Betting on the Future: 7 Skills Of The Worlds Best Forecasters

Jeffery Hansen
Mar 15, 2019 · 3 min read

The future is unpredictable and we will never truly know how the future will turn out. Through a combination of processes, leveraging knowledge and experiences, we can make the uncertain future more knowable. Some people are better at making good forecasts. We looked at their skill and researched this topic extensively, most of the top forecasters exhibit some or all of these traits listed below.

Image for post
Image for post
  1. Pattern seekers: Spotting patterns and finding unusual connection across domains is a talent not many people have, but the best forecasters hone in on this skill to spot opportunities in the market.
  2. Reflect: Learn to reflect on the previous prediction, actions, and mistakes. The best forecasters tend to constantly reflect on previous decisions, even if they were correct or not. This way forecasters take upon themselves to develop their best practices and avoid any major pitfalls.
  3. Analytical: Taking a structured approach helps to discover the root causes and reasons why trends move in different directions. This is a form of systemic thinking, that allows forecasters to get more accurate ideas on the direction of markets.
  4. Open-minded: Biases are often many peoples Achilles heel when it comes to interpreting information. Understanding some of your biases and learning to take up new information in an objective manner, will help you make better decisions.
  5. No Ego: When new information comes onboard that was not considered before, it may affect the original predictions. The best predictors lets go of their ego and changes accordingly. Having an ego has adverse effects on your prediction, being stubborn and refusing to change, only makes a deeper hole dig out off. In a business context, companies can still play to win big even if they have to change course along the way.
  6. Generalist: Being an expert will have advantages but the best forecasters actually have broad knowledge in many different topic areas. The reasoning behind this is that in our complex world, different events in time and in different domains affect each other, experts often get lost in their own subject area and become hindered to outside information.
  7. Abstract reasoning: Being able to develop theories and with numbers to create abstract concepts makes what seemingly is complex into models that aids in solving key problems. This often unlocks key insights that are not initially seen by most people.

These are skills that can be developed as simple as being aware of them and trying to practice them. If you come across an article regarding an emerging tech, try to dig deep into the implications it would have and what needs to happen in order for it to be adopted. Expand your knowledge into other fields and learn to take on perspectives from that area. Applying these skills to your capabilities, and you’ll be a master forecaster in no time.

Image for post
Image for post

Newsletter via


Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store