The Power of Anticipation

Joan F. Marques - MBA, Doctoral Student
Burbank, California

Expect the best, plan for the worst, and prepare to be surprised. -- Denis Waitley

We are all familiar with the motions of life: One day you're up, another day you're down. If only you read the newspapers, you experience it. If only you look in the mirror, you see it. If only you get up in the morning, you know what I'm talking about. We all have mood swings. And so, apparently, does our economy, our life cycle, our entire world.

A few weeks ago, the local newspaper (Daily News, San Fernando Valley, CA) was reporting that the unemployment rate had "reached an eight-year high of 6%", but recently I read that it increasingly looks better, and that Cal State Long Beach even reports that they "are going to look back on (the recent slowdown) as a cycle that was very, very mild compared to the early 90s". Both articles were representing the truth, one from a glass-is-half-empty point of view, and the other from a glass-is-half-full perspective. And, in hindsight, we can conclude that it is not all that bad a situation these days ?unless, of course, you're on the receiving end of the lay-off cycle.

It seems that maintaining our sanity in today's world depends on our perspicacity and our ability to anticipate the increasing spiral of changes. It's almost frightening what's happening around us. The rate of change is speeding up to a fear-provoking level; like a song that starts out mellow, but takes off in rhythm as it proceeds, until it reaches a crescendo like an out of control piece of the hardest rock you've ever heard. Take computers: wasn't it just yesterday that a 1 gig hard drive was top of the line and top of the possibilities, and now, we're easily talking hundreds of gigs in one single processor!

So, if change is developing like a fast-forwarding movie in front of weary eyes, what is the secret of keeping up with it? Because, unfortunately, the other side of the coin is, that we have to deal with the fact that the changes in our species are not happening THAT fast. We are physically the same creature today as we were 10, 100, or even 1000, years ago, and our evolution only happens in millions of years. So, will this, then, mean that we're racing toward a crash? Or is there a possibility for us to anticipate? And how do we do that?

The only acceptable reasoning I could come up with is, expecting the unexpected, and not thinking linear anymore. Never, ever, ever again. For "nothing sets a person up more than having something turn out just the way it's supposed to be, like falling into a Swiss snowdrift and seeing a big dog come up with a little cask of brandy round its neck." (Claud Cockburn ) Forecasts? Take note of them, but don't accept them as given, for they have been known more to be misleading than to result in reality. Accountant-reports? They are statements of the past. Economical analyses? They calculate what's happening today based on the past: and they come up with the most contradicting outcomes. Ever compared one economical perspective with a few others? If you want to have a frustrating day, do that! Financial overviews? They try to detect trends for the future based on the past and on the current situation: in a linear, and hence, obsolete, way. The power that will keep your head above the rapid stream of developments is, the power of anticipation. And with anticipation comes an infinite amount of flexibility.

Whether anticipation can be perceived as no. 1 on the list or not, it sure hits the top-ten in importance for leaders! Every leader with intentions to maintain his/her position for years to come knows this much: the only certainty is uncertainty; the only constant is change; the only guarantee is the full surprise of tomorrow; and the only way to deal with every possible tomorrow is to anticipate.

How shallow is, therefore, the act of mentally attaching oneself to whatever one's current status may be. Moreover, how superficial is the act of judging anyone on appearances. How ultimately narrow-minded is consequently the process of underestimating any living creature, since "you can't expect a person to see eye to eye with you when you're looking down on him." (Best of Bits and Pieces)

How shortsighted are also our attempts to control our fate. How thoughtless is our attitude of arrogance, captured in a swollen ego, and how preposterous, on the other hand, is excessive fear.

So, what are the essentials then? Here goes: Anticipate! And become a full part of life's flow. Anticipate! And be prepared for everything. Anticipate! And guarantee your mental growth. Anticipate! And become strong. "For, he that expects nothing shall not be disappointed, but he that expects much -- if he lives and uses that in hand day by day -- shall be full to running over." (Edgar Cayce)


Bits and Pieces (1999). Best of Bits and Pieces, [On-line]. Cyber Nation International, Inc. Available: .html [2002, May, 19].
Cayce, E. (1999). Edgar Cayce, [On-line]. Cyber Nation International, Inc. Available: [2002, May 19].
Cockburn, C. (1999). Claud Cockburn, [On-line]. Cyber Nation International, Inc. Available: l [2002, May 19, 2002].
Cox, J. (2002, Thursday, May 16). Area job outlook is good. Daily News, pp.1-2.
Hopkins, B. (2002, Saturday, May 4, 2002). 8.59 million now jobless - Unemployment rate climbs to 6%. Daily News, pp. 1 3.
Waitley, D. (1999). Denis Waitley. Cyber Nation International, Inc. Available: [2002, May 19].