Owning Our Own Futures - Thought Snippets from Futurist, David Zach (Part 1 of 3)

September 19, 2016 8:23 AM | Laura Chartier (Administrator)
SEWI-ATD is delighted to announce Futurist / Author / Professional Speaker - David Zach, as one of two keynote speakers at our upcoming Fall Special Event: "The Future...How Will You and Your Organization Remain Relevant? A Vision of Learning for 2020 and Beyond."

In moments of pause between his wanderings around the planet, David has been creating a list of things to think about in terms of 

"100 Great Ways to Own Your Future"

In part 1 of a 3-part series this week, he graciously pre-inspires and tempts us with a few bite-sized samples of wisdom from this in-progress composition:

#1. Learn to Think Clearly

Sounds simple enough, but then there's what’s called, "Mrs. Peter's Law," to explain it a bit more:

"If you're not confused by what's going on today, you're just not thinking clearly."

Lots of research shows that our thinking is fairly muddled and we're way too easily distracted. We're confused mostly because we don't know how to find enough of the right information and then organize it so that it makes sense.

So to organize your thinking, make an outline. Better than an outline, make a Mind-Map. Mind-mapping is a simple and elegant way of organizing your thinking visually, by mapping it. (It's what I'm using to write this article.) They’re easy to learn and your brain will thank you for doing so. Map your future.

Find Blogger @ChuckFrey on the InterWebs. He's probably the best resource for mind-mapping. http://mindmappingsoftwareblog.com/author/admin/

#2. Find Your Retreat

Oh, sorry, that was a typo. You don't want to retreat. You want querencia. Not familiar with that word? Too bad because it's a great one! Much better than retreat.

Here's the definition of querencia: A place from which one’s strength of character is drawn. A place in which we know exactly who we are. The place from which we speak our deepest beliefs.

It's a Spanish word but you should make it your word. We all need querencia. You need querencia to help you take ownership of your future. Finding querencia gives you a place to stand.  Without a place to stand, everything you build, everything you plan is without foundation.

Foundations first, then plans, then build.


#3. Paid Attention

If you're reading this, then you're the sort who's not really paid for your time, you're paid for your attention. Time is linear, attention is non-linear. Time is one damn thing after another. Attention is holistic, unlimited and very much not linear. We pay attention to lots of things at the same time. Teenagers, I have been told, can pay attention to ten different things at once and still be, like, bored.

We falsely pride ourselves for being able to do that, but it’s not a strength, it’s become a weakness. About ten years ago, I was at a conference to speak just after Temple Grandin, the famous agriculture specialist who also happens to be autistic. Halfway through her talk on "Humane Animal Rendering," she spied a guy sitting near me and practically shouted at him, “You’re texting! Stop it!” Then looking out at everyone else, she said, "People! Stop multitasking! Multitasking makes you stupid!” Just a guess, but I’d say she lost that battle, because apparently we lost that war.

This may be one of those memes that has no real science behind it, but I'm going to believe it and share it anyway: People in the first half of the last century were able to pay attention to something and keep that attention focused for upwards of 20 minutes at a time. Today, it's down to about 8 seconds of total concentration, which they say is right up there - no, strike that - right down there with goldfish. Squirrels, I'll wager, have a longer attention span than you do - and that's just nuts.

A.D.O.S. Attention Deficit, Oooh, Shiny!

So put a bit more effort into putting your technology in its place, which is more off to the side, much less in front. Slow down the madness, break the addiction, stop the behavior that has become indistinguishable from worship.

Stop using your so-called smart device as a shield, use it as a tool.

Understand that your tech not your most important tool, your own brain is. Your brain is the breakthrough app, if you’d only stop being so distracted towards every little new upgrade.

Protect your attention. It’s the most valuable resource you own. Stop giving it away.

For more of David's thought-provoking ideas, see Part 2 and Part 3 of our 3-Part Guest Blog Series.

And, if you enjoy David's posts, you’ll delight in seeing see him live, in-action, during Thursday’s keynote presentation at SEWI-ATD’s Fall Special Event.  Register today!


  • September 20, 2016 6:26 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    every word so true - today we are asked to do more with less. I applaud the recommendations in this article and will be putting it to work for me, now and in the future!
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