I take it as a good place to start this piece with this assertion by Robert Kiyosaki, author of the Rich Dad Poor Dad series, “There is no longer such a thing as a safe and secure job…the only way for you to have a genuinely secure future is for you to take control of that future.”

We’re in very dynamic times. Innovation and disruptive technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Advanced Robotics and so on, are combining to turn the future into a very unpredictable one. Changes are taking place so fast that even big entrepreneurs may not be 100 percent sure what will happen next.

The story of wild transformations and alterations is the same in many fields of human endeavour. In the light of this, is it possible for one to take charge of the future?

Whether as individuals or businesses, those that aren’t willing and prepared to take charge of their future may lose it. Eastman Kodak, lost its future with the advent of digital photography. Blockbuster, that was a video rental giant, lost its future because Netflix, its competitor, not only relied exclusively on mailing DVDs to customers at cheaper price, but also because of its streaming video service.

How then can individuals and businesses take charge of their future or prevent it from being stolen? These suggestions would be useful.

v  Have a future-oriented vision:  Put down the future you want on paper. It could be as clear statements, or even as drawings, paintings, and so on. Images touch the deep levels of your emotions and can inspire you into action.

Jeff Bezos of Amazon focused his vision on the things that won't change such as obsession with the value of the customer. This is because in the future fads may change, but the customers will still want faster deliveries and more affordable products.

So the way Amazon has taken charge of its future is to respond to fundamental human needs that neither changed in the last hundreds years nor are likely to change in the next hundreds to come.

v  Don’t run away from making sacrifices to achieve your goals: In order to take charge of your future, you should be ready to make some sacrifices now.

The study by  Stanford professor,  Walter Mischel, on delayed gratification many years ago verifies that making sacrifices pays off in the future in several ways. He put some hundreds of children, ages 4 and 5, in a room. He placed a marshmallow (soft spongy candy) on a table. He told them that he would leave the room and that any child who didn’t eat it would be rewarded with two on his return. A few of the children could make the sacrifice of delayed gratification and waited for about 15 to 20 minutes when he returned to the room, and were accordingly rewarded.

About 40 years later after the children had grown up; a follow-up research was done on them. It was discovered that children who had delayed gratification had higher SAT scores, better responses to stress, better social skills, lower likelihood of obesity, and were far better in several other capacities they were measured. This means that making some sacrifices such as delayed gratification could help us take charge of our future and enhance our success.

v  Focus on opportunities, not obstacles: The journey into the future is dotted with many opportunities that may actually come as challenges. So preparing, expecting, identifying, seizing and utilizing the opportunities will certainly empower you to move into the future with certainty.

v  Be a consistent learner: In this change-soaked world, you can be sure that you won’t ever meet a static future. It will keep changing, new approaches, new problems, new needs, etc. One of the best ways to keep track of the future is to learn, gather and analyze data on what the trends are likely to be tomorrow.

v  Solve problems: When you put customers first, you’ll certainly discover what their needs really are. The most successful persons and businesses are those that continue to find ways to best fulfill core human needs. It’s the surest way to capture and keep your future.

v  Have courage: It is the courageous people that always believe in their ability and launch into the future. Eleanor Roosevelt said that “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” So develop the courage to face the future and make the best out of it. Don’t allow anybody or any situation to steal your future because it’s great and colourful.

Why you’ve got to attach a lot of importance to your future is because that’s where you’re going to live the rest of your life, and that’s where you’re going to do the rest of your business or pursue your career.

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