What Am I? Nostradamus?

LinkedIn sent me an email, that I imagine a thousand other users received, complimenting my online involvement and asking me to make some predictions for 2019. I was trepidatious, but I guess my lesser ego won. I love writing and enjoy predicting stuff. The thing is, I enjoy doing it with a grain of salt, a loose interest in having watched trends. Sharing it out loud puts me in the firing line of wrongness come 2020. So, I'll start my prediction with:

I Predict I'll Be Wrong In A Couple Areas... or at the very least, premature. I also predict that we'll continue this obsession with being wrong and making mistakes and telling ourselves that it's okay and even beneficial. I agree. To a degree. I'm not into coddling, but I am also not a believer in stick and carrot or winner-take-all motivation. I'm a believer in being oneself, being authentic, and pushing oneself to continually discover one's highest potential. I believe in discovering a purpose (or three) and putting that (or them) behind everything one does. This is a journey. While we learn from our mistakes and are going to be wrong, let's avoid patting each other on the head like sensitive children when we do. It's perfectly okay to have serious drive. Just include enough balance to keep a sense of humor. In line with that, I predict we'll move to the middle on just about every trend that we're seeing. As a society we seem to like stretching the rubber band to the breaking point. Then let it pull, with some tension, back to a new center.

A Pre-occupation With Productivity Will Not Be Productive. What kind of dribble is that? It's the kind of dribble that tends to be agreed upon by people who stop focusing strictly on winning and start focusing on careful completion of a task. These are the kind of people who understand intrinsic motivation. This is often the kind of thinking that you'll find when you listen to people who are tremendously productive and win a lot. I think it works like this: When we focus too hard on winning or on the end goal, we actually distract ourselves from the immediate work at hand, obsess ourselves into stress, and stop enjoying what we're doing. I realize that it's not as if we're going to jump with joy about every little thing we do. I love my work and there's certainly plenty of it that involves less-than-joyful tasks. But by focusing on meticulously doing it and taking the necessary time to do it right, I'm much more likely to see it through effectively. With this balanced focus, I'm not even thinking about winning or how much time it's taking or how many items I've completed. It's called peak flow, or being in the zone. It works. That leads to a joy in work done right, completion of tasks with fewer mistakes, and happy customers, bosses, etc. Fix something right, design something right, build something right. It will work right and you'll be far more productive in the long run.

I'll give you an example that also loosely shows the on-going reasons for failure in the now-old-school thinking of established businesses. My wife and I bought a coffee maker. I won't tell you the brand, but suffice it to say that what it makes is in the name. Less than a month into using it, something broke. I called the manufacturer. The woman on the other end of the line didn't seem surprised and didn't hesitate to send me a replacement part. Curious. But that wasn't the end of it. About a year later, it broke again. This time, it was irreparable. The seal broke and water would stream out the bottom of the machine when I filled it up. Trust me, this is not the kind of interruption my wife and I endure in our our morning routine. Had Starbucks begun their delivery service at the time, a gallon would've been on the way. (Thanks #DailyRundown for that recent heads up!) Needless to say, I paid much greater attention to reviews on my next purchase.

Producing lots of less-than-quality product in quick succession inexpensively, is going to become less and less appreciated. Even though 60% of the U.S. population makes $20/hour or less (Another #DailyRundown tidbit), I expect that more people are going to be asking for products that last. Looking for more profit? Stop building utter garbage. I was told more than once that I teach my students too quickly. What's that even mean? I'm supposed to keep them dependent on me for the long haul? I'm sorry, but that's not in my nature. I even tell them at their first session that I want them outa here as soon as possible. I want them thinking like a pro and working like a pro asap. My roster remains full and, other than a dip after the great recession, I have always enjoyed very little slowdown with student sign-ups and solid retention, for the better part of 25 years. Focus on the quality in the now. And with online reviews and algorithms, you're being watched.

Purpose-driven Businesses Will Surge. I'm guessing it's going to take more than the next year... just to cover my posterior... but I have no doubt that it's going to be more of a given in the near future: that a business needs to have a purpose beyond profit. Businesses grew out of filling needs. Humans have a growing need to find purpose in their lives. The right businesses can fill real needs for the two most important people to any business: customers and employees. It's a kind of a logical loop.

