We spend a lot of our time and energy worrying about the future. Who can blame us, everything seems like it’s terrible and about to fall apart.
Every generation goes through this, and I tend to want to be optimistic about where we are all heading, but some days it’s really hard. Maybe it’s worse for us, now. Maybe it’s always been like this and we are connected more now, so therefore we see all the bad, all the time.
Yes, the 24 hour news cycle has a part to play in this. Fear-mongering, driving ad revenue by keeping us outraged. That’s all true from my perspective.
There is some good news. And the good news about the good news is that it’s fun too.
Uncertainty intolerance is the psychological gauge of how not-okay someone is with the unknown. Peter Felsman led a study that showed that, generally, improv helps reduce people’s uncertainty intolerance and that this decrease is linked with a decrease in social anxiety. In short, improv makes many people more comfortable with uncertainty, which makes them more likely to face social situations.
From 7 research backed benefits of improv comedy.
My own studies of improv have helped me be present, be a better collaborator, and helped me reduce my own worry about the future.
If you want to try improv, I can help you get started. I’m not qualified to teach improv, but I can help you find people near you that are. Email me if you want to talk about it.
Speaking of the Future
I’ve very interested in a field of Design called “Futures Thinking”. It’s not prediction, there isn’t a crystal ball. There’s a design process that lets people do scenario planning.
In these scenarios, there could be desirable, undesirable, and status quo futures. Then the next step is to think through how to build the desirable, mitigate the undesirable, and evaluate if the status quo is worth maintaining.
People who do this kind of work need to think pragmatically about the now. As well as think creatively about what could come, and how to get there.
- The thinking is long term scenarios, say five years from now, not next quarter.
- The thinking looks at the external world, and works inward to the organization, team, or people.
Both those things are counter intuitive to many strategic thinking ways of working for companies. To me this is exciting work that ties into uncertainty intolerance.
I’m studying the field now, and hope to be able to use some of my related skills and do some of this work at my day job, or elsewhere.
More good news:
There’s a book called Rational Optimism that’s in my to-read list. I am a little skeptical as the author and I are on “different sides of the aisle”, politically. Maybe that should drive me to read it not stay away from it?
Anyway, here’s a couple short videos related to the topic.
And then there is Beautiful News. It’s what it says on the tin and I love it so.