“Your wishful thinking that we can just press a magic button to reopen the economy and go back to normal – is exactly that!” – Futurist Jim Carroll
If there is one question that I get on a regular basis with exploratory calls with clients, discussions with speakers bureaus, or as of yesterday, out on the golf course, it’s “when will things get back to normal?”
I’ve made my living for 25 years as a futurist – an odd job for sure, but one that requires a lot of relentless thinking. I take in facts, conduct a lot of research, talk to a lot of people, sift through the noise – and form conclusions as to what I see coming next. Not weird, crazy science fiction like stuff, but the practical and real trends that will define our future.
And obviously, I’ve been thinking a lot about this particular question.
When it comes to the future, there is wishful thinking, and there is reality.
People want to go back to normal. We won’t. We’re entering a ‘new normal,’ as much as that phrase is overused.
People want a fast recovery. We won’t see one. We can’t live through the largest economic downturn short of the Great Depression and simply come roaring back.
People want to interact with people the way they did before. We won’t. There has been a massive psychological toll that has occurred globally, and it is going to take a long time for people to establish a new social interaction comfort zone.
People want to return to their old jobs. They won’t. Jobs and careers are being transformed in real time before our very eyes, and suddenly, many are irrelevant while new ones are born.
People want to go back to their old place. Many won’t. This new virtual workplace has demonstrated productivity, lifestyle and family foundations that forever alter our concept of what a workplace is. I know – I’ve already been working at home for 31 years.
People want industries to come back to the world as it was before. They won’t – some are gone, many are being reinvented.
Wishful thinking is just that.
We are living through the most disruptive, transformative, challenging economic time of our lifetime, and our old world is gone.
Accept that fact, and you are ready to move on into this new world of unbelievable opportunity!