11/13/2017 0 Comments
I hit the gym 3-4 times each week. I usually supplement my workout routine with extra protein and maybe a good pre-workout drink, so I've become a regular at my local GNC store. I have a slim muscular build, so I'm not training for the Mr. Universe contest. Nevertheless, I love how my workout makes me feel, keeps me strong, makes my body agile and allows me to wear cooler clothes. One day, a guy at the GNC store asked me "what are your body building goals"? I told him "honestly, I love staying in shape, but even more, I love working out because it stimulates my thinking. My greatest ideas seem to come to me as I am working out." I also get the same level of stimulation from my meditation practices. A trending body of research is affirming what I have been experiencing for years ---- exercise, meditation and yoga help stimulate "divergent thinking". Divergent thinking is a thought process or method used to generate creative ideas by exploring many possible solutions. Data suggests that this kind of thinking, which would help us to re-imagine ourselves to a new creative future, is being regularly and systematically destroyed by our education systems.
As systematic as this has been, our creativity is not dead....just on life support. An argument can be made that our political and cultural decision making is suffering badly because many citizens have become mindless, non-thinking droids. There are people who will pay handsomely to manipulate that kind of populous through social media and propaganda. The immediate future requires a much higher level of thought than all of life over the past few hundred years. If you want to reduce the level of pessimism and depression in your life and would like to turn up positive, affirmative solution making thoughts and ideas, pay attention. Here are five things you can do right now to stimulate your creative, problem-solving side.
Create vision parties. In my first book Seven Steps To Success I Learned From Homeless People, I talked about a method we used with my homeless clients --- the vision party. We basically gave all participants the opportunity to give voice to their biggest, most powerful dreams and ideas. No idea was to big or too silly. Everything shared was valid. Other members of the group gave their suggestion of how the person might achieve that particular vision. For some, it was the first time they had ever done anything like that. https://www.amazon.com/Seven-Success-Learned-Homeless-People/dp/0929753186
Hit the gym! I'm looking into the correlation between people in the US and the rest of the world being caught in an obesity epidemic...
....and our loss of creativity and independent thought. But until those officials numbers are in, I think it's safe to say the two are related. Here are some numbers that are in --- exercise builds up brain cells, thus stimulating creative thought. Consider weight management a bonus. https://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2015/01/23/brain-benefits-exercise.aspx
Get into Meditation. It is beyond any doubt, meditation is one of the most powerful things you could ever do to stimulate your creative source. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/bianca-rothschild/the-science-of-how-medita_b_5579901.html
The way meditation helps your body correct and heal itself is as close to miraculous as there is. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zHuWUwc4RU
Take a walk! Yes, creative thought can be cultivated simply by doing long walks..https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201404/why-does-walking-stimulate-creative-thi...
Get your yoga on. Yoga is a powerful stimulate of creative thought. A note, though. Don't do it because it's what the gentrified cool kids do. Do it because it is a 1,000 year old practice designed to center your human experience. If you're stuck on a problem, leave it for a while, practice yoga, then come back to it. https://www.yogajournal.com/teach/unexpected-ways-yoga-stimulates-creative-thinking
These suggestions are not provided so you can get stimulated, become more creative, then huddle back to your nice, safe and convenient life, but because the world needs our highest and most creative thinking now more than ever. Step up.
The great challenge we face going through this particular time of global change is that we are constantly seeking to address our most pressing problems with old, outdated and, if I may, 'stupid' ideas. Of course, part of the human condition is to draw from the tried and tested so we tend to work in increments....with the familiar....with patterns that we've established over eons. At any other time, those approaches may be considered appropriate to the normal human evolutionary journey,. But we are living in extraordinary times. Here are the trends that are begging us to rethink our approach immediately....
Climate change is happening faster than we thought it would. The latest on climate change shows things are speeding up faster than predictions...https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-06/global-warming-might-be-speeding-up
World economies are on the brink. We are seeing visible evidence that the socioeconomic order that has rootedi itself in the word for the past few centuries is collapsing...https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/oct/11/world-order-collapse-refugees-emerging-economi...
Remember the automation unemployment crisis? The automation unemployment crisis will be more profound than we originally thought...https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jun/26/jobs-future-automation-robots-skills-creative-health
Now that I've put a damper on your day, allow me to brighten it. While the evidence shows that one version of existence is ending, another one is emerging. This is a unique time in the history of humanity. We are presented with opportunities and ideas that we would have never considered otherwise. Here are the opportunities that are emerging...
