Philosophical Reflection

Philosophical Preparation

⚜️ From the Book

A little philosophical reflection is necessary at this point. Don’t skip this part.

Corporates invest heavily in skills training and try to avoid spending money on so-called ‘soft skills’ but this is the area that can cause most damage to a company. They can always hire more talent, or train for it, but when the financial officer has an illicit relationship and commits fraud to fund it, no amount of skills development will cover over the philosophical and ethical position he has taken. When a highly valued, driven staff member suddenly finds religion, whatever flavour his religion may be, no amount of coercion or salary bribery can keep him in place to pursue his discarded career path. To be valuable to society, family and an organisation, individuals should be given the time and direction to explore their personal philosophies so that they don’t implode when that philosophy inevitably erupts from a crisis.

So take some time to contemplate, journal, meditate on or discuss these philosophical questions about the future:
Why are you at the Prism and what do you hope for? Do you want to explore the future alone, or with a team? Do you want to explore the future and come back to the village with some treasures to change things? Or do you want to help to establish a new village somewhere else? Do you think that you are entering a future full of promise or full of threats? How far are you willing to go into the future? Enough to get an advantage over the others, or do you want to keep exploring even if you lose sight of your home?

Once you have done your philosophical contemplation, and should you decide to move forward on this journey, you need to prepare.

1. Put together a team

Sometimes people arrive at the Prism with dismay and it takes them a great deal of time to decide to move on. We all think that tomorrow will look like another version of today and a continuation of yesterday. We may hear the buzz words of ‘disruption’ and ‘innovation’ and ‘exponential change’ but it means nothing to us personally.

Retrenchment, being overlooked for promotion in favour of a younger employee with the right skill sets, failing businesses or declining margins, over-night redundancy of your company’s main product in favour of a new invention; these are just some of the crises that drag a person to the Prism and force them to realise how much the world has changed in front of their eyes, and how ill prepared they are for the new reality. Being forced into this position is not enviable and not everyone survives this event. It is better by far to come to the Prism of one’s own accord.

But not everyone even wants to come to the Prism and contemplates moving forward. That is one of the most frustrating discoveries for future-conscious individuals, that some people are happy to stay where they are, and some long for a fantasy past where things were apparently better than they are now. Working out who of your colleagues are looking forward and which are looking back, is one of your first tasks before you embark on your journey. The last thing you want on a risky journey, is to be saddled with someone who doesn’t want to be there, is not prepared for the journey and who hampers your efforts.
Again, this is not a judgement on anyone’s values, but a statement of fact. If people meet at the Prism and decide to travel and explore an unknown, and potentially dangerous terrain, then they must all be committed to the journey.

You may not know yet who has to be on your team, but you can start to eliminate those who should not be there. Leaving them behind is not cruel. Shackling yourself to their limitations will ruin both their chances as well as your own. You do not have time to save yourself and everyone around you, and you can always send resources back to the villages if you like.
Keep working on your team as you make your plans. You may need to have specialists join you.

Look for people like:

  • A guide – Find someone with experience of exploring the future who can help you to plan your journey, navigate unknown terrain and prepare your team. This map was designed by a futures guide but the map can only communicate so much information.
  • A coach – Coaches come in all sizes and styles. You could get a career coach to help you see the blind spots and gaps in your skill set that might make your skills redundant. A skills coach could help you to refine specific areas in your life, such as leadership or public speaking. A wellness coach could help you break bad habits and become more physically and mentally resilient, and to plan a more invigorating life.
  • A mastermind group – Masterminds are small, committed peer groups who help each other to make progress in particular areas of one’s life or career. They are perfect for sharing resources and experience, increasing networks and supporting and celebrating each others’ journeys.

If you want to think in terms of the analogy, on a journey you would need someone to help navigate the terrain, a cook to prepare meals for the expedition team, and someone with first aid experience to cope with emergencies. You may be the leader of this expedition or one of the team members, but there should be good communication between everyone. This is not a blockbuster movie and there is no place for solo heroes.

2. Get perspective

Now that you have a team, you need to get some perspective. You need an idea of which direction you are going to travel in. Perspective comes from height, so you need to find a place where you can see far. On the map we have a mountain range from which the view would surely be excellent. One could climb to the top of the clock tower and try and see what is beyond although the view would not be as vast as atop the mountain range.
Perspective can also come from local research. One could visit the other villages and discover what they are doing and what resources they have. There are some lovely settlements in the middle of the map, called Valuuta, nestled in the safety of a mountain range, near streams and fertile soil. Are they content there, or are they also sending teams to go exploring? What challenges do they have? Do they have experiences or resources to share, or people who want to join your team?

3. Choose your mode of transport

To make your journey of exploration you have a choice of vehicle. We can go via a sea route, although we have heard of sea monsters and treacherous beaches. We could travel by air, avoiding the hazards on the ground, although we may of course, run into dragons! We could travel on the ground, even where there isn’t yet a path. It may be a slower route, but maybe we could find some treasures along the way and discover some opportunities.
In your life, that translates to whether you seek out your future in a traditional business, a start up or perhaps on your own. Are you going to explore in the field of government, academia or the private sector?

Your method of transport will affect your speed, your range and your team. And in practical terms, it also affects your scale. How much do you want to explore? Are you traveling just to look, or do you want to make a difference?


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Do you want to prepare your team for the future?

We co-create our shared futures.

Futures Alchemist book Charlotte Kemp