Foresight. Man looking into the future.

Foresight: Seeing the Best Future

I don’t skate to where the puck is; I skate to where I think it’s going to be.

~Wayne Gretsky

How would your life change if you could see into the future? You might be able to avoid disasters or take advantage of opportunities. You might be able to help people before they got into trouble.

But what’s the point of speculating—no one can see into the future, right? Or can we?

There have always been people who seem to have the power to accurately predict future events, whether it’s the stock market, the weather, or people’s reactions.

In many sports, certain players’ intuition can seem almost supernatural. Always being in the right place at the right time can make the difference between being an average player and a great one.

This can also apply to our interactions. There are those who seem to always be in the mix of things—at the center of attention, saying all the right things, knowing what’s happening. How do people do that? Is that kind of foresight a natural gift, which some are born with but not others, or is it something that can be learned? Like anything, some have a natural talent, and some have to put in a lot of effort.

For those of us in the latter category, it can helpful to consider the elements of foresight.

To me, the most fundamental of these is the ability to be observant. People with above-average foresight pay attention to what is important to people, to events that impact or influence people, and, perhaps most importantly, to how people react. Observation, awareness, and insight into how events and information relate to people’s interests, needs, and desires are key elements of the ability to sense how the current reality will lead to a future reality.

Foresight also involves a good sense of how your observations and insights “plug in” to your life and your relationships and having the will to act on that knowledge. In other words, positioning yourself where you think the puck is going to be and knowing what you’re going to do once you get the puck (yes, it’s all about the puck).

For me, this means being mindful of and open to the range of possibilities that may arise and taking actions that will make my desired outcome more likely. This doesn’t mean manipulating every situation so that it’s more beneficial to me; it means being aware of the consequences of my actions and taking actions that are consistent with my desired outcomes.

Of course, this also means being open to outcomes that are not consistent with my desires but are the rightoutcomes. For example, seeing a professional opportunity before anyone else, but recognizing that someone else is more deserving, and making that person aware of it.

I’m not always open to the right outcomes. Sometimes, I find myself in a state of denial about outcomes that are unpleasant or aren’t consistent with my life plan, but reality is irritatingly persistent. I know that I should assimilate those possibilities into the decisions I make and the actions I take.

Finally, it comes down to courage and confidence. Someone who knows how to become a positive influence on the world but who is unwilling to take the necessary actions to get there is no better off than someone who does not have that foresight.

When you have the puck, it’s up to you to put it in the net.

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