“Fear is NOT a future!” – Futurist Jim Carroll
People fear me.
I don’t know why. I’m a pretty nice guy, fun to golf with, and generally carry around a positive outlook and motivational message. Also, I try to smile a lot!
Maybe it has something to do with what I talk about – what comes next, and what we need to do about it. People fear the future. They fear my message because they fear the future. That’s no way to live, and certainly, no way to succeed – but I see it in the reaction to my keynotes all the time.
For a long time, I’ve found that there is always a small segment within my audience who start out being fearful of my keynote – they are lacking in facts, and the very nature of their mindset means that they view the future with fear.
What drives fear about the future? Many things:
- fear of the unknown
- fear of change
- fear of the impact of disruption
- fear of competitors
- fear of uncertainty
- fear of making the wrong decision
- fear that is driven by a mindset that always thinks of the worst-case scenario
- fear of a downside, not an upside
- fear of making a mistake again
- simple irrational fear
- fear of fear itself!
People fear that which they do not know, and to a degree, that is why they are fearful of the future. But much of what we know about the future is blindingly obvious – at least, for me! Much of what we will see in our world 5 to 10 years out is already around us today, albeit in just a smaller and less significant fashion. If we already know about it, why should we fear it?
Maybe our fear of fear should drive a driven approach. Don’t be fearful of the unknown – be fearful of your fear instead!
Fear and the future? The very existence of your fear shows that you are ill-prepared for the reality of the future that you face!
But let’s think about fear another way: If you are a senior executive responsible for your corporate strategy, keep this in mind: at this very moment, someone within your industry is pursuing the very big, bold, disruptive ideas that you fear! Maybe you need to turn that fear into action!
Today, every industry is surrounded by big, bold visionaries, many of them located in Silicon Valley and other hi-tech centers of disruptive, fast-paced thinking. This (often younger) generation has no patience for the stodgy business models of yesterday, the careful, plodding methodology of their forebears, the slow and deliberate decision-process of those who preceded them, and the comfortable structure that defines complacency. Their focus is bold, their method is speed, and their weapon of choice is technology and connectivity.
Their target is you.
In this case, your fear should drive you forward.
If you aren’t running scared at this very moment – realizing that you are a slow-moving dinosaur in a world of fast-moving meteors, you aren’t scared enough! You need to feel the fear of disruption deep in your soul, the panic of unbalanced competition buried within your nexus, and the worry of imminent attack ingrained within your psyche.
You need to bristle with the anticipation of imminent destruction – because if you don’t act, that is your reality.