8 Ways Futurists Think


A futurist is some one who thinks and wonders about the future enough to make predictions about it. Having a little futurist in you can be fun and helpful if you’re running a business, investing in the stock market, passionate about trends or just want to have a refreshing perspective on life.

1. See today as history

It’s up to you to decide how ancient of a time you’ll pretend you’re living in. Sometimes futurists are excited to pretend that they are ten years behind. Others like to pretend that they are living one hundred or a thousand years behind.

When you do that, everything in the present moment suddenly becomes exponentially more interesting. Even the newest technologies will seem like only a peak into what is really coming.

You’ll listen to certain phrases and realize when they are “time-stamped”. You’ll think “Ha! That is going to sound preposterous in x years!”. It’s almost like life turns into a game or a movie and you are here to play and observe everything from the future.


2. Identify the Momentum

Futurists like to identify the momentum in which a certain idea or technology is catching on. Is it spreading slowly or fast? Often times most people are so absorbed in whatever is spreading that they don’t see how much it effects their own world.

Futurists get really excited about the speed and coverage of one simple idea. It exciting to see how one invention can revolutionize the status quo.

It’s catching an expression of what we study all day long in the moment. It’s the futurists job to say, “If we’re doing x today, then imagine how we’ll be doing x tomorrow.’


3. Think about how other people think

Futurists like to think about how other people think. I like to imagine what an inventor, writer or artist was thinking at the time of their most famous creations.

What problem were they trying to solve? What was happening around them to make then want to make this? What were some revolving sentences that stirred up enough times in their mind to cause a storm of action?

Some futurist like to imagine how the status quo became the status quo. Is it because of a certain technology? Is it because that certain technology spread a certain philosophy?

How does “normal” become normal? It takes time and it takes adaptation and futurists can’t get enough of studying those.


4. Believe the unbelievable

Most of what people used to think was impossible is now happening in daily life for most of us without appreciation.

One of the things futurists get a kick out of is watching a large populations of people thinking that something is “impossible”, “unlikely” or “not going to happen”, only to find that it’s exactly what happens over a period of time.

Futurists don’t need to see what’s “impossible” in their own lifetime to believe it’ll be possible in another lifetime. When the futurist writes, he writes for the futurists of today and for the people of tomorrow.

He doesn’t need his audience to be alive or to understand to his ideas when they are first put out. He immortalizes them with written word or some form of recorded documentation.

5. Appreciate and spot out the moments that will stamp time

Part of the reason why futurists love big ideas is because they tend to stamp time and alter the future moving forward.

Whether it’s a show, an invention, a book, a piece of art or an artist themselves. Certain things stamp time and create enough of an impact that causes other shows, books, inventions, etc. , to be a result or a “baby” of the previous.

Would we have Beyonce if we didn’t have Michael Jackson? Would we have Michael Jackson if we didn’t have James Brown? Would we have James Brown if we didn’t have gospel music?

We could do this sort of root-based analytic breakdown until we get to the beginning of time. To get there, we’d have to use time-stamped moments or influences to trace ourselves back. That’s why these moments are so important to futurists. They clearly show a shift of impact and help us figure out how the status quo of the past was “landmarked” by moments that stamped time forever.

6. Be a historian

Every futurist in essence is a historian first. They learn about the patterns in history that replay themselves. They learn about the certain inevitabilities imbedded into the nature of man.

They use history to understand how we got to this point in time. They want to understand what events, inventions and cultural phenomenons had to happen to get here because it gives them a clear map on where we will be going.


7. Find the things that stay the same

Often times it can seem that futurists are under pressure to figure out what will change in the world but some are more focused on what will stay the same. Identifying what will remain consistent can be just as, if not more, powerful that predicting change accurately.

Knowing what will have a solid trend is a helpful margin when it comes to the influx of other wobbly and volatile ideas. Consistency also gives us a leg up when it comes to market demands — proving what will stand and sell over the test of time.

8. Have fun

Part of the reason why I think so many people “become futurists” is just because it’s fun. It’s fun to think about what the world will look like in one, two, five or five hundred years. It’s fun to predict what our biggest differences will be and what will remain the same.

It’s fun to think about how the hottest trends of today will one day be the super dated and old trends of tomorrow. It’s fascinating to watch our perspectives change within a life time. From being a child and not comprehending adulthood and then being an adult and not comprehending being elderly and so on.