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The futurist: Why who you were no longer matters


(Editor's note: The is the second of two parts. Read Part I.)

The voice of the fatalist inside often gives us little room for hope. If we believe that change is not possible, then it certainly isn’t. But at the same time, we are being inundated with constant examples of how different we are today than we were, say 20 years ago.

Here are 18 of these examples.

1. You look different. You’re nearly unrecognizable to those you hung out with 20 years ago.
2. You’ve forgotten. The vast majority of your life has disappeared into the ether, leaving little more than a faint residue of the imprint you made along the way.
3. Your physical abilities have changed.
4. Your income is different.
5. Your friends are different.
6. Your clothes no longer fit, and if they still fit, they fit differently.
7. The things you valued most in the past, now holds little meaning. Shag carpeting should have never been invented
8. Your favorite sports team today has none of the same players you remember from 10 years ago.
9. New friends may be more valuable than old friends.
10. Your ability to make brilliant decisions today is far greater than the person you left behind.
11. Past mistakes can only haunt you if you’re still you.
12. Bad memories can be replaced by good ones, and old dreams can be replaced by more inspiring, more infectious, more exciting new dreams.
13. New skills will make you a different person.
14. Every significant shift in your life can be broken down into a series of baby steps that can be repeated, modified, redirected, or recalibrated.
15. You are only one relationship away from being the person you want to be.
16. There is always a path out of your current dilemma.
17. The only thing holding you back is you.
18. There is no limit to personal wisdom.

Final Thoughts

Each morning, as I brush my teeth, I barely recognize the person in the mirror staring back at me.

If I’m the same person I was 20 years ago, then why do I look so different, think so different, and why has my path of progress been so unpredictable?

When people are sent to prison, the person coming out is dramatically different than the person going in. The set of experiences on the inside, with every possible influencer being a capital “L” loser in the game of life, has a massively deleterious influence on the person leaving prison life behind.

Our best and brightest have but a brief moment to shine, and even the most gifted and most privileged bear the scars of human existence.

Some of you who read this will find it depressing and, in so many ways, discouraging. Yet others, reading the exact same words, will find inspiration and reasons for hope.

As for me, I continue on my never-ending journey to discover the great truths about what lies ahead. For me, that is my calling, a calling that I do not take lightly.

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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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