Time is a relative concept
Einstein’s Theory of Relativity states that time is not absolute. The rate at which time passes is different depending on how fast you’re moving and how much you are accelerating. In particular time passes slower the faster you’re moving. It doesn’t mean you can slow down time, it is your experience of it that differs.
The same can be said of the future. The experience of the future is not universal. Our experience of the future depends on how fast we are prepared to move, experiment and learn. If we move faster – truly move, not just run around in circles chasing short-term targets – we can embrace the future and not be overwhelmed by it. It doesn’t mean you can slow down time, it is your experience of it that differs.
And this is important, it can make the difference between organisational and career failure or success. It can also include not just considerations of technological change, but also customer behaviour change, environmental change, societal and political change.
The key to this is mindset. My adaption of the famous William Gibson quote is that “The future mindset is already here – it’s just not very evenly distributed.” Those who can develop a future mindset can embrace the future and experience the calming feeling of time slowing down. This will enable them to make better decisions now that will mean a better future tomorrow.
There are all sorts of ways to develop that future mindset. For instance, I recently ran a series of Innovation Workshops with the accountancy firm BDO. The focus was quantitative, not qualitative, the idea being to get them all thinking differently about the future than they might do in their day-to-day work. It worked like a treat. In one day, 500 tax accountants generated 4,000 ideas. And BDO backed this up with a £100k investment in the best idea of the day in order to move forward with a positive change.
We can all feel rather overwhelmed by our short-term targets, endless notifications and ever-extending to-do lists, so develop your future mindset and experience a sense of time slowing down.