Vertical farming saves the day.Vertical farming may be part of the world food security solution we've been looking for, but didn't see the need to pursue it until now. https://www.ecowatch.com/5-ways-vertical-farms-are-changing-the-way-we-grow-food-1882019986.html
We are re-imagining cities. It took the internet of things and climate change to get us to rethink the design, purpose and the people of a major metropolitan area. From smart cities to "resilience hubs", we are rethinking metro areas outside of gentrification money hubs to places where people thrive and succeed in a time of change. http://www.iisd.org/faq/building-a-climate-resilient-city/
Africa is leapfrogging. The idea of an advance technological African nation as the one that will be featured in the upcoming movie Black Panther may currently be the stuff of fiction, but there is definitely a trend where emerging countries in Sub Saharan Africa are leapfrogging so-called "advanced" nations simply because they are not bogged down in old world technology infrastructure and politics. A new leadership is emerging...https://www.forbes.com/sites/harrybroadman/2016/09/30/can-africa-leapfrog-the-innovation-gap/#6f6c0d...
The popularity of co-ops is soaring globally. Based on all metrics to date, coops are dramatically rising in popularity, probably in response to the rise of income inequality as communities seek ways of feeding their people. https://www.shareable.net/blog/11-platform-cooperatives-creating-a-real-sharing-economy
Do you have a project you are working on that can add to this wave of really great ideas that can transform the world in short order? We need you. Download the UBR app from www.leadtheshift.com and submit your idea from your business, your partnership, your organization. We need the best of ideas right now to share with other thought leaders all around the planet. This is not just a kind of nice thing to do.....this is a necessity to ensure the continuation of the species on an entirely new direction.
If you live in many parts of the world today, this conversation may be hard to wrap your arms around. However, allow me to make a case of why we should be optimistic about the future of the planet.
Experience over possessions. You've probably read by now that Millennials (18 - 35 year olds) have figured something out --- people with a lot of stuff and tons of debt, don't seem to be happier than people without a lot of stuff and very little debt. They have reasoned that experience is more important than paying for stuff the rest of your life. This is a stunning development considering that Western societies, and those who copy Western style models, constantly pound the message of " ownership" through debt. The iron-clad grip of materialism is giving way to relationships, experiences, the health of the children and other quality of life measurements. "uncivilized" cultures have valued for eons. https://www.forbes.com/sites/blakemorgan/2015/06/01/nownershipnoproblem-nowners-millennials-value-ex...
The opportunities in climate change adaptation. Yes, climate change will challenge the very survival of humanity. At the same time, some of our greatest moments are ahead of us. All around the world, communities are moving ahead with adapting to extreme weather by bonding together, creating jobs and a new sense of cooperation. It seems that climate change may create opportunities of cooperation and collaboration we've only dreamed about. One of the best known examples is the powerful project by several West and Northern African countries to create The Great Green Wall. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/farmers-in-sahel-beat-back-drought-and-climate-change-wit...
Renewable energies can change the power structure in the world. If you control the energy in the world, you control the world. The current world power structure that has led us to the near extinction level event we face through climate change has been fueled through the petroleum industry. Renewable energy structures, especially zero cost energy households through solar power will mean a permanent decentralization of power so that it's not concentrated in the hands of a few. This is in keeping with the human-centric direction the world is leaning toward. http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/articles/2016/08/decentralized-renewables-the-rise-of-the-micro-...
We're not having a breakdown. We're having a breakthrough. It can be argued that humanity experimented with a bunch of ideas over the past few centuries that simply didn't work very well. The moment that we are in now is asking us to take the next step in correcting a bad call....create a new way forward. Break through. We've lived long enough to know what ideas are terrible. We have a chance to learn and become greater from our experience. But as any psychologist will tell you, the first step to healing is admitting that you have a problem.
Optimism is an intention, not just a feeling. In order to create an abundant, empowered and sharing future going forward, we must choose optimism. That means, optimism is a choice and an intention. In other words, there is a decision that has to be made about the future that benefits more people and heals the planet. In a very real way, it is a belief....a faith that in every human rests the seeds of a flower. As we water and nurture it, we see it's beauty and power. Waiting to feel good is not a strategy. Deciding to water our flower, pull resources together to design a future is. It's called optimism.
10/18/2017 1 Comment
Many of us live on automatic pilot, that is, we take our social, religious and political cues from widely held beliefs. This normal part of human behavior allows us to make decisions based on the data we believe to be true. But there is another part of that structure a lot of people ignore. It is our ability to take in new data so that we can update our information base and, perhaps, make better decisions. Here are some updates, based on some recent trends that are re-writing our perceptions.
