3/15/2018 0 Comments
I have a confession to make. I occasionally slip into a place where I talk a lot about the doom and gloom of the years ahead of us. My intention was to make sure you paid attention to the very real existential threats to our existence as a species, thanks to climate change, dramatic income inequality, profoundly systemic racism and mysogyny, rising authoritarian regimes and automation unemployment. Problem is, without showing a new and more empowered way forward, I was creating more fear and hopelessness --- the exact opposite of creating action, courage, vision and possibilities --- the things I advocate for as a Futurist. Several recent studies confirm my intuitive thought.
Scaring people literally makes them feel more scared, more unsafe and politically extreme --- https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2017/11/22/at-yale-we-conducted-an-experiment-to-turn-conservatives-into-liberals-the-results-say-a-lot-about-our-political-divisions/?utm_term=.0a5183d8780a
Doom and gloom media (including social media) tends to lean negative and pessimistic, which leads people to take extreme social and political positions. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/donald-trump-and-the-psychology-of-doom-and-gloom/
Negativity and pessimism tend to become self-fulfilling prophecies --- https://psychcentral.com/blog/how-to-stop-pessimistic-self-fulfilling-prophecies-from-shaping-your-life/
Pessimism is killing us --- https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/nov/20/is-pessimism-bad-for-you
I'm not writing this to say we shouldn't tell people the truth about the real threats that can destroy whole societies and a world. On the contrary --- tell people everything, not just one side....but all sides. Tell the whole story. Tell them about what positive possibilities can come if they re-imagine the future beyond the dystopian tropes of our movies, tv shows and pop culture. We used to call that hope.
There are three quotes I use in guiding my decisions toward actionable hope instead of immobilizing fear......
“There is no better teacher than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance next time.” — Malcolm X
“What the world really needs is more love and less paper work” -- Pearl Bailey
"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change things, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete." --- Buckminster Fuller
To truly serve ourselves, our community and the world, we must lean into solutions, opportunities and new thinking like we've never done before. I am, because I know the future depends on it.
2/22/2018 0 Comments
In all fairness, the Sustainability Movement --- a push to make our environment diverse and habitable for generations to come, and the Regeneration Movement ---a push to reset the current paradigm and transform the planet into a habitable place for all living beings --- really are working toward the same end. However, as I have dug deeper into the Regeneration Movement, I can say that this approach is much more precise for the kind of challenges we face today. Here are four examples of what I mean....
Regenerative Agriculture --- The problem with our current agricultural practice is the tremendous amount of chemicals used to grow the crops as well as the horrible stripping away of top soil, leaving the land problematic for years. Regenerative agriculture does three things: restores and maintains top soil, makes the soil reduce the amount of carbon in our atmosphere and doubles down on the organic movement. That's three for the price of one. Read more here....http://www.regenerationinternational.org/why-regenerative-agriculture/
The Truth and Reconciliation Movement --- Anyone who has been to counseling knows that the first step to healing is first admitting that you have a problem. There is a movement in the world to get countries to do exactly what the South Africans did a few years back. This doesn't mean all problems will be solved when they are acknowledged and are laid bare, but it is hard for any society to survive with hidden and unacknowledged wrongs in it's past. This can be the start of a new beginning for a country....http://www.scholarsstrategynetwork.org/brief/how-grassroots-truth-and-reconciliation-movements-can-further-fight-social-justice-us
The Regenerative Economy --- There are tons of new economic ideas being floated about these days. The only reason they are is because the Fourth Industrial Revolution is demanding something new and that there is a growing lack of confidence, especially among young people about why we should keep what we have when it's not working very well for most people. Here is an idea that provides another view as to how economies can serve more people and the planet...https://www.fastcompany.com/3020653/creating-a-regenerative-economy-to-transform-global-finance-into-a-force-for-good
Regenerative Cities --- With masses of people moving from coastal and war torn metro areas to others, it's time to get ahead of this challenge. The approach of the past has been basically no approach. Unbridled growth was considered a sign of a wealthy community. Not any more. Here is a regenerative cities plan to leverage the technologies of the day to create great metro areas...https://www.worldfuturecouncil.org/city-need-regenerative-city/
It's not that the technology or resources don't exist to help us leverage this regenerative approach. It's a matter of collective will and awareness.
