I am amazed how fascinated we are with the future. Years ago, Stephen Covey told us that the best way to predict the future was to create it.
We also seem to love to read about it. Here is one more new book that tells us what the United States will look like in 2025. The book is called The Next Boom by Jack Plunkett (BizExecs Press, 2010).
In the book, Plunkett predicts that we will add 40 million people to the United States population in the next 15 years. He predicts a greater presence of engineers and scientists in countries such as China, India, and Brazil. And, he believes we will see a rise in the production of goods and services from markets in Southeast Asia and Africa.
I remember how much I loved to present synopses in 1999-2000 of The Long Boom by Peter Schwartz, Peter Leyden, and Joel Hyatt (Perseus Books, 1999). I have to admit that it really feels good to read about a prosperous future.
But what a crash when that future is not fulfilled! The “long boom” wasn’t very long. The “next boom” may never bloom, or boom.
Speaking only for myself, I am not willing to take the risk. Needless to say, I won’t be reading this one or presenting it at our synopsis. I’ve crashed once too often about unfulfilled futures.
But that is just me. What about you? Do you like reading about the future?
Let’s talk about it!
I have written before about this simple concept: you get what you pay attention to. (read this earlier blog post). I am convinced that this is as true a maxim as you can find. What gets attention determines the areas in which progress is made. What is ignored goes downhill… pretty quickly.
My friend, Larry James, is a genuine expert on poverty issues. The CEO of CitySquare (formerly Central Dallas Ministries), Larry has a terrific blog. (Larry James Urban Daily: read it here). In a recent post, he excerpted an article about the fight against poverty in Brazil. Here’s a key portion:
Today, however, Brazil’s level of economic inequality is dropping at a faster rate than that of almost any other country. Between 2003 and 2009, the income of poor Brazilians has grown seven times as much as the income of rich Brazilians. Poverty has fallen during that time from 22 percent of the population to 7 percent.
Contrast this with the United States, where from 1980 to 2005, more than four-fifths of the increase in Americans’ income went to the top 1 percent of earners.
Why is Brazil making such progress in its struggle against poverty? Because… this is what they are paying attention to. The people at the top pay attention to this problem – with serious focus.
Consider this portion of the inaugural address from the new President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, delivered Saturday, January 1, 2011. (find the full text here: )
My Dear Brazilians,
My government’s most determined fight will be to eradicate extreme poverty and create opportunities for all.
We have seen significant social mobility during President Lula’s two terms. But poverty still exists to shame our country and prevent us from affirming ourselves fully as a developed people.
I will not rest while there are Brazilians who have no food on their tables, while there are desperate families on the streets, while there are poor children abandoned to their own devices. Family unity lies in food, peace and happiness. This is the dream I will pursue!
This is not the isolated task of one government, but a commitment to be embraced by all society. For this, I humbly ask for the support of public and private institutions, of all the parties, business entities and workers, the universities, our young people, the press and all those who wish others well.
What do you pay attention to? Whatever it is, it is likely that that is the area where you will make the most progress.