Chapter 2. Personal Foresight - Becoming an Effective Self-Leader

Practice and Expertise – 10,000 Hours and More

Foresight careers typically advance fastest not only with courage, good ethics and character, but also with role specialization and persistence. The longer you can stay in one type of foresight work, and engage daily with its challenges, the sooner you’ll get through the steep part of the learning curve into mastery. Those who study expert performance say it takes lots of intense, structured practice, with high-quality feedback, to become excellent at anything. To get really good, your practice should regularly take you to the point of failure, so you can find your limits, and then exceed them.

Better get started!

Ten thousand hours, or ten years of full-time effort is one commonly cited figure for the price of career expertise, a number popularized by journalist Malcolm Gladwell in Outliers (2011). Since Gladwell’s book, further research with musicians and chess players has shown that practice, in these two occupations at least, accounts for only a third of the variance in performance. Talent, luck, and especially the kind of effort we make also matter. So the 10,000 hour “rule” is better understood as a guideline. Until we have the behavioral science training platforms we need, committing to count and put time into practice is a great place to start, and is one of the easiest things we can control.

When you practice, make sure at least some of your practice is difficult and intense, practice in which you can fail, at least a bit. Consider athletic performance. In many competitive sports, coaches have their athletes do high-intensity interval training (short bursts of maximum effort, followed by full heart rate recoveries) at least once a week. But unless we are being coached, most of us shy away from this kind of training. Why? It takes no more time, just more mental effort than an ordinary workout. Also, the recoveries will occasionally be harder and longer, because when we push ourselves to our limits, even briefly, we sometimes fail. Muscles tear a bit, we need to heal, and change up our exercise routines while we heal. But according to a small number of studies since 2000, that failure, and the healing, may be just as important as the stress to improving things like heart rate variability, general cardiovascular and respiratory fitness, mood, and immune function. See Loehr and Schwartz, The Power of Full Engagement (2005) for details.

Greene (2013)

Greene (2013)

Practice in which you regularly fail and in which your mistakes are reviewed by experts and mentors, remains one of the surest and most controllable routes to excellence, regardless of other personal and environmental factors. Gaining such experience usually (but not always!) happens much more intensely and quickly via the right group than alone, and can be one of the greatest benefits of working in a firm versus working as an independent practitioner. Of course, if you are creating something new that goes against received wisdom, group practice can sometimes hold you back. In general though, open minded mentors and organizations, and the right kind of practice environment will provide a motivational structure to push you to practice harder and more intelligently than you ever would on your own.

For a wealth of practical ideas on how to build expertise via structured practice, mentorship, and self-understanding, you might start with Robert Greene’s excellent Mastery, 2013. It is Greene’s fifth book on various forms of expertise, and his facility at explaining expert performance shows in this mature (well-practiced) work. We also recommend Daniel Coyle’s The Talent Code: Greatness isn’t Born, It’s Grown, Here’s How (2009) and Geoff Colvin’s, Talent is Overrated (2010). If you want to explore the academic research, see Anders Eriksson’s Development of Professional Expertise (2009). Eriksson’s work is the original source of the 10,000 hour “rule,” and a rich trove of studies and data on expert performance.

In sum, greatness can be born or made, natured or nurtured. Both routes work, and any combination thereof. Either way, deep mastery of anything requires the right environment, lots of deliberate, difficult practice, and the appropriate challenges to emerge. Good luck, and may your most useful masteries arrive early and stay for a lifetime!

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Table of Contents


Chapter 2. Personal Foresight – Becoming an Effective Self-Leader

Chapter 2: Personal Foresight

Becoming an Effective Self-Leader

Chapter 4. Models – Foundations for Organizational Foresight

Chapter 4: Models

Foundations for Organizational Foresight

Chapter 7. Acceleration – Guiding Our Extraordinary Future

Chapter 7: Acceleration

Guiding Our Extraordinary Future (In Process)

II. Global Progress: 5 Goals, 10 Values, Many Trends

Innovation: Our Abundant Future
Intelligence: Our Augmented Future
Interdependence: Our Civil Future
Immunity: Our Protected Future
Sustainability: Our Rebalanced Future

III. Universal Accelerating Change

Great Race to Inner Space: Our Surprising Future
Entropy&Information: We’re Running Down & Up
The Puzzle of Meaning: We Have No Einstein Yet
Trees, Funnels & Landscapes: Intro to Evo Devo
Big Picture Change: Five Scales of Accelerating ED
Transcension Hypothesis: Where Acceleratn Ends?
IDABDAK: Social Response to Accel & Developmnt
We’re On a Runaway Train: Being Accelaware

IV. Evo Devo and Exponential Foresight

Seeing It All: Accel., Diverg, Adapt, Convrg, Decel.
Natural (I4S) Innovation: The Evolutionary Drive
Natural (I4S) Intelligence: The Human-AI Partnership
Natural (I4S) Morality: Why Empathy and Ethics Rule
Natural (I4S) Security: Strength from Disruption
Natural (I4S) Sustainability: The Developmental Drive
S-Curves: Managing the Four Constituencies
Pain to Gain: Traversing the Three Kuznets Phases
Hype to Reality: Beyond Hype Cycles to Reality Checks
Exponentials Database: Measuring Accelerations
TINA Trends: Societal Evolutionary Development
Managing Change: STEEPCOP Events, Probs, Ideas
A Great Shift: A Survival to a Sentient Economy

