Futurize Y’our Health and Wellbeing
How to empower yourself to flourish and thrive in a fast-changing and challenging world
This webinar by Tom Meyers was presented on December 8, 2021, at the Future of Work (FOW) Summit.
The next 5 to 15 years will bring more change than the previous 100 years. These changes will have major implications for every aspect of y’our life, y’our work and y’our health and wellbeing. How will you cope, knowing that, without a doubt, these changes and challenges will, for example, further increase stress levels, when stress is already considered one of the biggest health problems worldwide? The “how” will depend on how you futurize yourself in a way that best suits and assures y’our health and wellbeing today. On the decisions and choices you make and the actions you take to create a GREAT future for yourself and others.
(Reviewed and corrected by Graham Buik)
Good afternoon. And what an honour it is to be part of the Future of Work Summit 2021. And the future of work looks bright — that is, if you believe the statistics of The World Economic Forum, as they predict that by 2025, only 85 million jobs will be lost due to automation. But that, at the same time, 97 million new jobs will be created thanks to the robot revolution. Excellent!
So if you are worried about the future of work… don’t be, as more jobs are being created than are lost and thus a great future lies ahead for us all — or so it seems.
Unless you look at and believe some other sources, who estimate that by 2030 more changes are expected than in the previous 100 years, disrupting between 800 million and 2 billion jobs due to emerging technologies, automation, robotisation, digitisation, datafication and, not to be forgotten, climate change. Changes that will make what we have experienced over the past 22 months look like a picnic in the park.
Who to believe? It doesn’t really matter. I’m sure that you, just like me, have come to realise that the world is changing fast. And that we tend to underestimate the rate of change and are inclined to play down the effects of change on our lives, health, well-being, and work.
However, what I think does matter, and what I want to draw your attention to, is whether or not you’ll be ready to navigate the changes ahead, for y’our future? Or will you leave it all up to chance: Que sera, sera?
OK, I’m not here to talk about the future of work, nor whether there are plenty of jobs to go around, or whether the job you are doing now is on the chopping block or not. There are many other more experienced speakers at this summit who will address these topics. However, what I do want to talk about is change. I want to talk about how to navigate the changes ahead and ensure that the changes you are going to experience will not be detrimental to your health and wellbeing.
In other words, I want to talk about why you should Futurize Yourself in a way that best suits and assures y’our health and wellbeing. Or, as I like to put it “Futurize Yourself in function of y’our health and wellbeing.” I want to empower you to be resilient enough for the demands of tomorrow — as my biggest wish is that you are able to flourish in the flow of evolution and thrive in this fast-changing world.
I want to do this because, personally and professionally, I’m very concerned about the future of your health and wellbeing in this fast-changing world, and especially the current lack of consideration of how you will cope with the increasing stress levels that all these changes, challenges and opportunities will bring about, while stress is already considered one of the biggest health problems worldwide.
Stress and I see this in my practice every day, is directly or indirectly linked to neck, shoulder and back pain, heart disease, cancer, dementia, obesities and, yes, also COVID-19. But that is not all! Stress is also linked to mental health problems including anxiety and depression, insomnia, mood changes, memory problems, learning difficulties, and impaired resilience and adaptability.
Very disconcerting, too, is the fact that, over time, stress can change the size of your brain. I’m not kidding. As stress changes blood circulation, this can actually lead to structural changes in your brain. For example, long-term stress can lead to an increased size of the amygdala, the key player in processing fear, while other parts of the brain like the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex actually shrink. And I do mean reduce in volume.
Knowing that the hippocampus is related to memory and the prefrontal cortex is responsible for cognition, planning, decision-making and anticipation, I’m sure that you — just like me — can figure out and deduce some of the consequences this will have on you and surely imagine that, for example, thinking about the future in a constructive way will be challenging if not impossible.
Your outdated stress response, which is very good at dealing with physical threats, hasn’t evolved to deal with the new more psychosocial and technological challenges of today, and for sure it won’t evolve fast enough for the demands of tomorrow.
This conflict means that, as I see it, the stress response has become a stressor itself and a nuisance to your health and wellbeing. So I hope you understand why I’m very concerned about how you will cope and deal with all the changes and challenges ahead that will, without a doubt, increase your stress levels even further.
Is there a solution? Can you evolve on purpose and become more resilient for the changes of tomorrow? Well, I wouldn’t be here talking to you if I didn’t think that was possible
But it will depend on your mindset and the decisions, choices and actions you take, going forward.
A new, more proactive and futures-oriented mindset is needed to avoid letting this fast-changing world become harmful to your health, your wellbeing and your future.
A wise man once said: you cannot solve your problems with the same thinking that created them. And that is exactly what needs to happen: we need to adopt a new way to respond to the problems of tomorrow.
