Imagining the future is an exercise we might not do frequently enough.
Imagining the future is an exercise we might not do frequently enough.

Welcome, 3rd decade of the 21st century, 3rd millennium! 2020 marks not just the start of a new calendar year, but also a decade. According to the Chinese zodiac, we soon also enter a new 12-year cycle marked by the year of the rat (although not on January 1).

Later edit (April 8, 2020) Check out our new article on uncertainty here. (Worried because of uncertainty? Master it!)

Imagining the future is an exercise we might not do frequently enough, although when doing it, it puts our minds at work in trying to see a broader picture of ourselves and the world in trying to combine all the possible elements which can shape our own reality.

First, look back a little bit

Do you have any recall or any notes from the beginning of 2010? Try to find some references about where you were or how were you thinking back then and how life turned up for you in the decade ending just now. Think on things you predicted would evolve as you did and think also on the major surprises you were not expecting at all. This will help you understand the dynamics of a decade before turning your attention to the next one.

Also, if you did not do a review for 2019, How Was 2019 for You, from 1 to 10? might help you in this.

THE BIG PICTURE. How the world will look like on 31 December 2029?

Try to imagine to world in a 10-year span, the world you consider that you can imagine. If you feel you have a good insight about which way events on the globe are going, try to imagine at global scale. If you feel more comfortable for just a continent, country, region, imagine just that. You might even focus on just the city, village you live in. You can try to focus also on some specific topics in this imagination exercise, like the climate crisis or how things will involve in a specific domain you are interested in.

MY SURROUNDINGS. What will your immediate surroundings be like on 1 January 2030?

You live and work (or learn or just leisure) in a specific place surrounded with a specific group of people, family, friends, co-workers, etc. Try to imagine yourself how all of this will look like in 10 years. Allow yourself to be wishful and imagine the ideal situation. You might set yourself up to being able to set the most important goals for the next decade. Think also about the future of your organization, startup, special project, special workplace. Where would you like them to be at the beginning of 2030?

MYSELF. Where would you be on 1 January 2030?

When we mean where, we do not just mean physically but also regarding your personal life, your family, your career and your lifelong learning process. Imagining yourself in 10 years is not an easy task and it might be mostly inaccurate.

As you would do for a short-term planning, set yourself some goals or promises. As they are looking forward to a longer period in time, don’t try to be very specific, just try to set yourself some directions as kind of hopes for your future. Remember, this is more an exercise of imagination and not a project-type of planning.

Send yourself a letter to the future. Don’t forget to set a reminder for it.

Send yourself a letter to the future. Don’t forget to set a reminder for it.

Write your own letter about predictions of the future and then send it to yourself 10 years in advance.

Check yourself through milestones

Set yourself some milestones for this decade. It might be something at the end of each year, or after every two years of just at the middle of the period, in 5 years. Even during these milestones, it will be a good feedback for you to see how you were thinking at the beginning of 2020 and how everything turned up. Having this element of comparison might help you in the future prediction exercises which might become more accurate in time.

SENDING NOW… How to send a letter to yourself in the future?

There are several ways to do this. Whatever application or calendar you use, one easy way is to create yourself an event in the future. Then set yourself a reminder for that date in the future and add your notes for this 10-year future.

If you use the allyourtime app, first create a note with your letter to yourself. You can either scan a handwritten letter and then create a note for it or if you write an electronic letter, copy-paste the text into a new electronic note and give it a recognizable title, like “Letter to the future 2030” or “My 10 years”. Then create yourself an event for that future moment and set a reminder for that future event. Finally, connect the note to the event and this way you will have reminder yourself in 10 years about what you wrote yourself at the beginning of the decade.