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Peter Drucker, the legendary father of modern management, approached the future with a forward-focused mindset, as something to be created and nurtured in the present moment. This means making choices and commitments, and taking action, with tomorrow in mind.
Your future is too important to be left to chance. Instead, approach your future systematically, both at work and in life, beginning in the here and now. Start by understanding seven immutable laws of the future—inescapable realities to embrace so as to create your best tomorrow, today.
1. The law of mindset. Your attitude about the future is all important. As you go about your work and life each day, keep the future in mind, and consider any implications of your present actions.
Ask yourself: Do I consciously think about future implications for everything I do?
2. The law of uncertainty. Don’t assume that tomorrow will be like today. It could be, but the future is unknown. And while uncertainty may be unsettling, remember this: we’re all in the same boat.
Ask yourself: Rather than avoiding uncertainty, can I aspire to embrace it?
3. The law of inevitability. Accept that a certain amount of the future has, as Drucker said, “already happened”—it is a result of the inevitable coming effects of actions and events that have already taken place.
Ask yourself: What current trends will almost certainly affect my future?
4. The law of risk. It’s been said that the risks we most regret are the ones we didn’t take. Yes, creating your future can feel risky. But isn’t it more risky to sit back and let the future happen to you? Drucker put it this way: “The future requires decisions now. It imposes risk now. It requires action now.”
Ask yourself: How can I make friends with risk?
5. The law of innovation and entrepreneurship. Innovators and entrepreneurs help change how we look at and experience the world. They are major drivers in creation of the future.
Ask yourself: What lessons can I learn from today’s most influential innovators and entrepreneurs?
6. The law of removing and improving. Your future will unfold in part as a result of what you stop doing. Drucker recommended something called systematic abandonment. It requires intentionally removing activities and relationships that are no longer beneficial or productive. You combine this with kaizen: steady and incremental improvement.
Ask yourself: What activity can and should I remove today?
7. The law of the present moment. The future happens on the basis of what you are doing right now—your thoughts, ideas, actions, choices, and commitments.
Ask yourself: Are my current actions contributing to a better future?