How we think about the future requires creativity on our part. The future requires a deep exploration of the past, but it also requires innate curiosity. This curiosity is either deep within our DNA or is some cases must be learned, cultivated and nurtured. We must think about it and there are so many things to think about.

I once heard or read that our brains cannot think of more than one thing at a time. Try it. Try thinking two thoughts at the same time. It’s impossible. My spouse argues its’ possible. She says she can stir a pot of sauce at her food service business and talk to an employee at the same time about what they need to be doing. I’ll go along with that, but is she actually thinking about the sauce while talking to the employee? I would argue she is not. It is the same reason I can walk and talk at the same time. I am not thinking about moving my moving my feet while conversing.

So here comes the potential job candidate interviewing for a high volume working position in my organization. The first thing they declare is that they are good at “multi-tasking.” I have announced anyone stating this will automatically eliminate them from consideration for the position (privately, that is). Because based on my learning above, I believe this paradigm doesn’t exist. I get it, they want to show they are productive, but I would argue, that believing that you are a multi-tasker means that you are easily distracted. I would rather have someone concentrate in short bursts of time on essential tasks then move on to something else. Multi-tasking is a jargony way of saying, “see how busy and important I am?” Or, it is merely semantics.

I came across this TED video and the very first lines out of the speaker’s mouth warmed my heart, “To do two things at once is to do neither. It’s a great smackdown of multitasking, isn’t it, often attributed to the Roman writer Publilius Syrus”. Spoken by Tim Harford, a journalist, and writer for the Financial Times, he argues in his talk that creativity has been unleashed through a process he calls “slow-motion multi-tasking”, or what one might call project management. I like his idea and more importantly what he points out is the case for learning across different genres. He says that some of the most well-known and brilliant people were successful because essentially they were incredibly curious about a wide variety of things. His favorite example is Charles Darwin. It‘s worth watching.

Embracing a “Futures Thinking” outlook in your organization or business requires creativity and curiosity. Harford makes the case for both. However, I am still not buying the concept of multitasking even the slow-motion kind.

Think about the Future.

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