Stay neutral and understand the context!

Tomorrow is complex; created by millions — no, billions — of people

Daniel Egger

3/24/20194 min read

a man in a hat and a hat on a field
a man in a hat and a hat on a field

Tomorrow is complex; created by millions — no, billions — of people, and we humans have our limitations, as we tend to think temporally. As a result, it becomes crucial to expand our horizons and challenge our assumptions. When faced with the “new,” we might judge, or ignore/exaggerate. We must train our time perception, and turn time into a strategic ability to expect and shape change. The future isn’t about ceteris-paribus — one variable we isolate and study — but defined by interconnection and changing realities. We need new views and to question the obvious, exploring the world with curiosity and open-mindedness.

Texas was one of the most violent parts of the Wild West. However, it was not as bad as popular lore would have you believe. Historian Bill O’Neal researched documented shootouts during the “gunfighters’ era,” and the results differ from the standard Hollywood line. In 1880, Texas had a population of close to 1.6 million and one of the highest documented duel statistics of U.S. states. It counted 12 shootouts a year, or one a month. What’s surprising is that the number of violent events is very low, as is the number of deaths. This highlights the importance of re-examining our assumptions and not relying solely on popular beliefs.

The key challenge during a duel was much simpler than we imagined. It was satisfactory for the shooter to hit the adversary anywhere. Yet even aiming might have been difficult considering that many shootouts took place after some time spent at the saloon. Skilled gunmen aiming at flying bottles or coins hardly existed. The primary consideration in the Wild West was not speed but “accuracy.” By examining historical facts, we can gain a better understanding of the past and its implications for the present and the future.

We need to question much more, provoke, investigate, and experiment. In the words of Friedrich von Hardenberg, “The goal is to turn the familiar strange and the strange familiar.” Embracing this mindset can help us better understand the complexities of the world and adapt to its ever-changing landscape.

Our experiences allow us to deepen our knowledge in certain topics, the communities we belong to strengthen our relationships, and the day-to-day routine helps us to manage uncertainty and complexity. In other words, we simplify, filter, and reduce — something we’re good at — and as a result, we create a pre-defined synapsis that allows faster, familiar decision-making to avoid risks. We create what we perceive, so our Mental Model represents only a “small-scale model of external reality.” To navigate the complexities of the world, we must expand our mental models and consider alternative perspectives.

The downfall of a simple worldview is judgment, a limited perspective, seeing parts of society separated from each other, and shifts as non-existent. “Simple” is risky. It prioritizes the past, reduces the present, and limits future exploration. We limit our interaction, perception, and process to what we think is relevant. We don't know about new opportunities because we don’t have a more holistic perspective. They might as well not exist from our point of view. Overcoming this limitation requires actively seeking out diverse perspectives and engaging with the unfamiliar.

Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A. Osborne researched “The Future of Employment.” Their goal was to calculate the probability of computerization for 702 occupations. They found that especially those jobs and logics that follow a pre-defined and simplified process, which are non-personal, have a high probability of being replaced by advancing technology. This insight emphasizes the importance of adapting This insight emphasizes the importance of adaptability and the development of skills that are uniquely human, such as creativity, critical thinking, and empathy. As technology advances, we must reevaluate our roles and responsibilities in the workforce and focus on cultivating those qualities that make us irreplaceable by machines.

To prepare for the future, we must embrace a fresh perspective, a broader view impulse by a curious mind. No trend reports, not a single person, and no unique tool can be enough. The future is about the many. We need to investigate known premises, embrace intuition to identify patterns, and be more aware of our biases. By doing so, we can better understand the dynamic world we live in and prepare ourselves for the uncertainties that lie ahead.

We need to question our and societal Weltanschauung, the view of the world. Can we afford not to see differently any longer? Challenging our worldview allows us to grow and adapt to the rapidly evolving world. By cultivating a curious and open-minded approach to life, we can better navigate the complexities of the future and create a more resilient and inclusive society.


Question: What's the significance of time perception in preparing for future changes?

Answer: Time perception is crucial for strategizing and shaping change. It encourages us to expect and adapt to interconnected and evolving realities rather than thinking in linear or isolated terms. Training our time perception can aid in broadening our horizons and challenging assumptions.

Question: What do the statistics of shootouts in 1880 Texas teach us about historical assumptions?

Answer: The example of the 1880 Texas shootouts demonstrates the importance of challenging popular beliefs and re-examining our assumptions. Statistics reveal that violent events and deaths were considerably lower than in popular culture, indicating the need for factual reassessment.

Question: How does Friedrich von Hardenberg's quote apply to our understanding of the world?

Answer: Friedrich von Hardenberg's quote, "The goal is to turn the familiar strange and the strangely familiar," suggests embracing a mindset of constant inquiry, provocation, and experimentation. It prompts us to deepen our understanding of complexities and adapt to changing landscapes.

Question: What are the implications of having a simplified worldview?

Answer: A simplified worldview can lead to judgments, limited perspectives, and missed opportunities. It can make us perceive society as disconnected and inhibit future exploration. We must actively seek diverse perspectives and engage with unfamiliar concepts to navigate complexities and discover new opportunities.

Question: How does the study "The Future of Employment" by Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A. Osborne inform our understanding of job prospects in the future?

Answer: Frey and Osborne's study underscores the importance of adaptability and the development of uniquely human skills, such as creativity, critical thinking, and empathy. As technology advances, jobs with predefined, non-personal processes risk being automated, emphasizing the need for reevaluating roles and responsibilities in the workforce.