For many years I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about future trends –discussing it with different management teams and assessing how the current businesses I was working with fit into particular trends. So when a future trend list comes out, I can’t wait to read it. In fact, I love every top 10 list (especially the end of year ones.) Even today, driving to L.A., Sirius had a channel that had the top 30 list from their top music stations. It was fun–almost addictive–to listen and guess if I would know the next song. Yep, traffic was terrible, so listening to this station was the meditative solution.
Now okay, you have to admit we all love these kinds of lists –at least I do! More importantly, over the years I haven’t given any thought to the top songs of 2015, and I had no way of knowing what songs would be in the top 30 at the end of the year.
So ask yourself, what if right now you were to list the top 10 future trends or maybe even the top 3 trends? Give it some thought. Divide your ideas into a few categories like health, food, leisure, lifestyle, brands and fitness. Take each chunk that you identify and think about it as much as you can from multiple perspectives, from a 360 degree view, if you will. When you actually take these chunks and give them some real thought, it’s interesting how the mind can draw some really interesting conclusions. Think of it as a crossword puzzle that’s challenging your brain, creating new synapses, expanding your thought process.
The reason for this exercise is to define your perception of 2016 and turn it into a year of “paying attention.” Yep, just plain “being aware” and living your life in a sense of awake-ness, sensitive to all the stimuli you receive during the day, whether they be from sight, smell, touch, hearing, and taste. Let’s call it your “sixth sense’ (for lack of a better explanation), giving us a new orientation to where we are at and what we are feeling.
So for example, if you picked food as a topic, next time you go to the grocery store or a restaurant, I guarantee you will pay more attention and have a different experience than if you are just oblivious to all the input that your natural sensors are delivering to you.
At a time when people are obsessed with wearable technology that monitors everything, nothing can even come close to our natural sensors when we truly pay attention. It has been such a joy in my life to start paying more attention to every detail. Truth be told, the commitment to writing this blog is the reason that now I pay much greater attention to all my activities during the day.
In fact, yesterday while flying on SouthWest Airlines, I was overwhelmed by all the stimuli from people around me and even more overwhelmed by my concern that many people seemed (and this is just my observation while feeling that “sixth sense”) that they weren’t plugged into their own sensors. I wondered if it could be that they where numbing their sensors and even turning them off. This morning, I was with a group that in my opinion, had definitely turned off all of their personal sensors.
So what else, beyond future trends, can you start thinking about right now? How can you activate your personal sensors to pull in data to either confirm, change or expand your thoughts about that subject? Wow! Could it be that you could live a life totally aware of everything going on around you and enjoy every moment of learning?
You could live every day alive, aware and cognizant of those around you. This beautiful gift of being human is available to you every moment of the day. You can become spirited, let that twinkle in your eye sparkle. If you do, you will learn so much and be able to help people in ways you never thought of before. Can you commit to “paying attention?” Will you enjoy the process and share it with others?
Early in my career, I read a passage in a book that has stuck with me (I can’t remember the title or exactly what it said, so I’ll paraphrase): A man in search of happiness climbed the Himalayas looking for a particular wise man who lived in a cave and who had the secret of happiness. He climbed and climbed, and when fully exhausted, found the cave he had been looking for. He walked in and the wise man was sitting crosslegged on the cave floor. The wise man asked what he was doing in his cave and the man said, “I was told you could give me the keys to happiness.” The wise man pondered this and then said, “There are only three things you have to do to be happy… Pay Attention, Pay Attention, Pay Attention!”
Let’s all start moving toward happiness today by paying attention.
P.S. Just for fun, I’ve attached a wonderful “Future Trends” report. If you write your own trends down first, it will be fun to see how observant you were in 2015!