Tag Archives for " the future "

Were your grandparents optimists or pessimists? – SCN Encourager

By Tom Page, SCN Founder | The Encourager

The fact that you are “up and about” answers this one.

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According to futurist David Zach, we’re both walking, talking, real-world proof that our ancestors consistently looked ahead to the future with hope in their hearts.

I do think that if Zach knew my grandparents, he’d be forced to acknowledge that the power of prayer and keeping one’s “fingers crossed” often helped keep that hope alive.

For sure, my brothers and I – over the course of two and a half decades – probably caused my grandparents to re-assess their optimistic view of the future many times.

But the misbehavior of my younger brothers aside, Zach is right.

The hope our ancestors had for the future is a primary contributor to the success and lifestyles we enjoy today… and now we’re similarly duty-bound to pay-it-forward to support and encourage the next generation.

Screen Shot 2014-10-09 at 4.07.25 PMZach’s been right before, you know.

Seven months ago, I wrote about his insightful presentation at NSPRA 2000 in San Antonio.

A few weeks after this I was lucky enough to score a copy of Zach’s book.

His keen quick peeks into a wide variety of topics have never failed to improve my thinking.

It was Worth Remembering – the future value of old ideas that jarred me into wrestling with the role our grandparents are still playing today.

Zach’s format offers an effective blend of old and new.

On every page, he highlights an old quotation or two, and then attaches his own commentary.

For example, he featured this quote from Arnold Bennett (1867-1931):
Pessimism, when you get used to it, is just a agreeable as optimism.

Then Zach mused:

People often ask, “Are you an optimistic futurist?” and I suspect that few would hire me if I wasn’t. Sure, I have my fears and doubts, but I believe that optimism is both practical and preferable and the virtue of hope is something of a moral imperative. If people of the past still held hope through all of the trials (they must have, because we are still here) then we must do the same.

Sounds good to me.

We don’t have to be the richest, the slimmest, or the wittiest to make a positive contribution to the future.

We just need to choose to be hopeful.

This I can do.

And it might even motivate me to “titlejack” Zach’s wonderful book and write one of my own –

Hardly Worth Remembering.


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Do the math. Do you know the value of your new school year? – SCN Encourager

By Tom Page, SCN Founder | The Encourager

Navy Seal Admiral William H. McRaven offers an intriguing formula.

Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 7.52.38 PMA few months ago Admiral McRaven was the keynote speaker at the University of Texas at Austin 2014 Commencement ceremony. He used 10 everyday images (a song, a bell, … a shark!) to convey 10 mini-lessons for living a life of meaning and significance.

The Commencement audience of 8,000 found out rather quickly that the Admiral’s speech was intended for more than the new graduates.

He asked everyone present to consider their collective impact on the world.

Did they know that they possessed the power to touch nearly 800 million people over the next 125 years?

The Admiral used his own math formula, which was something like this:

Total # of people present TIMES # of people reached (20) TIMES five generations (grandparents, current, plus the next three = 125 years) TIMES 10 (factoring in 10 more lifetime interactions from everyone in the original total).

When I used this formula to calculate the collective impact on the world for the 2014-2015 school year based on my own school district’s numbers (Holland, MI), I couldn’t believe it.Complicated mathematical equation

The combined world influence and reach by just Holland’s teachers alone for the upcoming school year exceeds 7.8 MILLION persons.

Now my math may be off by a person or two – as Cindy refused to participate and put me on a three day spousal “do not call” list – but see for yourself.

250 teachers TIMES 25 students each TIMES 125 (the five generations) TIMES 10 = 7,812,500

Whether this is the big data version of the butterfly effect or the proverbial tossed pebble causing ripples in the pond, I can’t say.

Just doing the Admiral’s math wore me out.

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