V. Evo Devo and Exponential Activism

Building Protopias: Five Goals of Social Progress
Normative Foresight: Ten Values of Society
Top & STEEPCOP Acceleratns: Positive & Negative
Dystopias, Risks, and Failure States
Three Levels of Activism: People, Tech & Universe
A Great Opportunity: Exponential Empowerment


Chapter 8. Your Digital Self – The Human Face of the Coming Singularity

Chapter 8: Your Digital Self

The Human Face of the Coming Singularity (In Process)

I. Your Personal AI (PAI): Your Digital Self

Digital Society: Data, Mediation, and Agents
Personal AIs: Advancing the Five Goals
PAI Innovation: Abundance and Diversity
PAI Intelligence: Bio-Inspired AI
PAI Morality: Selection and Groupnets
PAI Security: Safe Learning Agents
PAI Sustainability: Science and Balance
The Human Face of the Coming Singularity

II. PAI Protopias & Dystopias in 8 Domains

1. Personal Agents: News, Ent., Education
2. Social Agents: Relat. and Social Justice
3. Political Agents :  Activism & Represent.
4. Economic Agents:  Retail, Finance, Entrep
5. Builder Agents :  Work, Innov. & Science
6. Environ. Agents : Pop. and Sustainability
7. Health Agents :  Health, Wellness, Death
8. Security Agents :  Def., Crime, Corrections

III. PAI Activism & Exponential Empowerment

Next Government: PAIs, Groupnets, Democ.
Next Economy: Creat. Destr. & Basic Income
Next Society: PAI Ent., Mortality & Uploading
What Will Your PAI Contribution Be?

Chapter 10. Startup Ideas – Great Product & Service Challenges for Entrepreneurs

Chapter 10: Startup Ideas

Great Product and Service Challenges for Entrepreneurs (In Process)

I. 4U’s Idea Hub: Building Better Futures

Air Deliveries and Air Taxis: Finally Solving Urban Gridlock
Ballistic Shields and Gun Control: Protecting Us All from Lone Shooters
Bioinspiration Wiki: Biomimetics and Bio-Inspired Design
Brain Preservation Services: Memory and Mortality Redefined
Carcams: Document Thieves, Bad Driving, and Bad Behavior
Competition in Govt Services: Less Corruption, More Innovation
Computer Adaptive Education (CAE): Better Learning and Training
Conversational Deep Learning Devsuites: Millions of AI Coders
Digital Tables: Telepresence, Games, Entertainment & Education
Dynaships: Sustainable Low-Speed Cargo Shipping
Electromagnetic Suspension: Nausea-Free Working & Reading in Cars
Epigenetic Health Tests: Cellular Aging, Bad Diet, Body Abuse Feedback
Fireline Explosives and Ember Drones: Next-Gen Fire Control
Global English: Empowering the Next Generation of Global Youth
Greenbots: Drone Seeders and Robotic Waterers for Mass Regreening
High-Density Housing and Zoning: Making Our Cities Affordable Again
Highway Enclosures and Trail Networks: Green and Quiet Urban Space
Inflatable Packaging: Faster and Greener Shipping and Returns
Internet of Families: Connecting People Over Things
Kidcams: Next-Gen Security for Child Safety and Empowerment
Kidpods: Indoor & Outdoor Parent-Assistive Toyboxes
Microdesalination: Democratizing Sustainable Fresh Water Production
Noise Monitors: Documenting and Reducing Noise Pollution
Oceanside Baths: Sustainable Year Round Beach Enjoyment
Open Blood Scanners: DIY Citizen Health Care Sensor Tech
Open Streaming Radio: User-Centered Audio Creation and Rating
Open Streaming Video: User-Centered Video Creation and Rating
Open Values Filters: Social Rankers, Arg. Mappers, and Consensus Finders
Personal AIs: Your Private Advisor, Activist, and Interface to the World
Pet Empowerment: Next-Gen Rights and Abilities for Our Domestic Animals
Safe Closets: Fire-, Earthquake-, and Intruder-Proof Retreat Spaces
Safe Cars: Reducing Our Insane 1.3M Annual Auto Deaths Today
Safe Motorcycles: Lane Splitting in Gridlock Without Risk of Death
Shared Value Insurance: User-Centered Risk Reduction Services
Sleeperbuses and Microhotels: Demonetized Intercity Travel
Space-Based Solar Power: Stratellite Powering and Weather Management
Stratellites: Next-Gen Urban Broadband, Transparency, and Security
Touch DNA: Next-Gen Home Security and Crime Deterrence
View Towers: Improving Urban Walkability, Inspiration, and Community

Chapter 11. Evo Devo Foresight – Unpredictable and Predictable Futures

Chapter 11: Evo Devo Foresight

Unpredictable and Predictable Futures

Appendix 1. Peer Advice – Building a Successful Foresight Practice