We live in a world that is changing faster than we can as humans currently internalize. For many of us, it’s become clear that our short-term focus is not preparing us to progress forward efficiently and effectively in the face of our greatest challenges and opportunities.
So, how do we equip ourselves with the ability to meet those challenges head on?
Enter 👉 The Futurist Mindset
In its simplest definition, a Futurist Mindset is a way of understanding ourselves, others, and the universe around us. Having a Futurist Mindset goes beyond just being able to think about the future — it is a way to live with purpose and passion as we strive for something more. We are continually on a path of understanding who we can become and our place in the cosmos.
If you have a Futurist Mindset, we will thrive at shaping the future.
It Begins with New Perspectives and Shining a Light on Our Blind Spots
We believe that the Futurist Mindset can help humans to thrive, instead of simply survive.
The Futurist Mindset empowers each of us as individuals to consciously evolve ourselves, our assumptions, and our perceived limitations. It reframes our perception of failure and expands our capacity to hold dialectic ideas. It assists with personal development by building empathy, resilience, insight, and emotional maturity. Through this process of growth and improvement, we can on an individual level help to cross the chasm between the present and the future.
With a Futurist Mindset, we can:
- Have empathy. Feel what another being — human or non-human — is experiencing from their frame of reference.
- Be a lifelong learner. Seek the endless thrill and insatiable appetite for new information.
- Be a lifelong un-learner. Use self-reflection to dismantle what doesn’t work anymore.
- Be a dreamer. Paint pictures of multiple possible futures and realities in your mind, and share what you see.
- Be comfortable being uncomfortable. Constantly put yourself in situations that don’t feel good, but enable you to grow as a person.
- Be collaborative. The only way we will continue to exist is if we work together.
- Be able to see outside of yourself. There is more to the world than your own thoughts and feelings. You are more than that.
- And last — but not least — be a visionary doer.
You can also think about the Futurist Mindset as a framework for approaching all aspects of life with an open and constructive perspective. The framework can be applied to art, science, technology, government, philosophy, or virtually any aspect of our daily lives.
With a Futurist Mindset, we see ourselves as free thinkers who can step back from intangible societal influences and create better choices for ourselves, the organizations we are a part of, and society at large.
Creating a More Inclusive Future
At the World Future Society, we believe that anyone is capable of developing a Futurist Mindset, and that all of us are continuously on the journey of challenging ourselves to reframe our perceptions and expand our capacity to understand new ideas and visions. We seek to advance ourselves and the rest of humanity.
When we operate with a Futurist Mindset, we are:
- Adaptive and resilient in the face of change
- Willing to hold and evaluate multiple possible current realities
- Operating with an understanding that more than one reality can be evaluated simultaneously
- Conscious of how we can use foresight, hindsight, and insight to have more choice
- Empathetic to others and their views
- Interested in the technology advances of the current day, so that we can use technology to our benefit
With a Futurist Mindset, we can come together to consciously create a more exciting and mind expanding future that is filled with awe. We are equipping ourselves to take on the challenges of our deepest and most intractable problems of not just today, but tomorrow.
What does a Futurist Mindset mean to you?
Having a Futurist Mindset is both a personal journey and one that affects humanity as a whole. We care about whatever part of the journey you are on, without any judgement.
In the spirit of sharing our stories, we asked our members in the World Future Society to share their own stories, questions, and experiences. 👇
Lea Artis, Creative Strategist, and Social Innovator:
One of the questions that I hear asked is, “Who should be considered a Futurist?” I would argue everyone has the opportunity to embrace a Futurist Mindset, and that foresight tools should be available to everyone in the world.
First, as a Futurist, or someone who is “for the future,” I believe it means believing our best days are ahead of us — that a Futurist at “our” core believes in the power of human ingenuity and the potential of possibility. We know that other not-so-rosy outcomes are entirely possible, but also advocate for the best possible futures and the ability to build something bolder and better.
Second, the Futurist Mindset has provided an expansive backdrop for my work as a change agent across the worlds of social entrepreneurship, innovation, and activism. A large part of where I am exploring and expanding my impact in the world is thinking about the future of “change” itself. The revolutions, ideas, and mindsets of the past provide an incredible context when combined with thinking about the new interconnected, always-on tools of the present and the future for reaching and changing minds. Without a Futurist Mindset, I wouldn’t see the whole picture, or particular areas of change. With it, I think expansively in my research, learning and construction of ideas.
Minsoo Pak, Entrepreneur, Futurist, and Creative Problem Solver:
I believe we cannot build a future we cannot imagine. And that there has never been a more critical time to ignite a movement to think deeply and broadly about the future.
By placing focus on The Futurist Mindset as a way of thinking, we are avoiding limiting labels or titles and keeping the emphasis on the most important aspect: the way we think. By being inclusive and welcoming people who think this way, regardless of their roles within their organizations, we have the opportunity to build real communities of people who want to do good, create change and shape our collective future.
Elburz Sorkhabi, Expert in Experiential Design, Immersive Media, and Interactive Technology:
A Futurist Mindset to me is thinking in large intervals forward in time. Someone with a Futurist Mindset is constantly exploring the past to think forward in years, not days or weeks.
I think about it this way: the word musician can mean a lot of things. People who play professionally in the Berlin Philharmonic are musicians, and people who buy their first guitar and study guitar for a couple of months are also musicians. Yet, the difference between these practices is dramatic.
When we ask ourselves, “What does it mean to have a Futurist Mindset?” I think about what it means to be a musician more so than what it means to be a computer scientist. It’s not just about where you went to school, or the degree you got, but more about how you approach your work.
To me, someone who identifies as having a Futurist Mindset doesn’t have to do anything “future-y” or go write political policy for the future. If you think in long time intervals and use this long-term approach in your work every day, you have a Futurist Mindset. I don’t think you need to get a degree to do that.
Steve Scheiber, Consultant and Writer:
A futurist mindset has to begin with an insatiable curiosity (Einstein said that curiosity is the cornerstone of a sound scientific attitude), an insatiable desire for information, and a recognition that the future is and always will be a moving target. We speculate about the future based on the present and on assumptions about how history will unfold from where we are today.
Gina Bianchini, Entrepreneur:
For me, a Futurist Mindset starts by looking out several years ahead and asking myself questions like: What do I think the world is going to look like? What is the challenge I’m most passionate to solve? What are 20 things that could possibly solve it? What are 50 things I could do right now to enable those 20 things?
Michael Valania, Business Strategist:
To me, a Futurist Mindset is to be the dreamer of dreams for the world. Whether it is the solver of problems futurist or the philosophical, abstract futurist, the core of each is a belief that there is a great potential within everyone and everything.
This does not always mean a naive, utopian outcome. Rather, it requires a firm understanding that everyone’s and everything’s max potential is not always available, including our own. It is our futurist duty to act as stewards of dreams, guiding the maximization of the potential we see.
Now, it’s time to add your story into the mix:
What does a Futurist Mindset mean to *you*?
We believe that having a Futurist Mindset is both a personal journey and one that affects humanity as a whole. We care about whatever part of the journey you are on, without any judgement.
The future is not — and never will be — a destination you get to arrive at. But we want to do as much as we can in the World Future Society to co-create the futures we want to see.