MYTH: If we just keep doing incremental changes through charity programs, legislation, grant initiatives from Foundations, etc, we will empower more people and build a better society. FACT: That's not how we're trending. There are a few exceptions in South East Asia, but overall in the world, the trend over the past 40 years is the rapid growth of income inequality. In fact, in the US, the latest numbers in a Fortune Magazine report say that Black and Brown communities will be, on the whole, penniless in the next 10 to 20 years. http://fortune.com/2017/09/19/racial-inequality-wealth-gap-america/?utm_campaign=fortunemagazine&utm... But it doesn't stop in those communities https://www.newstarget.com/2017-08-24-most-americans-are-one-paycheck-away-from-poverty-you-cant-pre...
Think about this the next time you're at a charity ball or event that's raising money for the less fortunate.
WHAT CAN WE DO: Let's put more money, resources, thought and leadership into economic alternatives. This movement is trending. https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2014/sep/15/rethinking-prosperity-credible-alternat...
MYTH: Overpopulation is destroying the planet. FACT: The top industrialized nations are destroying the planet. Oxfam came out with a study that says the top 10% of industrialized countries account for half of all CO2 emissions, thus leading to climate change, while the bottom 50% of the world's population only account for a 10% contribution to climate change. We've been trending that way for the past century. https://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/file_attachments/mb-extreme-carbon-inequality-021215... Even more, it's not about the numbers of people as much as it is about the efficiency of systems in top industrialized nations http://www.globalpolicyjournal.com/blog/22/07/2013/food-crisis-real-problem-poverty. WHAT CAN WE DO: It will be hard, but there has to be a global campaign on sharing for the good of everybody.
MYTH: People are naturally selfish and self-serving. FACT: The trending body of science says we're hardwired to be generous and altruistic. Tons of emerging data keeps saying the same thing --- we actually want to give and get great pleasure out of the process. http://www.medicaldaily.com/human-brain-hardwired-altruistic-behavior-kind-and-generous-378606. One can only imagine what could happen in a socioeconomic system that leans toward that strength instead of one that emphasizes a belief that acquisition is the road to happiness. WHAT CAN WE DO: The rise of the philosophical construct called Ubuntu seeks to tap into that sharing, giving aspect of humanity so we can leverage that strength.
MYTH: We can stop climate change/global warming by lowering the world's CO2 emissions. FACT: That ship has sailed some time ago. We are now in the transition phase where we have to start thinking climate change adaptation. You'll be hearing that phrase more and more often over the next 3-5 years. https://kottke.org/15/08/climate-change-were-past-the-point-of-no-return WHAT CAN WE DO: There are Climate Change Adaptation groups springing up all around the world. Join one.
MYTH: Autonomous Robots won't take as many jobs as what's being predicted.. FACT: Autonomous Robots have already been taking jobs and have been doing so for the past 30 years. People are working harder but not earning more. They are working two or three jobs to take the place of one. They are discovering the one income household is almost a thing of the past. Why? Autonomous robots or automation. It's been going on since the 1990s. Most people just didn't connect the dots. http://fortune.com/2016/11/08/china-automation-jobs/ WHAT CAN BE DONE: All jobs won't go away, but large swaths of people will be underemployed or unemployed. It's time to rethink what can we do to leverage the collective strength of our populations to solve some of our most basic challenges.
10/9/2017 1 Comment
At many of my workshops and presentations on the immediate future of the planet, I always tell my audience that we, as a civilization, are not trending very well. In other words, if we allow things to continue unabated, the world will become a mean, poor, desperate and inhospitable place for most everyone and everything in a relatively few short years. Besides dramatic climate change, there are several crises that are contributing to this trajectory toward our future dystopia.....
I did not compile this list to depress you. On the contrary. Crises, like the flu in the body, is trying to tell the host it's time to do some healing and perhaps, change the lifestyle that created the opportunity for the flu in the first place. Whatever we've been doing to date, through the leadership of the past few centuries, is not only unsustainable, but irresponsible and toxic. It's time to talk about cures. And yes, they are available, but it will take another level of us to do this work. Here are five ideas to remember in this time of great change....
