What advice would your future self give you?

What advice would your future self give you?

What advice would your future self give you?

You can time travel.

In twenty years you find out you can come back and give yourself some advice. But you don’t have long. The machine can only keep you in the past for a minute.

What do you say?

Ignore, for a moment, the possibility of time paradoxes, and the sheer unlikeliness of time travel. Strip away the specifics: that relationship you should have dodged, next week’s lottery numbers. What would be the most common advice we would come back and give to our younger selves?

Here are some ideas:

Learn to learn

“The next twenty years are going to see change like never before. Keeping up is going to be a challenge, both at home and at work. Your best prospect for success is to be the fastest to adapt.

Learn to recognise the gaps in your skills and your knowledge and how to find the resources to fill them.”

Scepticism is your best defence

“The ability to broadcast information is growing much faster than your ability to verify it. You can’t rely on the sources you once could. There will be attempts to solve this with technology, but they will only ever be half an answer.

You need to learn to question everything you’re told and sold. Accept and challenge your own prejudices. Scepticism is your best defence: from salespeople, politicians, and yourself.”

Cling to your privacy

“People will tell you that data is the new oil. It isn’t. It’s the new prison.

The less control you have of your personal data, the more you are trapped in the expectations of others. Whether it’s brands and the things they want to sell you, insurers and their willingness to protect you, or employers and their willingness to hire you. Even friendships and relationships can be jeopardised by a digital history out of your control.

Don’t withdraw. Enjoy the advantages being offered in return for your data. But ensure you are informed and make every sharing decision consciously.”

What do you think you would say?


You can find more on these ideas in these posts:

Learn to learn faster

What to learn and teach for tomorrow’s world

Cling to your privacy



BTW, here’s me, time travelling…

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This article is by Tom Cheesewright. This post forms part of the Futurism series. For more posts on this subject, visit the Futurism page.

Tom Cheesewright


Futurist speaker Tom Cheesewright is one of the UK's leading commentators on technology and tomorrow. Tom has worked with a huge range of organisations across a variety of markets, to help them to see a clear vision of tomorrow, share that vision and respond with agility. Tom draws on his experience to create original, compelling talks that are keyed to the experience of the audience but which surprise and shock with unexpected facts and examples.

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