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3 Mindsets Determine How We Progress (or Stagnate)

There are three types of mindsets: the one who is stuck in the past, the one obsessed by the present, and the one who dreams of the future. One (or more) of these three mindsets influences every decision we make each day in our lives — whether that decision involves work, relationships, community, or other interaction.

What Is: The Now Mindset

In today’s world, the most popular mindset is the Now mindset, humanity’s oldest mindset. In fact, it goes beyond humans, as it represents the survival mindset that is easily observed in almost all animals. The Now mindset hunts when it is hungry, mates when it desires, and plays when it pleases. As the most addictive and pervasive mindset, its quick result-oriented nature releases enormous immediate pleasure and tremendous satisfaction.

What Was: The Past Mindset

The Past mindset is probably unique to human kind. Many animals would not even be able to keep an extended memory, as they are mostly occupied with the Now. The Past mindset can be one of the most comfortable or uncomfortable mindsets, with many people failing (consciously or not) to escape it. Being stuck in the past limits the ability of many individuals to progress. Its heavy weight on a person’s mind blocks the individual from moving forward in a positive way.

What Will Be: The Future Mindset

The Future mindset is the one we humans lack the most. We perceive the future as very difficult and undesirable because it remains a big unknown. In fact, many problems we face today in business, the environment, relationships of all sorts (national, as well as individual) — and recently to some degree in technology transformations– all result from not having a Future mindset.

The News Is Not All Bad

Our over-indulgence in the present, inability to escape the past, and limited view of the future are increasingly dangerous, posing a significant threat to our long-term viability. Survival of our businesses as we know it, survival of our planet as we live it, survival of our nations as we develop them, and the survival of human kind as we imagine it will all depend on our ability to acknowledge the facts and make the necessary changes to avoid an undesirable future.

  • How can we help people to escape the cozy or uncomfortable Past and pull them away from over-indulgence of Now? What “social policies” can we “organically” develop to help individuals realistically think about the Future?
  • What key areas should we start transforming so that future generations do not fall into the same trap that we find ourselves in?
  • What measures do we need to consider so that whatever solution arises is sustainable in the long run?

It Is All About Mindsets and Nothing Else

One final thought. We need to stop defining people in isolated groups, such as generations (basically driven by age groups, it is totally absurd, archaic, and mostly irrelevant in today’s world). Although it is understandable why such a concept was conceived in the first place when the world was more static, it is increasingly difficult to buy into such an idea in today’s amazingly dynamic and super-actively connected world.

Writes about workforce strategy, leadership, and future of work. Founder & Managing Partner at sparkChief & Co. (www.sparkchief.com).