The only way out is to go through. Traditional approaches to world challenges borrow from the 20th century playbook --- kick the can down the road and let future generations deal with it. Continuing this form or irresponsibility is the very foundation to the many dystopian futures offered in pop culture. It's time to be honest and tell people things are going to get more difficult before they get better. Now is the time to put together your core group --- this is a private gathering of activists, tech leaders, civic-minded people, philosophers, spiritual heads and community representatives to develop a consensus plan. Then share that plan with other core groups around the country and world. I can help you connect with those other core groups. firstname.lastname@example.org
A new kind of decentralized leadership model must be championed. The highly centralized hierarchy model of leadership, which is a mainstay of the past few centuries, has proven that it is way too vulnerable to manipulation by a small group of characters. We now have the technology to move the concept of shared leadership and responsibility forward. https://www.technologyreview.com/s/402213/the-decentralization-imperative/
Where are the visionaries? If there was ever a time for brave, insightful, intuitive and visionary people to step forward and be counted, this is that day. May I suggest that each visionary have a quality control team to run their ideas and visions through. This could also be your core group.
Sharing is caring. There are ideologues who say terrible things about the rising Peer to Peer or Sharing Economy models, primarily because they have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo and...quite frankly....we haven't seen the full implementation of a sharing economy utilizing the miraculous efficiencies of today's technology. This new model of sharing burden, responsibility, abundance and possibilities may be the greatest things that could ever happen to humanity. But we'll never know until we implement it.
A personal commitment to a higher purpose. Some people call this spirituality. I call it human essence. If you read some of the work of indigenous people around the world, you realized that there were, on the whole, a different set of priorities about the human experience that centered around spirit, belief and connectedness. These were later dismissed as superstitions by modern society. My suspicion is that reconnecting with a higher level of belief changes our priorities about life on earth. As we face an extinction level event through climate change, our ability to tap into a higher, more profound belief system is critical. Belief sets up philosophical ideas. Philosophical ideas set up laws. Laws guide societies.
There are ways out of this mess, but it will take next level belief and a plan of action in order for this to move from a nice discussion into plans of action.
9/25/2017 0 Comments
The current combined crises of climate change, income inequality, racism and poverty are not issues beyond our ability as a species to address them. Indeed, we have the vast resources of expanding technology, information at our fingertips and collective wisdom from around the globe. So why do we appear to be moving backwards instead of forward on these issues? It may have something to do with our ability to envision or to imagine outside of our current set of experiences and information --- we don't imagine solutions outside of what we already know. Here are some examples of this failure of imagination at work. Trends happening in the US are a good place to start:
In the US, leaders have allowed parts of the population to fall into collapse rather than end the structural racism that creates the problem in the first place, even though their is technology that would eliminate the country's need to have the racial caste system in place ...http://fortune.com/2017/09/19/racial-inequality-wealth-gap-america/?utm_campaign=fortunemagazine&utm...
US leaders continue to mismanage spending against the development of society, despite mountains of information that point to better spending possibilities...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aC0hzK3TMQg
Australia and other Western countries knew what we were doing with our energy structure would eventually lead to the climate change crisis. Even though we've had alternative energy opportunities, we ignored both the data and the alternatives....http://press-files.anu.edu.au/downloads/press/p303951/html/Chapt05.xhtml?referer=226&page=10
What can be done to change our vulnerability to this kind of influence? From my perspective, there are four things that are within our grasp that are trending...
1. Embrace failure. Our ability to see failure as a stepping stone helps us develop new tools for the next try at the effort.
2. Create flat management structures. Hierarchy structures have a tendency to isolate the right hand from the left. Flat structures help information and insight flow more readily.
3. Collaborate. Climate change is going to require us to work together. Now is the time to develop collaborative infrastructure.
4. Listen. Listening changes everything. It forces you to put your ideas in the back ground while receiving new ideas from someone else. It also provides an opportunity to expand your capacity.
What could come from developing our imagination?
Many possibilities are right at our doorstep....http://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2017/09/holland-agriculture-sustainable-farming/
Economies could change with a little bit of courage...http://www.businessinsider.com/basic-income-would-grow-gdp-by-trillions-study-finds-2017-8
Countries that are not tied to tradition, ideas and customs have a greater capacity for imagination. They could possibly save the rest of us.....https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/01/is-africa-leading-the-innovation-revolution/
Our failure of imagination is culturally supported through intimidation, mass media, social media echo chambers and simply bad leadership that doesn't have the capacity to see beyond it's own selfish goals. That means, instead of leaders....we must now think about leadership. Leadership is when a consensus of the future is built by people....everyday people who are simply looking to take care of the families as well as live in a world of peace, opportunities and abundance.
