by Dee Magnoni, Boston Chapter
Being Future Ready can mean many things. Perhaps I have a great strategic plan in place. Or I’ve created strong partnerships, have developed & encouraged my staff, and have invested in the right technology. Personally, I believe that one of the most important aspects of being future ready is having the right frame of mind. I have long been an advocate of reading, listening, and viewing from a wide array of resources across many disciplines. You never know where your next spark will flash from. So first, have a broad mind that is open to new ideas.
To have an open mind, you must have a rested mind. Years ago I read about temporal exhaustion in a piece of futurist literature. When we are temporally exhausted we have scheduled our lives so tight with meetings, errands and obligations that we have no time to stop, breathe and relax. What to do? Think meditation, mindfulness, yoga, deep breathing, or that ever-valuable counting to ten before replying. These tools help us to slow down, to remember what is important, and to allow real thinking and creativity to enter our brains.
Finally, I attended a live TEDx event this past October at Woods Hole (http://tedxwoodshole.org). One of the speakers was Dan Ariely, author of Predictably Irrational. He talked about how our behavior in the future is always perfect. Yes, we’ll write that report. Yes, we’ll organize that meeting. Yes, we’ll get our budget in on time – and balanced! Our current behavior is the problem. We trade in long term benefits for short term gains. We spend more than our allotted time on social media rather than writing that report. We procrastinate. If we were completely rational, we would analyze the long term benefits and always make the correct short term decisions. We aren’t completely rational, thus the predictably irrational. What is the solution? Dan suggested rewards for short term good behavior, and talked about his own illness and the difficulty of treatment. His reward for suffering through treatment with severe side-effects three times a week for a year and a half was to watch movies that he would enjoy during those times. Dan’s talk was a true eureka moment for me. To be truly future ready, I must make my present behavior as close to my future behavior as possible.
In 2011 I will be Future Ready by continuing to read widely and watch TED talks, I will find time to slow down and recharge my mind, and I will find short term rewards to help motivate me to make my current behavior in synch with my future goals.
Dee Magnoni is the Library Director at Olin College of Engineering. She is active in numerous divisions and caucuses of SLA and is presently Chair of the Leadership & Management Division.