What do you feel when you think about the future? Do you feel anticipation? Or fear? Or do you feel nothing at all? There would be good reasons for each of these possibilities. In the first case, the future is like Christmas or your own birthday, a celebration you look forward to because there are presents. You don't know exactly what they'll be, but hey...they're gifts! Maybe the family has pulled off a real surprise. In any case, looking at the wrapped presents makes for tingling excitement. What might be inside the box? What a pleasant uncertainty ...
But the future can also be scary. And again, uncertainty is to blame for this feeling. Because the uncertainty of what exactly the future will look like can not only cause anticipation, it can also gnaw at you: Will I still be able to keep up with digitalization in ten or twenty years? Will my profession even exist then? Will I stay healthy? And what if we can't stop climate change after all? What will my life and all our lives look like then? The world is changing so rapidly. What can I still hold on to at the moment? What can I be sure of? If the uncertainty about the future becomes too great, it automatically turns into fear.
These two examples make it clear that the future is above all a question of attitude. Whether we feel anticipation or fear, in both cases uncertainty is the trigger for how we feel. Which emotional path we ultimately take depends only on how we deal with uncertainty. Those who are able to embrace it have a chance at adventure. Those who allow themselves to be intimidated by this uncertainty, on the other hand, are seized by paralyzing anxiety and remain in place.
And what if you don't decide at all? What if you let the future (and thus also the uncertainty) be the future and instead concentrate entirely on the here and now? Don't they always say that you should live in the moment? After all, it is the only real thing. What sounds like a way out is actually a dead end. One in which we have made ourselves far too comfortable in recent decades. But no one can escape the future. Or as the scholar Confucius put it 2500 years ago, "If man does not think about what lies in the distant future, he will regret it in the near future."
Of course, the future itself is not a fixed goal that we can work towards. The future is never finished. It is a highly complex process. But how can this process be controlled? The fact is: the future doesn't just happen. Rather, it emerges from the decisions we make today. We should always be aware of this fact. Each of our decisions is a small building block for the future that has concrete effects. The fact that things may turn out quite differently in the end than we thought is another story. As I said, the future is an adventure. What might be in our gift boxes for you in 2021?