Episode 4: The Future Isn’t What We Think It Is

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Josh Allan Dykstra is a recognized thought leader on the future of work and company culture design. He is an author, TEDx speaker, and the CEO of #lovework, where they use technology to help heal burnout and create astonishingly great places to work.

Today I want to talk about something that’s on many people’s minds right now…

The future.

We’re kind of obsessed with “what comes next” — right now the conversation is mostly in relation to the COVID pandemic — but this is always a question we humans have, isn’t it?

What comes next?

Well today I want to talk a little about this question, because the future actually isn’t what we think it is.

I think is important to note that questions like “what comes next?” actually betray a fundamental misunderstanding about the future itself.

When we say things like “what comes next” — or phrases like “the new normal,” which I’m hearing a lot right now — in a subtle way we are taking ourselves OUT of the equation.

We’re making ourselves observers instead of participants.

These questions talk about the future as if it were something that happens TO us, but this isn’t how it works.

It’s easy to think about “the future” as some kind of destination point on a map — fixed and certain, and we all just kind of hurtle towards it.

But the future isn’t a formed, defined ANYTHING — it’s pure unbridled possibility, and what it will actually look and feel like is something that’s being actively co-authored by all of US, right now.

The choices each of us make in this moment — and every moment — create a different future than the one that existed a second before.

When I make the choice to exercise.

When you make the choice to go out of your way to help someone.

When we all choose to stay home to protect the most vulnerable.

We change the future.

So let’s be thoughtful when we use phrases like the “what comes next” or  “new normal” — because we are actively shaping what those things will be with our words and our choices.

The “new normal” isn’t a place we’re going to “arrive at.” It’s something we get to BUILD.

Instead, let’s think about it as what what one of my friends called a “next normal” — something we all get to create together, right now.

What does happen is that humans naturally move towards our picture of the future — so let’s get clear on the next normal we WANT, and build that.

See you next time.

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