Despite seeing myself as a futurist author, I’m often unsure of how to describe futurist thinking. Recently I encountered Ari Wallach’s article, “How to Think Like a Futurist.” Within it, he lays out three modes of thought common among futurist thinkers. Perhaps they connect with you, as they did me.
FUTURIST MODES OF THOUGHT:
Transgenerational Thinking: You consider the lasting impact your actions make. Before you take an action, you consider “Okay, I can do that, but what is it teaching them?”
Futures Thinking: You consider all kinds of possible scenarios and all kinds of solutions. You understand there is no single future but talk about futures instead.
Telos Thinking: You consider, verbalize, and affirm your ultimate goal before taking action. You ask yourself: “To what end?” As you try to solve a particular problem, you think about what will come after you solve it.
Being open to there being very little else we know for sure is also a key part of futurist thinking. “I don’t know” is an important phrase to be able to say. I know I may not know much, but I know this approach to life and to thinking feels right and true to me.