I have found myself this week spending a lot of time thinking about what is in store in the future. I have been pondering this question from a number of different angles, including business, product, marketing, technology, and more. I’ve even been considering where I’m headed personally when it comes to things like running (do I try a full marathon next year?).
This has led me to a few observations:
The Future is Unknowable. So Don’t Try Too Hard. We can all make reasonable judgments about what is in store down the road for ourselves and our companies. But ultimately we don’t really know what is going to happen, so it isn’t worth getting too wound up about the possibilities, good or bad.
Stuff Happens. The Future Changes. Just when you think you have the full menu of options for the future in front of you, some new event or piece of information will likely crop up that switches up the dynamic. For example, many of my significant career path transformations have come out of left field and been executed incredibly swiftly.
We’re All Working with Imperfect Information. Because the future is unknowable and facts can change at any time, we’re all forced to make decisions without a full picture in front of us. But so is everyone else involved in that decision-making process, so from that perspective we’re generally on a level playing field (unless, of course, others are deliberately withholding material facts, but that’s a topic for another post).
Sometimes You Hit Curveballs for Home Runs. If you make the wrong decision today, it might end up being the right decision months or years from now. As I look back over the past 5 or 10 years, there are plenty of decisions that in the immediate aftermath I thought may have been poor judgments, but today look pretty fortuitous. It’s all what you make of the course of events.
Exciting Changes Can Be Scary. Scary Changes Can Be Exciting. Since I like challenges, I like change. If it looks like bad news, I often like it because it forces rethinking things. If it seems like good news, I like it because it usually means some sort of growth.
We Overthink the Unfamiliar. I had a great conversation with a fellow entrepreneur earlier this week who passed on some great advice from a mentor. The first time you do something, you spend a lot of time worrying and planning. The second time, you trust your instincts and work more quickly.
So don’t worry too much about the future, but embrace the change that it inevitably brings.