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The Futurist: The Inner Vision Theory

3 surprising ways it controls your future


The three items the human body comes into contact with most in life are the beds we sleep in, the chairs we sit in and the shoes that we walk in. These are the primary friction points we know all too well.

However, the overarching all-consuming interface that few people consider is our human-to-future interface. We will all be spending the rest of our lives in the future, so we really should learn more about how we’re make the transition from the here-and-now to what-comes-next.

Just as a fish has no way of understanding the concept of water, we are immersed in wave upon wave of an ever-changing future, silently slipping through our reality lens like the hands of time.

The metronome of life is nature’s most relentless force, with virtually every moment imperceptibly different from the last. Most often, the change is ever-so slight, but with every tweak, we find ourselves standing on the shifting sands.

The needs of now are different than the needs of then, and even though we take these imperceptible changes for granted, every future has a way of altering the demands that will be placed on us, as we go about our daily living.

We all intuitively know today will be different than yesterday, and tomorrow will also hold a few surprises. But few scientists, if any, have actually tried to examine the affect these micro-vectors have on us individually as they wash relentlessly over us.

“Directoids” is a term I’ve developed to describe these nano-sized particles of influence, that come both internally and externally to literally sway every human action.

Even the slightest bump, noise, smell or thought can alter what comes next. For the vast majority of these micro-shifts, we’re not even aware they’re happening.

I believe we’re kidding ourselves if we think we know where all these micro-influencers come from. My sense is every new wave of the future, unfolding in high resolution at a rate of 100,000 frames a second, is simultaneously syncing with the now and, at the same time, incorporating new instruction sets into every fiber of our being.

These subtle waves of stimulation have a way of re-aiming us, both positively and negatively, toward the next iteration of now.

As someone wanting to control of my own destiny, it’s important for me to understand how these directoids sway my own sentiments and attitudes. They also help define the way an “optimal me” needs to be continually reconfigured to perform in a peak or near-peak fashion.


Have you ever paid attention to the hair growing on your arm, blood flowing through your veins or the infinitesimal secretions made by a gland as it compensates for yet another metabolic shift?

Directoids, as I imagine them, are super tiny particles of influence, too small for us to measure.

Wading through the waters of time, as a person who is constantly touching the stones of change , our subconscious mind is assessing the probabilities of what’s coming next, making millions of operational decisions every second to compensate for even the slightest alterations between now and a zillionth of a second ago.

Drilling deeper, every cellular modification happens as the result of trillions of instructional messages passing beneath the surface of conscious awareness. Yet, on a more conscious level of awareness, we mentally deliberate between such mundane considerations as “what socks should I wear today?” or “what’s the right amount of milk to put on my cereal?”

While our body is awash in directoids, with countless operational signals coding and recoding every decision on a subconscious level, our ability to discern and discriminate between influencers on this level is lost in the same kind of water-blindness that fish have.


The internal steering wheel that our subconscious relies on to guide us through our daily lives is our inner vision of the future.

Tucked away, deep in our cranial cavities, is our own personal vision of what the future holds. While we’re not conscious of its role and how it works, our inner vision of the future determines every action we will take today.

If I see a new pair of shoes, those shoes may or may not have the ability to alter my inner vision. If they do, I will somehow incorporate them and make the purchase.

Similarly, every vacation brochure, restaurant ad or toy commercial will cause our inner vision to give a quick thumbs up or -down, sending signals to our conscious level decision-making mechanisms to take action.

As a futurist, my role is to alter people’s inner vision of what the future holds, and as a result, they will change the way they currently make decisions.


Humans are incredibly complicated and we currently only know a thimbleful of information out of an ocean of data. But we know that we have the ability to change our inner vision, and by extension, change our future.

Every day this vision is undergoing countless revisions as new thoughts and ideas cross our mind. 

Even though we have no actual research yet to validate how it works, our own empirical evidence gives us a functional mental framework.

Here are three of the rather surprising ways our inner vision controls our lives:


How many times have you heard someone say he or she is “Looking for a sign?” Perhaps you’ve said it yourself. But what exactly constitutes a “sign” and how is one sign more significant than another?

Sometimes we will describe our “sign” as an article we’ve read, video clip we’ve seen, an image on a wall, or conversation with a friend. But the “signs” we’ve imagined operate more as a triggering mechanism alerting us to the fact that something important just happened.

In each of these situations, a momentary thought becomes a “sign” because it distinctly resonates with our inner vision.


Some people refer to it as instinct or a gut feeling, but whenever you intuitively know something is off, it comes from your inner vision.

In many respects, the pattern-matching skills of artificial intelligence work very much like the pattern matching we use to compare things to our inner vision.

If it ends up being a topic we haven’t yet considered, we will grant it provisional acceptance until we are able to build


Yes, we have control over our own decisions, but we go through a series of internal processes before they get “blessed” by our inner vision. Ironically, even our decision to change our inner vision has to be approved by our inner vision.

We have many tools for managing our inner vision ranging from increasing our exposure to information, to changing our focus or perspective, to changing our event horizon. The better we become at mastering these tools of introspection, the better we become at managing and reacting to the world around us.

At this point, everything I’ve described is part of a much broader theory I’ve been developing around the future.

For me, the “Inner Vision Theory” has become a powerful tool for not only understanding our relationship with the future, but also explaining the true value that futurist thinking brings to the table.

At the same time, it will help all of us make better sense out of so many of the pieces of our humanness that still fall into the realm of the unknown.

Since this is still a working theory, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Thomas Frey

Thomas Frey is the executive director and senior futurist at the DaVinci Institute and currently Google’s top-rated futurist speaker.  At the Institute, he has developed original research studies, enabling him to speak on unusual topics, translating trends into unique opportunities. Tom continually pushes the envelope of understanding, creating fascinating images of the world to come.  His talks on futurist topics have captivated people ranging from high level of government officials to executives in Fortune 500 companies including NASA, IBM, AT&T, Hewlett-Packard, Unilever, GE, Blackmont Capital, Lucent Technologies, First Data, Boeing, Ford Motor Company, Qwest, Allied Signal, Hunter Douglas, Direct TV, Capital One, National Association of Federal Credit Unions, STAMATS, Bell Canada, American Chemical Society, Times of India, Leaders in Dubai, and many more. Before launching the DaVinci Institute, Tom spent 15 years at IBM as an engineer and designer where he received over 270 awards, more than any other IBM engineer.

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