IMAGINE ACTUALLY FEELING EXCITED ABOUT THE FUTURE
Maybe you’ve been in a dream job, but technology obliterated your industry. Maybe you’ve made a big move, only to find the reality wasn’t as glamourous as you pictured. Maybe you like to sit on the fence, reluctant to commit to a future wondering if the grass on the other side was greener.
Or maybe you worry the future may be bleak, and so you turn away.
I’ve gone through all of this, and I can assure you it’s much better to do everything you can to peer into the future, no matter how dark it seems.
You’ll find there’s a lot to get excited about.
I joined a dot-com company with a well-stocked kitchen, stock options and free gym membership just months before the dot-com bubble burst.
I spent the first SARS outbreak of 2003 in Taiwan, wearing masks, getting my temperature checked everywhere and spending a lot of time at home.
For many years, I was a journalist – a financial journalist, in fact – until Google ads and the global financial crisis knocked the stuffing out of the industry.
Uncertainty is a discomforting aspect of the future, but it can also be liberating.
At the start of the last decade, I moved to Beijing and was looking for a job. I was looking for a change of industry, a serious change, and I had no idea if it would work out. Someone asked me, “What if you don’t find a job?”
To me it seemed a weird question. It wasn’t a matter of if, but when. Or more importantly, how. Because I hadn’t gone to Beijing for a job, I’d gone there for a life, to experience the revival of what throughout history has normally been the biggest economy in the world.
I’ve lived in a lot of places and reinvented myself many times. I’ve come to accept that not only is the world changing an ever-increasing pace, but I’m constantly changing too.
I’m fascinated by psychology and the future. I love combining my knowledge of how we think with the tools of foresight to open minds and inspire new opportunities.
I’ve spent most of the past 25 years getting to know people from all over the world, managing teams through disruption and navigating uncertainty. Some of these people I’ve studied in great depth, and I’ve learnt that people are mostly driven by the same motivations, yet they also view the world in significantly different ways.
Some of my most meaningful experiences (and challenges) came in China, where the pace of change is breath-taking. It’s an overwhelming, confusing place to live and work, where you need to roll with the punches, adapt and change directions quickly. Planning is difficult; action seems risky; inaction even more so.
That’s where I learnt that developing a healthy attitude to uncertain futures is so crucial to achieving anything. Foresight isn’t looking into crystal balls. It’s about understanding the forces that will shape our future environment, using our imaginations to explore what’s possible, and having AN OPINION about what you want.
You can see more about why I think it's important to form opinions about your future here.
What else do you want to know about me?
My greatest achievement was helping my mum overcome her crippling anxiety. That was the experience that spawned my interest in psychology.
I hold and MBA from Edinburgh Business School.
I hold a doctorate in which I examined adaptability in Chinese knowledge workers. This is how I became interested in the study of the future.
I can’t stand the phrases “wait and see” or “back to normal.”
My favourite cheese is gouda. My favourite wine is Sauvignon Blanc.
I’m a qualified coach and mindfulness facilitator.
I own a pick-up truck.
I love Korean pop music.