2/7/2018 0 Comments
2/1/2018 0 Comments
I am a Futurist, that is, my job is to chase stories beyond their typical news cycle and follow them over an extended period of time, then see how they will affect our society in general and my clients specifically. While some Futurists look 50 to 100 years down the road, my focus is on the next 3-5 years. With automation unemployment, climate change adaptation, the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the rise of Authoritarianism, people like me are kept busy trying to help people understand what’s coming. Make no mistake…this is a unique time in the history of humankind.
I recently was at a party and brought up my great anticipation of the coming Black Panther movie starring Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o, Michael B. Jordan and Danai Gurira. This visual treatise of Afrofuturism (seeing the future through the lens of African culture as opposed to Western culture) is one of the most anticipated movies of 2018. A colleague in our conversation circle also thought of it as a must-see movie event, but added “it’s all fantasy, but hey, we need a little escape”.
Something about the tone in which he made that statement hit me sideways. How can anyone call the first major, global big budget blockbuster starring a predominantly Black cast and led by a Black director and writer something as cheap as ‘a little escape’? Did he say that about Thor Ragnorok? The reason Black Panther is getting all of this world attention is because it is a cultural flashpoint like the first Birth of a Nation or The Matrix or 2001: A Space Odyssey, where the cultural impact changes the language, vision or trajectory of a society or of a people. I believe the Black Panther movie has the potential to land with particular intensity here in the States because of the current times we live in. Of course, having a lit movie doesn’t guarantee people will get the bigger message. I mean, there are people still talking about the fight scenes in The Matrix, but missed the bigger story of looking beyond the illusions. Problem is…to get the deeper message The Matrix or The Black Panther can provide, you kinda hafta be somewhat woke.
This is where the African American community is going to have to dig deep. We have people in the community who are intelligent, articulate and conscious, but we still have to break the shackles of only looking at what’s in front of us and start looking at those things that are ahead of us. Many of us have developed a cottage industry around raging against the machine, but never really imagining ourselves beyond the machine. Thus, we end up developing an entire lifestyle around “resistance”. Not to say that it’s not warranted, especially in the climate that exists today. It’s just that true power isn’t in reacting, it’s in acting. Resistance is based on how to respond to what someone else does. Thus, all of the power is with the person that does something, not with those scrambling for a response.
A message to society?
To society in general, we must develop a vision for what we want. Even if we don’t know what we want, we should at least develop an environment that allows us to speculate on what we want. Some would say African Americans haven’t had time to do that kind of speculation because, collectively, we’re constantly under fire. Truth. But I would submit that we’re going to have to make time for this kind of being. Anything less than that is destruction. A famous scripture in the Christian Bible says “without vision, the people perish”.
I constantly say that we as a society must “raise our gaze” so that our whole focus is not to get what other people have, but to create something above and beyond our wildest imagination so that we can develop communities that are an extension of our greatest dreams and aspirations. Think about it. If our high bar is just to obtain instead to achieve, we’ve lost our very soul.
The power of myth
Visionaries must set a new course of what quality of life is and the power of the human experience. All of us may not be visionaries, but those who do have a minute to get an imaginative idea must take those ideas back to the people and, in the words of Malcolm X, ‘make it plain’. Sometimes the best way of making this kind of thought accessible is in mythmaking stories. Mythmaking allows us to get out of our heads and into our hearts and spirit for answers to some of our most pressing challenges. It doesn’t exclude the intellect. It just makes it an equal partner with imagination. Imaginative thought should be a first requirement of our ‘leaders’. If the best of us don’t have a more imaginative view of the road ahead, the rest of us don’t stand a chance.