Sleep Well, Eat Well, Be Well And Good. Being good to our bodies, minds, and spirits will become more of a norm as this trend continues to show the increase in over-all morale, sense of well-being, and thereby, productivity. The happy side effect of this, is that we're less likely to be jerks to other people, seeing as we don't feel crappy all the time. Which leads to my next prediction.

The Jerks Will Continue To Get Into Trouble. If someone is an abusive or misogynistic individual, they're going to continue to get in trouble for it. Humanity is continuing its march toward, well, humanism. Value-creative humanism and humanistic education are moving to the foreground with scholars and educators. The general populace follows suit. We will become less and less tolerant of abuse, as more of it is exposed. This will be uncomfortable at times, responses will be extreme at times, angers will flare at times, and we'll be adjusting to it for a couple generations. But, we'll see a massive shift in the way humans choose to treat each other. I guess this one was for more than 2019, but no use in waiting 'til next year to say it.

Meditation Will Gain More Ground. I've run into more and more interviews, biographies, and the like, in the last year, where people in the highest levels of performance in their fields have mentioned how some form of meditation has improved their life. Some sunk into it a long time ago, some more recently. Actually, mindset work has been in our mainstream for 50+ years in various forms. Now, we're simply taking the next step and looking or listening or feeling more deeply. Even science is scanning the horizon for answers to human consciousness, which is basically the final frontier for understanding the human animal. It's kind of remarkable we didn't start giving meditation more consideration a long time ago, but Americans tend to think of it as some Eastern philosophical thing, and therefore, weird. It's neither. It comes in many forms.

Diversity Will Be A Given. With studies flying in the face of old white men (I'm an old white man) who want to seriously hold on to their power (human nature), diversity is being shown to be more productive and profitable. To me, it's always been painfully obvious. Diverse ideas, culturally and otherwise, contribute to an extension to the existing ways of doing things, thereby offering new and possibly more effective tools. As a musical artist, if life imitates art and vice versa, I shouldn't have to explain further. Except to add that we're all going to have to trust each other a whole lot more. Xenophobia has no place in this modern shrinking world. Every major obstacle or advancement is becoming a global issue. Join the dialogue.

Green Will Be The Norm. Before it becomes a lawful necessity, we're going to see a greater and greater number of businesses, large and small, leaning towards or fully adopting green policies. As discussed by Bill Gates and author Steven Pinker, corporations who don't at least act like they care about their impact on the planet are being shunned by much of the population. It seems to me that the power of the people is much greater than folks seem to be noticing. Non-GMO, no high fructose corn syrup, organic and free range food; All of these were fringe ideas until very recently. Profit motivation in these areas... and the same is happening with greenness... drove companies to respond. Even fast food is trying to be healthy! As more people realize that our damages to the Earth are also self-inflicted, and therefore are a worldwide health concern, they'll begin to insist more loudly that we do something different. Businesses very much dislike any government telling them what to do, especially in the United States. It will behoove them, therefore, to begin the process of change of their own accord. In so many areas, we're part of the way there. And many huge American corporations have already begun the shift. Look at GM. It was foresight and profit motive that drove them.

Education Will Take On New Meaning. As we discover that "educate" doesn't mean "to cram full of," but "to lead out, open up, and draw outwards," we'll see this realization combine with wholly new needs for job and life training. As predicted by author Yuval Noah Harari: communication, creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking will be more necessary to education. His prediction is more towards 2050, but considering he wasn't the only one thinking about these questions, I'm guessing it'll begin to gain more relevance now that he's brought it up in a couple best-sellers. And his opening of the dialogue has probably made more people like myself comfortable with bringing it up. Thanks Yuval.

We'll See More "Leveling" Of The Economy. That one's easy. Every 18 months or so, throughout our nation's modern history, we've seen the economy fluctuate up or down. We have a boom followed by a recession (or vice versa, depending on how empty or full your glass), about every year and a half. I would guess (and hope) that this next dip will be minor. As far as this amateur economist sees, people are getting cautious. With the tariff thing and a balanced (aka stalemated) government, most Americans aren't going to be wanting to take great risks for awhile yet. By the time they're ready, we'll have tipped into a slowdown. Then, you know, it'll go back up again. Buy bonds. And remember my first prediction. Now, I'm off to open my new music dojo, and will continue to get up every morning and get to work, just as I've done for 30+ years. I'm telling you; Find a purpose and get to work. It just keeps getting better. If I knew then what I know now...

Peace and music, Phil Circle

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