9/11/2017 1 Comment
A really good Futurist is a person who combines the skills of a Trend Analyst with the inquisitive mind of a Journalist. As a Futurist, my job is to look at trends, ask where they are taking us collectively, then ask questions about the who, what, when, where and why of those trends. As part of this task, I personally read a little bit of everything I can get my hands on --- including those tabloid-like articles and videos that sensationalize end of the world scenarios. While they are mostly "fake news", there is always a grain of truth you can glean from their work.
The prophets of panic are back at it again. They are now saying September 23rd is the new date for the end of humanity. This time, however, there are plenty of geological, social and political events giving these predictions traction. Here are just a few of them....
And all of this over the past 60 days. I could go on, but you get my point. I am going over historic records to see if there is precedent for this time, but nothing found so far.
Now, before you run off to a cave with a backpack of Spam and a shotgun, allow me to provide more nuanced points of what's happening from a Futurist's perspective.
This is what rapid climate change looks like. Some of you may want to punch the climate change deniers in the neck, but may I suggest you refrain from violence. That energy would best be used in creating climate change adaptation models of living. Besides, if there were people to be angry with, it would be the captains of industry decades ago who had the data that said these things would happen if we didn't change our ways. They chose, instead, to bury that data for the sake of profit. That's what's called leadership malfeasance. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/is-climate-change-causing-hurricanes-to-be-more-severe_us_59b47b...
Advanced technology combined with climate change are creating unstable societies. When people don't know what's going on and respond in fear, they turn to anyone with a large microphone who says they can solve their problems. This, in turn, creates a cycle of disappointment and frustration when the person with the large microphone can't actually solve the problems. In fact, they exacerbate the crisis by delaying people from taking meaningful action that could make a difference. There are two distinct things happening in our world at the same time:
a. New technology is challenging the concept of job, so humans will have to rethink what to do with their lives.
b. Climate change is challenging our current way of existence. It, in fact, is creating an extinction level event unless, as Darwin put it, we learn to adapt.
At the very time humanity needs bold and visionary leadership that can lay out a path going forward, we tend to produce people who address our small needs in fear, This is the great test for our time. If we don't pass, there will be a skyrocketing number of unstable governments. https://www.treehugger.com/green-food/climate-changes-global-food-supply-will-become-increasingly-un...
Change is opportunity in disguise. The model of civilization that has been used around the world for the past few centuries is simply not sustainable or morally tenable. A regenerative model may be the only way forward. This model allows us to recover some of the things that worked from the old way, but not become beholden to them. It introduces technology, vision, spirituality, connectedness, diversity and creativity as equal partners in re-defining civilization. The current crises all provide us with an opportunity to dismantle racism, income inequality, food insecurity, environmental violence and exploitation all at the same time and replace it with something else. http://wiki.commonstransition.org/wiki/Toward_Regenerative_Society:_Plan_for_Rapid_Transition
So, the bottom line question is --- will we see the end of the world on September 23rd? I would submit, we've already seen the end of the world as we know it. We are now in that delicate transition period seeking to figure out who we will be going forward as we emerge from the womb.
9/6/2017 1 Comment
As a Futurist, I have to challenge conventional wisdom when it doesn't translate well in a new environment. The world is in the middle of a gigantic shift, but there are those who want to hold onto ideas that are not only regressive, but have been at the center of a host of socioeconomic crises that have plagued societies for eons. No matter what your political ideology, the evidence is mounting that current systems at work on our planet are unwilling or unable to translate in a world that is simply begging for a different application of the efficiencies of the new technology, a world that requires us to leave racism and caste systems behind in order to create more abundance and sharing, a world that screams for a new kind of belief system other than the destructive "every man for himself" ideology and a world that needs us to become more visionary in how humans will live in a climate changed environment. Our collective failure of imagination is creating the current cognitive dissonance showing up in governments around the world. This article from Fast Company explains this challenge in more detail. https://www.fastcompany.com/40439316/are-you-ready-to-consider-that-capitalism-is-the-real-problem
8/31/2017 1 Comment
So much has happened in the world over the past few months that it's been hard to keep up with all of the changes. Fortunately, I've been keeping track of some of the big trends that are re-shaping everything we know and in short order.
45 years ago, singer Marvin Gaye asked a basic question in song --- "What's Going On?" We find ourselves asking the same question in 2017. My job, and the job of other Futurists, is to help answer that question by paying attention to where we are trending as a collective. Trends are merely decisions we've already made and are now following through on them.
Chet W. Sisk is an author and one of the world's leading Social Futurists. He is also expert on the current world paradigm shift. Find out more about him and the LEAD Global Team at www.leadtheshift.com or you can write him directly at email@example.com