Thinking for the future – Seniors on the Coast – May/June

I was recently talking to a 93 year old tourist from the UK. He was an amazing man both fit in body and fit in mind. He was already planning his next holiday. In fact he was planning many holidays for many years ahead!  He was a real inspiration and a positive living role model for thinking young….for future thinking.

We couldn’t help ourselves though and we got talking about Brexit.  How can you avoid it?  I suppose I wasn’t surprised that he might have voted “YES” to leave the EU but I was interested to know why.

I listened, curious at how different our thinking was.  Clearly our life experiences have been so different and we also face very different futures too.

It was hard to hear his strident views against immigration. (In my head I was thinking about our situation here in Australia, which is the same as the UK in many ways, and I was thinking, “gosh without immigration what a boring monoculture we’d have.  What a beacon of diversity and multiculturalism we have created in Australia and how wonderful it is – AND – not to mention, without healthy immigration our country would not have the necessary growth and working wages to tax to actually provide the infrastructure and health services to support our ageing generation!” But I didn’t say that.)

He admitted his view to leave with Brexit was at odds with the majority of the younger generation who had grown up within the EU.  (In my head I was thinking, “gosh, you’ve voted against the desires of the future generation who will have to live with and sort out the mess and disruption it will create long after you have gone”. But I didn’t say that.)

He expressed his distain at the youth of today not working hard for anything and their ‘attitude of entitlement’ and that his generation didn’t fight in The War to have all the gains fought for, eroded. (And in my head I was thinking, “gosh, wasn’t it freedom and democracy you fought for and liberation from persecution? How exactly does immigration at all negatively impact your life? Not only are the youth working hard right now but they will be working even harder and going backwards after inheriting a broken economy, broken environment and broken world!” But I didn’t say that.)

I didn’t say any objections, he was entitled to his views and vote, but my vigorous inner dialogue kept going hours after our encounter and it got me thinking, particularly in the light of Australia in an election year, with issues like tax reform, climate change, cost of living and immigration as big issues.  I got thinking about ‘thinking’. He might have been ‘future thinking’ for his own personal life and desires, but he was applying ‘old thinking’ to our future problems.

As  we face a very different, global and evolving future, a future facing extraordinary and unprecedented stresses, I worry our ‘old thinking’ and the worldviews that prevailed as the dominant wisdom for over half a century, I worry that ‘thinking’ might not save us now.

When you look at history, every evolutionary leap in technology, medicine, economics or anything, has always required radical thinking. Different thinking.  Thinking that needed to question the status quo and the accepted norms and think beyond them… ‘future thinking’.

Future thinking first requires a new and imagined, dreamed up, reality.  The reality of flight was once only a dream. The reality of wireless technologies was once only a dream.

My nonagenarian UK friend, who despite our wildly different views, he was thinking about his own future based on his personal desires and dreams. It gave him not only energy, certainty and purpose, it gave him HOPE.

We need some of that HOPE too. Future thinking is now required on a global scale by our leaders in order to evolve and move us forwards. Future thinking about dreaming and hoping to make things better for future generations, even if it might be dream based on a desired future that seems impossible right now.

While our political ‘leaders’ battle it out and we hold our breath to see if new or old thinking will prevail, it shouldn’t stop us from leading at the grass roots level. It is us who inhabit the edge of humanity’s evolution.  We all contribute to the creation of the future.

As you think about your dreams and desires – your own personal ones as well as for generations ahead – and ask yourself, “does your thinking now support the future you want to create, for yourself and for next generations?”