That’s where the Black Panther movie comes into play. Director Ryan Coogler(Creed, Fruitvale Station) is simply borrowing from the ancient African tradition of dramatic and fantastic story telling. Those stories were told by our ancestors so that we would create a more profound look at our lives and what we could achieve. Of course, the ancients knew that when they told the stories of Anansi the Spider, they weren’t talking about an actual talking spider who thought about how to trip people up in their day to day dealings. They knew what they were doing was myth making. They understood the transcendent power of myth and how it could set the imagination of generations on fire.
Myth making is simply someone’s thought. In fact, everything first begins as thought. From thought, all things are born. If our thoughts are of compromised materialism and how not to lose instead of how to win, we get a dearth of original ideas. We experience the same problems over and over again seeking answers from the usual suspects. I look at the movie Black Panther as a way to jumpstart or re-imagine the future.
We were born to contribute to the wealth of humankind --- not merely as an addendum unto someone elses' agenda, but as pillars in today’s modern world. I am certainly not downplaying the role of the establishment of humankind by our ancestors, but the baton has been passed to us to imagine….and create. What would happen if, in our imagination, we took a step beyond what we know and saw ourselves as the generation who created a reboot for humanity? What if we were the ones that saw the ugliness of the direction we’ve been on for the past few centuries and did a dramatic course correction that would halt climate change, reduce income inequality, stop the exploitation of other people, end the potential of nuclear war and cure food insecurity.? How would that change what you're doing with your life right now?
The power of myth making is to get us to expand our capacity as individuals. We can go beyond talking about how bad things are and concentrate on what possibilities are emerging. The youth are empowered by it. The creatives see vision in it. The activists find a plan in it. The elders hold onto hope in it.
If your biggest vision in life is to pay bills then die, that’s all you will ever have. The Black Panther movie could provide us all with an ‘escape’ from imagination lock down. But it can also give us a vision of what could happen if we fully indulge into the myths and stories and let our heart and souls get brave. Just a little bit. It’s about creating a new kind of vision. And, as the R & B group, The Dramatics, said years ago…what you see…. is what you get.
12/13/2017 0 Comments
There are many who fear the future. But the truth is that the future is what you make it to be. Imagination, intention, vision and courage are all necessary to push the reset button on the kind of society and world that works for the greater good. Find out what myself and my colleagues with the International Institute of Inspiration Economy are doing to support an abundant, sharing and empowered way forward. www.leadtheshift.com. Don't go into 2018 creating your personal life plan using 20th century tools and ideas in a 21st century transformed world.
12/7/2017 0 Comments
I recently was in an intellectual disagreement with another Futurist who said that he didn't trust other Futurists because they tend to take a position as opposed to report the facts. My experience has been that when people say others don't report the facts, they are suggesting they are --- which immediately cancels out any credibility they have. Truth is, we all come from positions. The key is to acknowledge those positions and not be afraid to measure your position against data that may challenge them. I informed him that I am an advocate and freely admit I am rooting for a specific direction. I support peace, possibilities, abundance, empowerment, sharing and connectedness. That doesn't mean I can't give you the straight ugly data of current affairs. I do, and regularly share links so that you can do the research yourself. But I think as a Futurist, my job is to also share the other side of that coin --- options and solutions my research has given me privy to. Today, I'd like to drill down on that part of my service to you, by sharing some trending solutions you'll want to consider when you ask the question "how do we get out of the mess we find the world in right now?"
Meditation. Because you can't give what you don't have. Want more love and peace in the world? Bring it. Meditation is trending because of the stunning research that keeps coming out about how it can transform your physical, mental as well as spiritual life. Even more, it slows down the aging process. It's the closest thing we have to a real live miracle drug..https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2015/05/26/harvard-neuroscientist-meditation-no...
