…today’s secret…A Futurist Quiz – the Answers.
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­Two answers for each of last week’s questions. One from the Association of Professional Futurists. One from Willie.

  1. Is there one future or are there many futures?

Association: There are many futures. Future is plural, not singular. Having a multiplicity of futures is a blessing because it gives us freedom to influence what our future will be.

Willie: Our choices and actions are merely reflections of what we see in our mind. Many people think about their future with “what-if” thinking. Identifying possible realities and solution scenarios helps move us from wishful thinking to a more actionable future. Help the people your helping see the possibilities.

  1. Is the future already determined?

Association: No. Our future is not pre-determined.

Willie: Masses of people are predictable, though an individual person is not. The exception does not disprove the rule. Our world of 2022 has the same storylines as just before the Civil War and World War II- only the details are different. 2023-2025 are going to be relevant years for everyone. The people you are helping need to know their future is not pre-ordained, it’s in their hands, and things in the world are a little shaky right now. Don’t keep them in the dark.

  1. What is the best image of the future?

Association: A river delta. We are in a “River of Time” filled with logs, alligators, storms, and other people, all of which could create a sudden event we wouldn’t like. When we near a river delta we have the element of choice because we can go down one fork or another, provided we can get to the right side of the river.

Willie: Every 40 years we see the world with a different set of values. It’s generational. Our river is Ol’ Man River from Showboat. Those song lyrics really work today. While the river “keeps rolling along” it’s dangerously fast right now. In this generational cycle the Ol’ Man River thinking bubbles up big time. “I gets weary. Yes I’m sick of trying. I’m tired of living and I’m feared of dying.” No time to nap these days. Everyone stay awake.

  1. Which is better for understanding the long-term future?

Association: Multiple possible futures. Understanding the future is not to try and predict a single event and be ‘right’. The purpose is to not be surprised. If people are prepared for a range of plausible futures, then they can be successful no matter what occurs in that range.

Willie: Look where you want to go and don’t look where you don’t want to go. Our thoughts and our moods are altered by the voices we let into our minds. What voices are the people you’re helping inviting into their minds? Hopefully, one of them is you.

  1. Which influences the long-term future the most?

Association: The future is an equal combination of trends, events, and choices. When people individually focus on just one or two, it creates inaccuracies.

Willie: Yes, be aware of today’s trends and events, but to me choice rules. Our individual future is determined by how we choose to react to what’s happening with the trends and events beyond our control.

  1. Which is the most frequently overlooked characteristic when bringing about meaningful change?

Association: Communication, vision, and commitment are important, but trust is the characteristic most overlooked. The need is for everyone involved in the change to trust that everyone involved in the change is on the same page.

Willie: The people you are helping should be crystal clear on what you are trying to make happen with them. You need their trust. Help them see it clear. Help them commit, don’t waffle. Talk to them as words are the rockets that will launch their thoughts into reality. And finally, act, small steps are good.

Our mind is an amazing thing, crammed with invisible thoughts that move us unconsciously toward whatever future we believe to be real. We are all in Ol’ Man River right now. Yet we all have multiple futures.

The first step is for us to see the destination.