When I show a picture of a self-driving car to a child, their first reaction is usually, “Cute!” or “Cool”. But when I show the same picture to adults in my conference presentations, their first reaction is usually “Scary!”
Of course, that’s partly because adults anticipate some of the risks and dangers. But it’s also because children are often more open to possibilities than adults.
If your initial reaction to self-driving cars is more at the Scary end (in other words, you immediately think of problems, difficulties, challenges, risks, or threats), you will struggle more when driverless cars hit our roads. Not to mention 3-D printing body parts, the dismantling of the education system, embedding chips in newborn babies, the end of offices, and Australia becoming an Asian country.
On the other hand, if you start by thinking “Cool!” – or even “Hmmm … Interesting!” – then you’re a possibility thinker, and you’ll be better able to adapt, embrace and even lead these changes.
Of course, neither of these reactions – “Scary!” or “Cool!” – tells the full story. But practise thinking about what’s possible rather than what could go wrong. Don’t worry – there are plenty of people who can tell you why something won’t work! But the people who will be most valuable in the future are the possibility thinkers.
Here’s a short video I recorded about being a possibility thinker:
Exercise: Yes, And …
Choose any new technology or trend – such as self-driving cars, Snapchat, or same-sex marriage – and brainstorm as many ideas as possible about how it could have a positive impact on your career, your business, and your life.