Beyond tomorrow

BY: Bernard Otabil
Beyond tomorrow
Beyond tomorrow

LET me start with a future pacing exercise this week. Okay, here we go! What l want you to do is to imagine something that you think is possible in the future – and the feeling you will have when that task is completed.

For example, if you are into sales (I guess we all are because day in, day out, we have to pitch an idea or concept even in ordinary conversations), you can picture using your own product and how good it will feel to receive the benefits of
that product. Mind you, no one just buys a product. We often “buy” the benefit, the improvement and the outcome of a product! So once you can see the improvement, it means you have every reason to get the product to market.

Future pacing will help you to see a specific outcome and serves as a motivating factor for you to get up and do the “impossible” for yourself. What will the feeling be like if you can get your first book published on Amazon with very strong recommendations? Seeing and believing in yourself, as a “special product” should excite you to do more to impact the lives of others.

After all, it should be rewarding if you can leave the world a better place than you met it, with strong footprints in creativity and innovation. I got motivated to write about future pacing this week when I read about Chinese technology giant, Baidu’s next vehicle to join its self-driving taxi service, Apollo Go.

According to reports, Baidu’s new autonomous car, Apollo RT6, has the road skills of a driver with 20 years of experience. “We are moving towards a future where taking a robo-taxi will be half the cost of taking a taxi today”, Co-founder and Chief Executive of Baidu, Robin Li, was quoted as saying at the company’s annual technology conference. According to Baidu,its robo-taxis, running on a trial basis in 10 cities in China, had given more than one million rides since its service launched in 2020.

In January this year, Elon Musk, Chief Executive of Tesla, said he “would be shocked if we do not achieve full self-driving safer than a human this year”. Tesla is also exploring opportunities that lie hidden in the self-driving ecosystem.

Now, this is the concept: anytime you see something nice that you like, you must also consider the fact that for that product or service to be developed in the first place, someone had to think about it and make it happen. Those with ideas and willing also to exploit them make things happen. They are the defining people in our generation or were the defining people in the past generation. You have what it takes to rise above the challenges of our time.

The “extraordinary” period that we are in now. When you think of Steve Jobs, for instance, you are looking at a man who was full of ideas. He wasn’t conventional in most of the things that he did. He developed and helped to promote the value of products such as the iPad and the iPhone, achieving significant user acceptance in the end. And wait a minute- he did future pacing to see beyond tomorrow!
Today’s narrative may not be great by all standards. We are puzzled by a myriad of global economic challenges.
Yes, things may have changed but in terms of what we need to do to regain our strength as individuals nothing has changed. We need to continue to buy an umbrella to use when it rains!

And as l explained in the June 4 edition of this column, which reflected on the impact of innovative and disruptive technology on our future, and why we could be “redundant”, literally, if we fail to subject ourselves to continuous professional development, disruptive innovations have challenged existing paradigms and offered new possibilities that were primarily unimaginable.

Two decades ago, the technology for self-driving cars was not as advanced as it is now. Contemplation about the future is always expected; a good attitude to have, if you indulge in it. It is for this reason that, for example,
at the start of every new year we make the effort to come up with resolutions. New Year resolutions are always heavy with hopes and aspirations.

We often resolve to stop bad habits as priority, and then decide to also concentrate on decisions and actions that had proved useful and helped in the fulfilment of past goals. It doesn’t always work the way we would have liked, but at least in most cases, such resolutions help in focusing our minds on some critical areas in our lives.

We make such decisions without the full knowledge of what the world will be like in the year ahead, and we do not make our resolutions only when the present conditions are perfect.

Overcoming obstacles is part of human existence, therefore, never be daunted by any task; feel the fear, but do it anyway. And as l also said in the March 19 edition, as human beings, we are unique in many ways.

We have the ability to engage in “mental time travel”, which is the ability we have in our minds not only to recall the past but to use past experience to form expectations of the future-future pacing of some sort! How many “normal times” do you remember in your entire life?

Have you experienced a sustained period of “perfect conditions” to the extent that everything appeared so normal that you didn’t have to worry about anything? Quite simply, that you were able to afford anything you wanted to, with no resource constraints? You owned the world then! Utopian, isn’t it?

“The economy isn’t deterministic. People aren’t always rational. Human creativity, frailty, exuberance and pessimism all contribute to economic and financial cycles,” Mark Carney, the former Governor of the Bank of England, said in a speech delivered at the Logan Hall, University College London, on March 5, 2020. Very revealing, isn’t it? Now, get right into it! Imagine a world with you in the centre making things happen.
And it is simple to do this too.

Just think of an interesting and nice object/product/service that you have used this morning. It
could be a chair, a toy, or a shirt; whatever you can think of. Spend a few minutes on this. Write down other ways that those items could be used.

Thinking outside the box is one sure way of becoming creative. Ideas are the spark of life! Don’t you think so? Consider this too: if there is a pandemic, or all the economic indicators point to rough times ahead, it also points to opportunities, as well as threats. It all depends on what you make of it. Are you a pessimist or an optimist? It is all about you.
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