Dialing thinking

Now, back to business [Bob Adams warns us].

The next step in understanding and dealing with the future is to look at it. That is, to be truly focused on what is coming, not what has come and gone.

That’s what Marshall McLuhan meant when he said, “The past went that-a-way. When faced with a totally new situation, we tend always to attach ourselves to the objects, to the flavor of the most recent past. We look at the present through a rear view mirror. We march backwards into the future.” People do this, political parties do this, societies do this.

Serbia’s disastrous last couple decades result from such a backward view, putting more emphasis on the events of 500 years ago then those of the present. Panama, where folks could still be arguing about the days of the dictator, Manuel Noriega, is doing exactly the opposite and is very future-oriented. That has resulted in astonishing growth in the last few years. China is making its name by looking ahead, not through the rearview mirror. Nations like Russia and Iraq are making up their minds which way to look.

Whether it’s the Democratic Party, Al Qaeda, the European Union’s elite, or another signficant group, watch to see which ones focus on the future and which are looking in their rearview mirror. The former will always have the edge on the latter and, as history indicates, will eventually “win” any conflict, although that may take much longer than anyone expects.

Above all, monitor yourself.

Are you looking backward or forward, or just standing there with your eyes closed? Do you find yourself spending more time arguing about what should have happened in the past or talking about what you want to do in the future?