Have A Vision Party. The great challenge that seems to show up regularly in our leadership is that it has no vision for an abundant, empowered world for everyone. The current vision of many of our leaders is on lack, fear, the few and scarcity. Thus, with their resources, they create political, religious, economic and social structures that reflect their vision. You must develop vision parties where you and trusted friends get together over pizza or coffee and talk out loud about your biggest, most empowering dreams and visions. If you trust your friends and the process, answers will come to you on how to make those visions reality. But first, give your vision a voice.https://howtoliveonpurpose.com/3727/mind/manifest-money/why-is-a-vision-statement-important/#
Become a station manager. During slavery in the United States, a series of people in private homes and on plantations created a method of helping hundreds of thousands of enslaved Africans escape to freedom in Canada. During the Nazi occupation of France, the Resistance Movement and the French Underground helped hide and transport hundreds of thousands of persecuted Jews. The people who maintained these paths to freedom were known as station managers. They lived their lives during the day, but they helped fund and support those who were brave enough to champion freedom. Find an organization that represents what you'd like to see in the world and fund them. Skip that latte or two this week for a greater cause. Pull from your retirement investments and fund things that may actually save the planet.
Plant a garden or be part of a community garden. One of the most important things that must happen going forward is addressing food security for yourself and your community and eventually the world. An organized private or community garden can be one of the greatest things you do in this life. http://realfarmacy.com/growing-food-rigged-system/
Go to conferences that are talking about a new kind of humanity. We all go to conferences and often they roll out the usual suspect --- a motivational speaker who basically tells you don't worry, be happy. Let's take a break from the cheerleaders. It's time to change things up and go where people are challenging your conventional wisdom with plans and a way forward.That's the only time we grow, we become human and when we come alive. I'd like to invite you to a conference myself and my colleagues at the International Institute of Inspiration Economy are holding in Canada next year. http://www.leadtheshift.com/the-first-annual-iiieubr-north-american-conference.html
We can walk and chew gum, that is, we can live our lives, and also build a new one at the same time. If you're tired of the pessimism and doom/gloom news of the day, try some of these suggestions.
11/28/2017 0 Comments
As a Futurist, my job is to connect the dots to see where things are trending. What I've noticed is that a deeply disturbing trend toward Neo Feudalism is emerging. Imagine those European medieval movies you've seen where there are the poor, unwashed masses living from hand to mouth in a kingdom with a small group of nobility running the show. That's not far from where we're trending. Neo Feudalism is an environment where there are dramatically unequal human rights, wealth and quality of life experiences between the vast majority of people and "royalty" ....the small percentage of the population at the top that keep this environment in place and seeks to expand these differences.
The United States as we speak is making a gigantic leap toward this kind of future, but it is no way alone. Iraq, Afghanistan, Russia, Hungary,, Yemen, Venezuela, Chile, Myanmar and a host of other countries are trending toward the concentration of power and wealth in the hands of fewer and fewer people, while sub standard living conditions for the many expand. This, indeed, has been going on for some time, but has dramatically picked up steam over the past few years. Here are some examples of policies that have set the United States up to create a 21st century version of Neo Feudalism...
The Citizens United Decision. This Supreme Court decision basically legalized bribery of elected officials and elections. If you have vast sums of money, you can get the government and policies you want. http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-echochambers-27074746
Killing Net Neutrality. At one time, the internet was known as the great equalizer....a tool that allowed anyone with a connection to have access to resources, information and a platform. At this writing, the Federal Communications Commission is about to end the idea that all parties who participate on the internet have equal status. Should this decision stand, those with money will have faster and better service and can even control your experience or even if you'll get service at all. https://lifehacker.com/what-the-end-of-net-neutrality-means-for-you-1820647171
Gentrification. Gentrification is a process of renovation of deteriorated urban neighborhoods by means of the influx of more affluent residents. In reality, it is a form of land grab for developers who use young, usually white, more affluent residents as "shock troops" to raise the value of the land after the developers purchased it earlier at fire sale prices. A developer friend of mine told me they get the fire sale prices by redlining the neighborhood and allowing it to fall into disarray by holding back development dollars. Sometimes this process happens through natural disasters like hurricanes and floods. At one time the area had affordable home prices and rent for low and middle income residents. In Gentrification, those one-time residents are priced out of the neighborhood with few resources to find better housing. This migration out is not that dissimilar to migrants in other parts of the world who have had to leave their homes due to war or climate change.https://everydayfeminism.com/2014/09/gentrification-communities-of-color/
Stagnant wages. The reason so many people have to work several jobs to make ends meet is because most people in this country haven't received a raise in over 30 years to keep up with inflation. Why? Automation is speeding up and making it cheaper to use robots instead of humans. That's why you can have skyrocketing productivity and flat wages. https://www.thestreet.com/story/13051096/1/americans-havent-had-a-raise-in-35-years-but-something-el...
