Anticipating the future vs. predicting the future

by MPA08 Mar 2016
Take a look at the financial news. Whether it's on TV, in the newspaper, or on the Internet, you'll notice that reports in this sector aren't covering just what's happening right now in the markets. Instead, most of the focus tends to be on the future. You can rarely hear a story on the markets without a prediction of where they're headed. In a way, it makes sense--that's what people are interesting in knowing about.

The problem with predictions is that nobody knows the future and so many of us turn out to be wrong. For people who rely on these predictions to make decisions for their businesses, this can create a large amount of skepticism. Why bother following the news and trying to figure out where the market is going if everyone is just guessing? No one knows the future, so why even think about it?

I like to think of it this way: we shouldn't necessary predict the future, but we should anticipate it. In other words, we should never "put our eggs all in one basket" when we hear a prediction. We should continue to keep our options open. But, if we're going to make good decisions, we have to know what those options are likely to be. We can't ignore the future. We have to consider where things might go, even if we cannot know for sure. It's like the weather. If you think there's a possibility  that it might rain, you bring an umbrella--but that doesn't mean that you have to put on your poncho before even looking out the window.


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