. What are the future problems of people who are not yet customers - but who will be if you have solutions for them?

What does your futureview say about you? And if you're not crazy about the answer, work on changing it, on altering the fundamental expectations and beliefs that can limit your success.

When you start making time for this and applying each of Burrus's principles, you subconsciously start "working on them in the background" as well. After all, the "subconscious mind has millions of times more processing power than the conscious mind." You begin making decisions that make your future vision more and more of a certainty each day - and that can be one heck of a competitive advantage.


Larry Hart

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