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Strategic Foresight

crystal ballHow far can you see into the future?

There are some things that we are relatively certain about. For example, there’s a very good chance the sun is going to come up tomorrow (or we are going to rotate around to where it is visible from our place on the planet).

Just the same, there are almost-certainties you can predict with confidence.

Yet, we also know the future is not certain. If you look too far out or try to predict too precisely – well, we just don’t know.

Let’s explore that space between “you can count on it” and “It’s really not knowable.”  Is there anything you can do to push “you can count on it” out a little farther, so you can know a little more? And if you can push it a little, can you push it a lot?

Sure. You can consult experts, take polls, dig into the odds. You can even identify potential scenarios and their leading indicators, and then track these indicators noting whether the given scenario is seeming more likely or less.

This is done the same way stock analysts watch stocks. They pick a stock they are interested in, learn as much as they can about it. They study everything from its price/earnings ratio to the latest news they can find in industry journals.  And they keep watching, waiting for the indicators to coalesce, come together in a meaningful way – or fall apart. In the former case they buy the stock. In the latter they forget it.

We all do this intuitively in real life. As we go through our day, we think about what we are likely to encounter in the next meeting or event, and prepare for it based on the likelihood we think it will actually come to pass.

Strategic foresight is when you do this same thing, but you do it for a plan you have to achieve a goal.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you are working to pay off a debt. When an opportunity starts to appear to generate a little extra income, you watch it and prepare so you can be ready if it materializes. If it matures you jump at it, pocket the extra income and then use it to pay down your debt. Do this often enough and Voila! your debt disappears.

So what goals do you have that could use a little strategic foresight? Get serious about it and watch how opportunity presents itself, seemingly more often than it normally does.  It’s really not that the case that the world has changed based on your interest, but more that your interest gives you a lens to find new opportunity!

Change your focus. Change your life.

 – Tony Robbins