Open Future NZ "If you know how to change your future is open."
John S Veitch
printTwo Printable Pagesprint

On having or not having an Open Future

Each of us can have an open future, but unless we recognize that "my biggest problem is me" we are unlikely to succeed.

So what do I need to do with "me" to have an open future? Several things, all of which you already know about I'm sure, but things that almost nobody does. So why is that? We don't believe it's that people are lazy or bad or incompetent or dumb. But people are misinformed, deliberately misinformed, by the education system, by the news media and by all sorts of peer pressures. We have ALL been indoctrinated, the present writer included. For me shedding that indoctrination has taken much of 20 years. Perhaps for you it need not take so long.

The first task for any human being is to learn from your family, your society and it's traditions. You need to internalize that knowledge, to make it your own, to prove that your indoctrination is complete. This allows you to become a member, to be employed to play a part in the community as a young adult, even to become a manager, a leader or a successful person. But it's a trap that binds you to the past, and by the time most of us are 40, much of our indoctrination has become outdated and we're not any longer the perfect square peg for the regulation square hole we once were.

Building your OWN resource kit

In an ideal world long before you are 40, you'll recognize that somehow you need to build yourself a means of continuous renewal. Here's what you need:

If you start building these resources in your 30's, by the time you reach the mid-point of your working life one of two things is likely to have happened. You are now a key player in the future of the firm you work for. Or you've been passed over and you need to create your own opportunity. Either way the resources you have accumulated will work powerfully in your favour.

If you are a late starter, that's OK, in ten years you'll still be ten years ahead of the guy who didn't bother. Many people who's names are known the world over, began the activity for which that are famous after the age of 60. You need your OWN resources, you can't borrow or buy those, you have to build them. Be the person you are today, and change the options of the person who you intend to become. Start now.

Classifying Adult Behaviours

Michael P. Farrell and Stanley D. Rosenberg (1981) reported that people in the later part of adult life fall into four groups of roughly equal size. The angry and disillusioned, the falsely developed, the isolated dreamers and the most successful, those who are overcoming and growing. Depending on readiness and chance, one's place in these categories isn't fixed. Those who are angry and disillusioned are least likely to make progress. The falsely developed and the isolated dreamers can both improve their chances of making progress if they engage in de-schooling and build effective networks with other people. Those who are already "overcoming and growing" are likely to already have in place a routine for continuous learning and ways to build and maintain useful networks of people.

Lifelong Learning

Dr Rosalie Bartell explains that the world changes on us, but the ideas our heads don't change as readily. That's why they can make a game show where 10 year old children can beat university professors. The professor knows a lot but it's out of date, so his answers are biased towards being wrong. The child may not have a clue, but his random guesses are more likely to be right because he doesn't have outdated information. Dr Rosalie Bartell says, "Our understanding and our behaviour can only change when we are ready in our minds."

Pedler, Bargoyne and Boydell, tell us that learning is increased if we choose to discuss our ideas with someone else. They emphasize that this is an important activity that takes time. At Open Future Limited we recommend that people use social networks to have those discussions. In the process of sharing your views you reinforce what you know, you make friends, and you learn things from other people's responses.

We learn when we do things, you have to be proactive. Here are some of the things you might be doing. First you try to achieve practical things. In the process you learn some things about success or failure and often puzzles appear. Think about it. Make a written record somewhere, in your journal of interest, or comment on a social network, or write a review for planning purposes. Make a long lasting written record.

Now talk to someone about it. Share what you are thinking with some of your social network. Ask a question in a forum. Share what you have with your community of practice. Any of these activities might engage you in a new conversation and you might meet someone who has vast knowledge, or a particularly helpful point of view. Skype is often useful now, make the connection one on one in real time.

Your training teaches you that sound planing precedes action. However, later in your life, you need to create an innovative departure from your previous training and experience. Armed with your own accumulated learning, your journal of interest, and your networks of strong and weak connections, you are in a good place to experiment with actions that take you into new territory. Opportunity comes to those who are already prepared, when readiness meets chance: so are you ready?

At Open Future Limited we plan to offer you the tools that make the journey to an open future possible.

Your comment on this essay is welcomed. Comments (1)