We are always best at predicting the future in our stories. We describe the future in our stories with great certainty. Both in the ones where we defend where we are going as well as those that try to stop a decision we donât agree with.
I find that many of the futures that I hear people describe are delusional. When? When the person in the story talks so strongly about the end point. Their insistence on being right about the outcome they believe will occur as if it were certain.
What is missing? Detail. How long it will take. What must happen to get there? Who will do the work? What is the biggest challenge in getting to the outcome they so strongly believe in? Do they have the resources to do it? Delusional storytellers are always short on details.
What more is missing? Will this person themselves do the work towards the outcome they are so certain will occur? If they arenât willing to work at achieving that future they so eloquently describe, what chance does it really have at being successful?
Over my lifetime, one big lesson I have learned is that nothing turns out exactly like you think it would. There is always an inherent probability of success in anything that we do but never certainty. Some paths have a higher probability of succeeding than others.
To be more truthful in either the pursuit of a different future or in pointing out the weaknesses in anotherâs strong opinion is to consider the probability of success across multiple paths or options. Exposing what is needed to make a given path successful is much more productive than insisting on the certainty of an outcome.
Our lives are too short to believe in delusional futures. They are a waste of time. Unfortunately, we do it often.
You are much better off constructing incremental ones where you have looked at many options and assessed the probability of success and what is needed to succeed in each one. Ones that fit our time, talent, and resources but stretch us beyond where we are today.
Then achieving multiple incremental futures, one by one, will get you further than the most delusional future story you might ever tell or hear.