Imaginable – Productivity Book Group

Productivity Book Group [ ] discussed Imaginable: How to See the Future Coming and Feel Ready for Anything—Even Things That Seem Impossible Today [ ] by Jane McGonigal, PhD. Enjoy the discussion!

The Amazon book description states:

* 2023 Nautilus Book Award Winner: Rising to the Moment: Gold *

World-renowned future forecaster, game designer, and New York Times bestselling author Jane McGonigal gives us the tools to imagine the future without fear. 

“An accessible, optimistic field guide to the future.”—San Francisco Chronicle 

“Reading this book is like sitting down with a creative, optimistic friend—and getting up as a new version of yourself.”—Daniel H. Pink, New York Times bestselling author of When 

The COVID-19 pandemic, increasingly frequent climate disasters, a new war—events we might have called “unimaginable” or “unthinkable” in the past are now reality. Today it feels more challenging than ever to feel unafraid, hopeful, and equipped to face the future with optimism. How do we map out our lives when it seems impossible to predict what the world will be like next week, let alone next year or next decade? What we need now are strategies to help us recover our confidence and creativity in facing uncertain futures.

In Imaginable, Jane McGonigal draws on the latest scientific research in psychology and neuroscience to show us how to train our minds to think the unthinkable and imagine the unimaginable. She invites us to play with the provocative thought experiments and future simulations she’s designed exclusively for this book, with the goal to: 

  1. Build our collective imagination so that we can dive into the future and envision, in surprising detail, what our lives will look like ten years from now
  2. Develop the courage and vision to solve problems creatively
  3. Take actions and make decisions that will help shape the future we desire
  4. Access “urgent optimism,” an unstoppable force within each of us that activates our sense of agency

Imaginable teaches us to be fearless, resilient, and bold in realizing a world with possibilities we cannot yet imagine—until reading this transformative, inspiring, and necessary book.

Our next reading selection is:

6/26/2024Solving the Procrastination Puzzle: A Concise Guide to Strategies for ChangeTimothy A. Pychyl, PhD

Show Notes:

(Please listen to understand the context of the resources provided. If we missed something, please comment on the episode and let us know!)

Episodic Future Thinking
The group got into the discussion with this concept called “episodic future thinking” from Jane McGonigal’s book “Imaginable.” It’s all about mentally prepping yourself for challenges, setting goals, and building resilience when things change. Raymond compared it to Gabriele Oettingen’s “WOOP” strategy for anticipating obstacles when pursuing goals.

Creating Future Scenarios
They explored McGonigal’s idea of creating simulations or scenarios to envision potential future outcomes. Raymond related it to mental practice in sports, where purposefully picturing different drills can improve game performance.

Overall Reflections
Overall, the crew liked the future scenarios McGonigal explored, reflecting on their own experiences with forecasting and how tech is reshaping society.

Future Forecasting
Raymond emphasized considering future changes when tackling work or life projects, stressing the need for creative thinking and tangible outcomes to feel satisfied. He suggested printing out a client’s digital report to have that physical sense of accomplishment. Quoting from the book, he encouraged being playful when brainstorming future possibilities and preparing for seemingly unthinkable changes.

Adapting to Technological Changes
He illustrated how tech has transformed daily activities like grocery shopping, driving home the point that people need to anticipate and embrace these kinds of changes. He used the evolution of payment methods at checkout as an example of remarkable tech-driven progress.

Scenario Planning
The group explored scenario planning using the premise of an asteroid headed for Earth as an example. Raymond emphasized looking at potentially catastrophic events that could impact families, highlighting major life milestones as opportunities for bonding and collaboration.

Social Implications of Cash Payments
When discussing a scenario where people receive $2000 but have to give away half, it sparked thoughts about the societal implications surrounding cash payments and fostering a sense of community beyond one’s immediate circle by helping others.

Science Fiction & Future Thinking
The convo expanded into how science fiction inspires future thinking, with references to Star Trek’s ideas like handheld communicators connecting distant places or voice-controlled computer assistants providing info.

Adapting to Change
He discussed the concept of identifying “signals of change” or clues about impending changes to spark curiosity and enable proactive forecasting. Raymond related this to his own use of productivity tools like Notion Calendar as indicators for optimizing scheduling efficiency.

Future Forces Planning
Expanding on one of McGonigal’s principle of “future forces,” Raymond emphasized identifying external forces expected to impact lives over the next decade – both exciting positive developments and potential risks to prepare for.

Practicing Hard Empathy
The discussion turned to “hard empathy” and applying it individually, similar to GTD practices. Raymond suggested tapping into empathetic qualities could boost performance. He reflected on book scenarios addressing population growth and environmental challenges, expressing interest in creating local mechanisms to welcome new residents into his neighborhood and tackle these global issues locally.

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And with that, thanks, everyone for listening to Productivity Book Group.

I’m Ray Sidney-Smith. Here’s to your productive life!

Note: All registered service marks, trademarks and other copyrighted materials mentioned on the podcast are that of their respective owners. This group is not affiliated with or officially endorsed by those copyright owners.

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