Look Around

Many years ago, I’ll bet at least 30 years, I was listening to a futurist speak. If you’re wondering what a futurist is they describe themselves as “being to the future what an historian is to the past.” I’m not sure I entirely agree with that description. A historian documents events that actually happened. It’s usually easy to determine if their documentation is accurate or not. 

A futurist studies current events and trends and then predicts what will happen in the future. They often say things like “in twenty years this will happen.” They get paid for saying those things and I’m betting their paycheck is completely spent before anyone has a clue about whether or not their vision of the future is even close to accurate. 

Anyway, this particular futurist said that by the year 2010 the greatest challenge humans would face is determining how to use all the free time that would be created by technology. He predicted great advances in all kinds of technology. Truth be told he was spot on about most of what he said. 

But the “free time” prediction was a huge swing and a miss. While much of the technology has no doubt been beneficial it has also greatly increased the speed at which we work and live. We now live in a world where “Minute Rice” takes way too long to prepare. We want instant results. 

The lines that used to separate our personal lives from our work lives are very blurry these days. A quick peek at our cell phones during dinner can pull us right back into work mode. If not physically at least mentally. 

Technology has done anything but bury us in free time. It has made us busier than ever. 

But has it made us more productive?

There are an endless list of apps labeled as “productivity apps” available today. I’ve got a bunch of them on my phone and iPad. But I’ve discovered one weakness to all of them. You have to use them for them to be effective. Actually, I can’t say that for sure either since I’ve never really used them but I’m taking the app developers at their word. 

There are also a ton of “automation” type apps. Apps that claim to do things for you, like turning off your lights, and starting your coffee maker before you’re even out of bed. Some of my favorite are the reminder apps. They are effective at reminding me of all the stuff I once thought it would be good to get done. 

There’s even a brand new app that helps you “reboot you age” and help you live as if you’re 50 years younger. I’d imagine that’s not recommended for people under 50?

But not one of those apps can help anyone who doesn’t want to be helped. Not one of those apps will have the influence on you that the people you spend your time with will.

So if you truly want to be more productive and successful then look around. Who are the people around you? Who are you listening to? Who are you allowing to put thoughts into your head? Who are you modeling yourself after? 

There are likely two main groups around you, those who promote your purpose and those who pervert your purpose. The first group helps you be more successful. The second group is, frankly, an anchor around your productivity. They are holding you back. Their influence robs you of both productive time and free time. 

The people in your life who pervert your purpose do so because they have not identified a purpose for their own life. The only way they can have “friends” is to hold them back at their level. 

If you want to achieve your full potential then you need to recognize which of the people you’re hanging around with are promoting your purpose and which ones are not. When you surround yourself with supportive individuals then your productivity explodes. You accomplish more in less time. You have a chance to become who and what you were born to be. 

I don’t know if technology will ever create more free time for us but this much I do know. When your productivity increases so does your free time. You will discover you can do more in less time. You’ll discover that you do in fact have time to spare. Time to do what you wish. Maybe even time for yourself. 

It would be nice if an app could one day do that for you. But for now it’s up to you and it begins by choosing the people you allow into your life more wisely. You are very much a compilation of the five people you spend the most time with. 

Choose those five people very very carefully. 

On a another note… Everyone can use a “nudge” towards success. I’m trying something new on Twitter. It’s called “Super Followers.” For $5 a month, that’s 17 cents a day, people can follow a part of my Twitter stream that is for subscribers only. It features short videos of me discussing leadership topics, sales tips and ideas for better overall relationships. I’m assuming there will be far fewer Super Followers than the million or so people who regularly follow me on Twitter. That will give me the opportunity to answer questions more throughly than I can on regular Twitter. Most of the answers will come in the evening cause we all have day jobs, right? Think of it as ”mentoring on demand!”

My goal with SuperFollowers is to build a better connection, one where I can help more and have a greater impact. I’m hoping it gives me a chance to mentor to a wider audience. It’s still new, we’ll see how it works. It’s a $5 dollar investment that may be the extra “push” you need to get to where you want to be. I’d be honored to be able to help get you there. 

You can find more information by clicking the Super Follow button on my Twitter profile page IN THE TWITTER APP. http://twitter.com/leadtoday Give it a try if you’re so inclined, and if you are, be sure to let me know how I’m doing and how I can be of even more help.

5 thoughts on “Look Around

  1. It’s a paradox. When we have more free time, we want to “kill” time, so we fill it with things to escape the freedom that free time allows (ala Erich Fromm). To feel less tension, we might return to doing those mundane things that technology has replaced.

    1. I have too rules…1st is never kill time, it’s done nothing to you and it doesn’t deserve to die. Second, for true success we need to develop the art of doing nothing. In fact, nothing is one of the most productive things I do. It refreshes me so that when I do something I do it well.

  2. In the world of “futurists,” and I work with one of the most well known, there are “content” futurists who you correctly criticize as “predictors” of the future, almost always specializing in particular industries or perhaps “technologies.” But there are also “process” futurists who teach people to monitor trends, innovations, and “paradigm shifts” (there’s a hint here) to look at what might be POSSIBLE in the future — not to predict what will happen in a certain time frame. “Thinking about the future” is very different than trying to “predict” it. Futurist/Economist Kenneth Boulding said: “The future will always surprise us, but we shouldn’t be dumbfounded.”

Leave a Reply