Exercise 1: The future without any change in current events
To think about how you wish to see the future, it is practical to think about what will happen if nothing changes.
Begin by thinking about the current situation and how it influences people’s lives.
How do you describe the current situation in the world you are living in?
Next, think about what the world will look like in 5-10 years.
What will the future look like when nothing changes, and we continue as humanity on
the current trajectory?
To answer this, you can think about the following aspects:
- What are the positive aspects in the current situation?
- What are the negative aspects in the current situation?
- To what extent are people able to have a social life?
- How much freedom do people currently have?
- To what extent are people able to fulfil their dreams?
Spend around 5 minutes writing about this. Allow yourself to focus on what is most important to you.
Exercise 2: The ideal future for humanity and the world
Here, you are going to provide contrast to the previous segment. You are going to think about the ideal world and how this relates to the world in which nothing changes.
The idea is to draft an image of the ideal future as you see it, for the planet and all its inhabitants. Furthermore, describe what you want to contribute, and how, to create a better world for others. Be ambitious and pay no attention to how realistic this image looks to you. Dreams may not always materialise, but that should not stop you from having them.
Now let yourself daydream. Close your eyes and think about the ideal future you wish for the world if there would be no obstacles. Define some goals for yourself and/or the world.
Remember, you are writing this for yourself! Choose the future scenario and goals you find important.
As soon as you have created an image, write about it for around 15 minutes. Feel free to keep daydreaming as you write. Perhaps you will encounter something even better!
Exercise 3: Specify concrete goals
By writing about different possibilities for the future, you are structuring your thoughts. This will help you to be more motivated to actualise and implement changes. Changes that can lead to a better future for yourself, but also for others.
Think tangibly about what you can do to bring that ideal future for the world a step closer:
- What can you do in your direct environment, and outside of it?
- How can your knowledge and skills improve the world?
Briefly describe three goal examples based on the ideal future. Think about what you can do in your immediate surroundings. How you can make a difference and create a ripple effect. Your goals can touch on many different domains. These do not need to be great things but can also be small things you do every day. Below are a few examples:
- Engage more often in random acts of kindness
- Connect people who are willing to improve the world with each other
- Do not only give, but also learn to receive. When you truly receive a gift, the giver can enjoy it as well.
- Think about what you can do in your immediate surroundings. How can you make a difference and create a ripple effect?
Write down these goals and give a short outline for each one. Why is this goal so important to you?
Exercise 4: Prioritise
As you will not be able to realise all your goals at the same time, we ask you to list each of your goals from most to least important. Describe your #1 goal:
- What is the first step you are going to take on the way to realising this goal? Be practical.
- When will you start to work on this goal and how much time are you willing to spend on it each week?
Start small, for example 5-minute walks every day, if this is one of your goals.
Exercise 5: Identify and clear obstacles
The way to a better future can be bumpy. In life things aren’t always happy-go-lucky. Therefore, it can be very practical to anticipate possible roadblocks and obstacles. Research shows that people who create clear plans and think about what they would do when encountering hindrances, are more able to reach their goals than people who do not do this.
Write about every goal, the possible obstacles you may encounter, and how you can deal with them.
You can write it like this:
If obstacle then solution
Example: If people don’t appreciate my solutions, then I can first assess whether my solutions were indeed valuable, and then find people who will appreciate them and are willing to share feedback to help me realise this goal.