First published in gemMAN magazine (October-November 2012 Edition)
Over a hundred years ago, there was a certain company that was the first on everyone’s lips when it came to capturing precious moments. Though there were other firms back then, Eastman Kodak was the name in photography. The company flourished, bossed the photography market and enjoyed a positive image around the world.
Fast forward to 1986, some experts began to do a series of international lectures to alert photo processing companies that the end was nigh for film and analogue photography. It sounded partly ridiculous at the time; “there was always going to be film and business would go on,” was the belief of the company executives. Although they somehow saw it coming, Kodak failed to change. Today, billions and billions of photos are captured on phones and digital cameras, and the name Kodak is seldom seen. Ironically, some of the most popular phone applications are designed to make pictures look like they were taken by old film cameras using Kodachrome film.
The question is: did things just change in the late ‘90’s or in the new millennium? No, the change actually began in 1986 even though it wasn’t evident at the time and that was what affected Kodak. They simply neglected to heed the words of Stephen Covey who said, “Begin with the end in mind.” They neglected a key principle and their story has a bearing on the main subject in this article – FORESIGHT.
Foresight is different things to different people; some view it as being anticipatory, others see it as predicting what the future would be like. They are not wrong; in essence, foresight is basically about acting today to shape and change tomorrow. It is about envisioning and working towards a possible future. If Kodak had not been so comfortable in their own skin and had envisaged that the digital revolution would eventually transform the photography industry, they would have prepared for it. They did not, and as a result, the pioneer became a struggler.
Now, this does not just apply to businesses but also our lives as human beings. Some people live for the day alone, without any sense of purpose or direction. Some others, when faced with difficulties, decide to reminisce and dream about past glories instead on working towards a future that could be greater. Even spiritually, some focus on the temporal; on miracles, signs and wonders, instead of eternity. A lot of men simply go through the motions, oblivious of present patterns that will probably have a part to play in their future. This should not be the case; though we have no power over the future, it wouldn’t be out of place to prepare or work towards it. We should also note that anticipating the future is different from harbouring feelings of anxiety over it.
How do we develop foresight? One clear path to doing this is to align with the only one who knows the future – God (oh yeah I believe so!). Is your vision of the future different from the one God has planned for you? Stop, and have a rethink. Listen. Make sure your plans are in line with His will for your life, business or anything else you have in mind. Now, don’t misconstrue my connection of faith and success as a permission to slack off; the God I serve expects you to work your ass off even while working things out for your good!
That’s not all. Do not become so comfortable in the present that you forget that there is a future. Be observant of current trends around you and try adapting to situations that will leave you better placed in future. If you have to study more, do so; if you have to travel, do so; if you have to serve as an apprentice, please do!. Really successful people are those that anticipate where they want to be tomorrow and start working towards it today.
Some people thrive; others survive, in some way – just as the homeless manage to survive in some way. But is that good enough for you? If you aspire to do something great, can you make it happen? You have to believe in it, invest in it, and work towards it to make it happen. Can you do that?