Turn this change force from bad to good

Astute world watchers have said, “The future is unknown and unknowable.” Peter Drucker, a wise and practical teacher and writer, said, “You can’t really plan but the alternative is worse.”
Though we may know a likelihood, we cannot accurately predict specific events. Witness earth quakes and volcanic eruptions.
So what can we do?
Here’s another truth based on experience: preparing for the future is not the same as knowing it.
Assuming it were actually possible to know the future, many people would surely prepare better. Or would they? I’ll admit I haven’t started acting on “Y2K issues” even though I know some will happen Jan. 1.
Those who do prepare for the future make good guesses and think through their course of action based on their answers. But how to make more informed guesses? And how to guide progress based on the most likely scenarios?
We can look into the engines of change.
By understanding what is currently going on in each of those change engines or change forces, we can understand trends better. We also can notice discontinuities earlier, and react more effectively to those.
Discontinuities are the opposite of trends. They are sudden, complete, usually unexpected shifts. The falling of the Berlin wall was a dramatic example–not one of the experts on European east-west politics predicted it.
At Quetico Centre, we have identified nine change forces. They all affect each other but they are different. The major trends and events within each change engine also affect all the others.
The more thorough any examination, the better the person, organization, community, or nation can be prepared to adapt creativity and constructively to what lies ahead.
The nine change forces are:
•population
•politics
•socio-economy
•information
•technology
•use of resources
•values
•death
•nature
In the “Future Trending & Tending” columns, I have not written about death before. Our board chairman, Fred Porter, pointed it out.
Death and life are intertwined. We can’t have one without the other though we might wish. Most lives and most deaths do not drastically affect the course of world history but some do.
Deaths often mark the end of an era and the start of another. How about the death of Mahatma Gandhi? Mao Tse Tung? Golda Meir? Martin Luther King? Margaret Mead?
Empires have fallen apart after the death of a strong leader, others have consolidated. Some major scientific and humanitarian contributions have been recognized and applied only after the person died.
If we think about noteworthy persons, we can predict what is likely after their death. That is true on a grand scale as well as in communities and families.
But there we have an extra opportunity.
When death hits home, we can personally make it into something positive. It’s difficult but important and healing.
When someone dies whom we respect and about whom we care, we can do something in honour of that person to make his or her life count even more, and to make our world a better place.

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