Human evolution has been driven to respond to immediate physical threats, but now that our environment is evolving faster than we are and the threats to our existence have changed, our body’s natural reaction to danger — led by the stress response that prepares you for fight-and-flight — doesn’t protect or prepare you for the challenges of tomorrow.
For the challenges of tomorrow, we need to learn and implement on purpose a new, more proactive stress management approach that prepares us for tomorrow’s situations ahead of time by taking responsibility for our future rather than turning a blind eye to it or waiting for things to unfold.
You have the potential to learn and develop this proactive futures mindset.
You can learn and develop it through exploring y’our future on purpose, predicting what will change or not change, creating scenarios for y’our future, envisioning what you want and don’t want, and then “changing forward” by taking the decisions, choices and actions needed to create the future you want into an ongoing reality. I call this process “Futurizing Yourself”.
Proactively and on purpose incorporating futures thinking into your decisions, choices and actions to “change forward” and create a GREAT future for y’ourself.
When I say “for y’ourself” and “y’our”, I mean for you and others. Because, in our increasingly interconnected and interdependent world, your choices will also have an impact on others, and vice versa, more than ever before.
Why will this help you evolve on purpose? Well, because the way you see the future will influence the way you act, and as you act, so you will become.
Dear participants of the Future of Work Summit, the future doesn’t just happen. Unlike the past — which has come and gone — the future is always in the making and is being created “right here, right now” with every decision and choice you make and through the actions you take.
The future of work, your future and the future of humanity is about human transformation, and what is needed to cope and navigate this fast-changing world is to have a proactive mindset to unlock your potential within — before it is needed.
So I ask you: what kind of future do you want to have? Or, as I like to put it: “What the future do you want?” Do you want to be ready for the future, the workforce of tomorrow and ready to be able to navigate the changes ahead and have a GREAT future?
And by a “GREAT” future I mean:
- A GOOD future…
- A GOOD future…
- A future where you are RESILIENT not only in body, mind and spirit but also able to adapt and navigate all the changes ahead…
- A future where you EVOLVE and grow into the best version of yourself…
- An ACTIONABLE future where your actions lead you to flourish and thrive…
- A future that TRANSCENDS your limiting beliefs, serves the greater good and future generations.
Then you’ll want to become very good at futurizing yourself.
Start to take time to zoom out and explore the future from a broader perspective. Ask yourself: what the future do I want? Explore how emerging technologies, climate change, datafication, automation and robotisation will impact you and the people around you.
Create scenarios of the future and see what you can and need to do, learn and implement, going forward, to navigate the changes and challenges ahead.
And make sure to mind your body before your body reminds you! In other words: take enough time to proactively manage your health and wellbeing, which are key to your success and a GREAT future.
It’s not the past or the present but the future that has become the key to thriving and flourishing in this fast-changing world. As, without a future, there is no meaning and purpose to life.
And remember the future is built on the decisions and choices you make, the actions you take or don’t take, and the time you have left to make a difference.
Dear participants of the Future of Work Summit, the next 5 to 10 years will bring more change than the previous 100 years. These changes will have major implications for every aspect of y’our life, y’our work and y’our health and wellbeing.
How you will cope with all of these changes, challenges and increased stress levels — well, that will depend on how well you have futurized yourself in function of y’our health and wellbeing.
- Adopting a proactive mindset;
- Zooming out and spending time exploring and creating future scenarios;
- Incorporating futures thinking by aligning your decisions, choices and actions with the future you want or don’t want;
- And make sure to mind your body before your body reminds you.
Remember the way you see the future will influence the way you act, and as you act, so you will become. The future doesn’t just happen; it is created through your decisions, choices and actions. The future of your health and wellbeing is in your hands: make it a GREAT one! Make it a GREAT one starting today. Your future self and future generations will thank you for it.
It just remains for me to say: Enjoy the rest of this summit.
Connect with me if you want to learn more about futurizing yourself, to share your thoughts or just for a chat.
Be good to y’ourself, be good to y’our future, always.
Thank you — Teşekkürler.
Tom Meyers (Belgium) is an osteopath M.Sc., D.O. OSD, body-centred stress coach with more than 15 years of experience. His research is based on a novel body-mind and educational hands-on health approach he coined the “Reaset Approach”. Tom is also a forward thinker, wellbeing futurist, space enthusiast, TEDx organiser, author of Futurize Yourself — Design your life on purpose and the founder of the Futurize Y’ourself Network. Tom’s mission, for the greater good of all, is to empower people to flourish and for organisations to thrive in a fast-changing, uncertain, and challenging world by helping them to futurize themselves in function of their health and wellbeing with resolve and on purpose.