Reporter or Forecaster?


Do you primarily think and talk about the past or the future?

The evening news is filled with reporters talking about what has already happened.  But one of the most popular segments is the weather forecast, which primarily speculates on what may happen in the future.  All provide information that shapes how we see the world.

So which are you in your work and personal life?  A reporter of past events or a forecaster of things to come?   Naturally, we all do both to some extent but I find that people tend to focus more in one direction than the other, either forward or backwards.

I believe those that focus on the past tend to be the least likely to accept or embrace control over the direction of their lives, including their careers and relationships.  They can, and often do, report in great detail about what has already happened to them.  They may also often discuss how many things they believe are done “to them” over which they have no control.  They may often portray themselves as victims of circumstance and be genuinely confused about why success evades them.

Those that look ahead, even if they do it poorly, are usually steering themselves somewhere.  They are the ones setting goals, making plans and (most of the time) doing the things necessary to reach these destinations.

Does this fit within our theme of effective communication?  Sure!  Have you decided there are ways you want to be more effective interacting with others?  Do you want to be more effective at work?  Have balanced, warm relationships?  Okay, if so, what are you doing about it?  Setting future goals or simply bemoaning the past?

Understanding which is your current view of the “news” of your world can help you have empathy and understand others, whether they share your view or not.  If you understand how others see and interact with the world, you can tailor your messages to be more easily understood.

In addition, if you surround yourself with more people that work to the future and fewer that report on the past, you will find momentum in your efforts.



About the Author

Glenn S. Phillips works with leaders who want to leverage technology and understand risks within. An author and blogger, Glenn is often quoted in national media, plays a really ugly tuba (it even has a bullet hole) and is a fan of dark chocolate and great puns.