Income Inequality. The biggest story of our time is that there is a level of income inequality between the well to do and most everyone else that is greater than at the time of the Great Depression. This makes the ground fertile for a Feudal system to emerge. http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/12/05/u-s-income-inequality-on-rise-for-decades-is-now-hig...
WHAT CAN BE DONE?
There is an assumption in some circles that this emerging Neo Feudal environment is an anomaly....a blip on the screen that it will soon self correct if we just get the right elected officials in office. As a Futurist, it's important for me to point out that these are trends, not exceptions to the norm. That means, they are long term decisions that all of us have made, collectively, in one way or another. The only way to change the course, is to make another decision. We are now in that time where we will decide if those dystopian sci fi movies that show the few elite living well at the expense of the massess are cautionary tales.....or documentaries.
In the next briefing, I'll go into tangible concepts and ideas that can help us make a new decision.
I gotta give it to my ex wife. She had her finger on the pulse before it became fashionable to be food conscious. In the nascent days of our young marriage back in the 90s, she came home from the library on fire, and not in a good way. "Chet....do you know about the crap they are putting in our food"? I had a working understanding that processed food was not good, but it was a casual understanding. "They put terrible things in our food...names no one can even pronounce. From now on, no more crazy food is coming into this house and into our boys. We are cutting out all animal, processed and junk food". After a moment of silence to gather my wits about me, not quite sure what just went down, I asked her "ummmmm....does that include wings too?" "Yes Chet! Nothing with a face!". Back then it was called a Macrobiotic diet. Now it's called vegan. Before the days of organic and vegan product being available on ever other corner, she became a creative genius with tofu and greens. She made vegan soul food that would have been the envy of Soul Vegan restaurant in Chicago. She created a vegan diet out of thin air for almost 8 years before we widened our selection to include some fish and poultry.
She was right then and is right now. Modern diets, particularly the Western diet, is literally killing millions wherever it goes......http://panthernow.com/2015/08/07/the-western-diet-is-killing-us/ and .https://www.npr.org/2011/03/24/132745785/how-western-diets-are-making-the-world-sick
As I mentioned in a previous briefing, my concern is what this diet is doing to our creativity, our decision making, our rational judgement and our ability to tap into wisdom. I am not the only one....https://www.naturalnews.com/047220_Western_diet_cognitive_function_obesity.html#
There is a global obesity epidemic happening in the wake of the Western diet. By conjecture, this is bound to produce vast swaths of people with poor brain function and failing rational ability. So, those of you who want to change the current trajectory of the world, you'll want to start by doing something about what you eat.
NBA players are seeing the light..http://www.stack.com/a/the-nbas-vegan-revolution-why-so-many-players-embrace-a-plant-based-diet
Millennials have been seeing it for some time...https://www.seeker.com/rise-in-veganism-more-young-people-care-where-their-food-comes-from-197879533....
Whenever I check Google Trends, going vegan is one of the most researched subjects on the web https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/02/interest-in-vegan-diets-on-the-rise_n_3003221.html
West Africans have been enjoying overall health above and beyond what most Westerners experience ---- probably because of their healthy diet....https://qz.com/473598/west-africans-have-some-of-the-healthiest-diets-in-the-world/
I don't want to give you the impression that you going to a vegan or West African diet will solve the world's challenges. But I do want you to understand that when you take charge of one part of your life --- your diet --- you can actually empower yourself to affect other parts of your life and give you a sense of agency in the world. THAT is what solves the world's challenges.
Besides. we could use a few more smart people.
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.
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