Future Game Part I
‘Distance learning’ and ‘work from home’ in the same sentence? A scenario that only a few months ago may have looked surrealist for most of us.
Distance learning may become a schooling alternative. Or not.
Due to the screen time and technical support required, distance-learning renders itself overwhelming or unattainable for many families. Thus the temptation to let the kids do whatever they want and can.
Some families may have already pre-contemplated the idea of taking education in their own hands, up to some degree or temporarily. Others have already made this decision but haven’t started as they don’t know where to start. A few may have even begun to educate themselves on how to educate at home and perhaps got sucked in the black hole of information… Let’s hope they’ll manage to come out of it illuminated.
One thing many families seem to share now is the uncertainty about the future, irrespective on where they are in the Education Change Cycle (ECC). (see Figure 1: Prochaska and Di Clemente ‘Stages of Change from Transtheoretical Change Model’)
The ability to think and make plans for the future is directly connected to the degree of acceptance of the past and present. Those who can think of the future are wondering how we, and especially our children, will thrive in it?
Neuroscience assures us that the future can be as bright as we imagine it, individually and collectively. Imagination and memory sharing the same neural brain networks may throw in a few extra challenges though.
Will we automatically copy and paste the past into the future? Or, can we identify any causation and correlations between the past and present? Can we then distance enough from the past and muster all the self-discipline required to create a desirable new future? How would we do that?
For starters, by reflecting and asking ourselves the big question, if we haven’t already asked it. WHAT do we want? If we were a magician with a wand and limitless powers, how would we create the future?
Is the question too open? Stuck for ideas? Unsure that you can achieve ‘THAT’ (your almost forgotten youth dream)? Pointless, as most of the dreams do not come true?
If you’re still reading and the answer is ‘yes’ to any of the above questions, ask your children to join in this imagination ‘game’ and take a cue or two from them. If yours are already blasé, cynical and, at times, unbearable teenagers, let’s hope that they are very bored of the physical isolation by now. Parents may then render as acceptable peer-substitutes, while the game will provide a welcome diversion from the monotony of screens.
Playing games, more games during these times?! Well, play is good now as ever.
Anthropologists, psychologists, sociologists, educators, and lately neuroscientists, have proven the benefits of play, imagination and visualization to human evolution, education and well-being, in general.
Scientists first ask ‘what if’ before imagining and advancing new scientific theories.
Inventors, designers, architects, engineers and any kind of crafty makers use a similar ideation process to create new things and services.
Athletes win first places, tournaments and competitions by imagining and visualizing them first.
Business people, marketeers, advertisers and communication specialists have been using a version of the very same imagination ‘game’ for at least fifty years to sell us… stuff. They have been evolving it over time to an art, using the latest science available, and are still working at it.
If it still sounds unbelievable, check your wardrobes, cupboards, fridge, interiors, diplomas, travel photo albums, doctor prescriptions and medicine cabinets, social media pictures and posts, and car(s) in the garage. Then check your credit card and bank account statements. Was it all out of free-will, deliberate and conscious decision? Or social conditioning may have something to do with it?
Those who know or want to know a thing or two about product life-cycle and planned obsolesce, may realize that we have entered the last stage in this game life-cycle. (see Figure 2: Product life-cycle)
What are the telling signs? The omnipresence and intensified activity of well-being, healthcare professionals and self-help advocates and wizards of all sorts. The wide offer of therapies, courses, products and services to help us help ourselves from the overtime cumulative effects of this game. It seems that more people are becoming aware of them and of the suffering they are causing, mediating and/or triggering. They want to break free and reinvent themselves and their lives.
Realistically, can we help ourselves? It depends on how acute or chronic the condition is. Admittedly, many of us may need professional help besides self-help. But even if that is the case, the process of self-awareness and transformation is self-generated. Generally, no one likes to hear, believe or do anything when they are told that they need help.
So, if we reach the conclusion that we do, can we do anything at all on our own? Or we should still look to buy the next new product or service that will miraculously cancel out all side effects of the others’ imaginative games of the last few decades, and propel us into a new evolved stage of our existence?
The product of a new imagination game may already be in store for us. The imagination game experts may have taken it to the next level to come up with THE Magic ‘Cure of All Evils’. We would then buy and consume it, at any costs, in the hope that it will make all the evils from our lives vanish. This is exactly the pattern of adopted or self-generated automatic behavior, devoid of critical thinking, that the human species has been training in so well, for the most part unconsciously, for as long as we can remember.
In the absence of, or while waiting for the market launch of the ‘Magic Cure of All Evils’, and for those who still believe in free-will, imagination, idea generation, and active creation of own reality, I give you the imagination game for FREE, to create your own future! Will you take it?
You guessed! There is a catch! The only catch there is, is that YOU MUST PLAY IT! Sweat at it, fail at it, play it again and again, work at it until you become good at it and then ‘become it’, as the social psychologist Amy Cuddy said in her book “Presence: Bring Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges” and many TedTalks.
When you master it and see its benefits, play PAY IT FORWARD! And when you evolve it to THE FUTURE GAME 2.0, please return the favor and send it to me, for free!
Still reading? Before getting into the ‘FUTURE GAME’ rules, a few considerations:
- Firstly, the FUTURE GAME is a self-exploration, self-discovery and inner journey. It may take you out of the comfort zone. You may want to play it first on your own.
- Secondly, if you and your partner/ spouse have a very open and close relationship and a common vision for the future, you can play the game together. Else, it is wiser to play it first individually and think of the best way to bring it up with them only after. If the children are very young (below five years old), be selective in which sections of the game and for how long you involve them.
- Lastly, unless you already live your dream life and do not want anything better and/ or more for the future, know from now that the outcome of the IMAGINATIVE ‘FUTURE GAME’, which would translate into the PLAN for your FUTURE, will require a lot of work and CONSCIENTIOUSNESS. After all, CONSCIENTIOUSNESS is the best long-term success predictor out of the Big Five Personality traits.
Yes, neuroscience and technology provide new hacks and smarter ways to achieve big faster. Yet, we still need to go through the process of becoming aware of them, experimenting with them, applying them in everyday life in order to decide whether they are for us. Then we can incorporate them into our everyday routines and internalize them. Eventually, we will see the results.
But before introducing something new let’s reflect on what we want to close, get rid of, let go, clean up, in order to make space for the new.
Until the second installment of the FUTURE GAME, happy spring cleaning!
On Memory and Imagination
On Product Development Process
On Visualization in Sports
On Marketing Campaign Development
On Planned Obsolescence
On Human Behavior for Economic Development
On Behavior Change Leading to Personality Change
On Big 5, Personality, and Conscientiousness as Success Predictor