Josh Kaufman

Josh Kaufman is the bestselling author of books on business, entrepreneurship, skill acquisition, productivity, creativity, applied psychology, and practical wisdom. About Josh »

Don’t Make Predictions: Be Prepared for Anything

I was recently asked by Interesting Times , an online “self-help magazine for extreme people," to make some predictions for 2010. Here’s what I said…

I don’t make predictions - the universe is complex enough that anything can happen at any time, so planning for scenarios is far more useful than pretending to be a seer. Personally, I do what I can to ensure I’m flexible and resilient enough to handle whatever happens. Here’s what I’m doing:

​1. Paying down all outstanding debt, so no one has any outstanding claims on my work or time. In many ways, debt is slavery - throw off your shackles as quickly as you possibly can, and refuse to put them back on.

​2. Continuing my self-education. Knowledge is power, and a little reading and experimentation can go a very long way if you focus on learning economically valuable skills. Your local library or bookstore is a treasure trove of information that can improve your abilities in whatever you’re interested in - use it!

​3. Preparing for the unexpected. Investing in a home emergency / first aid kit, car kit, and extra resources like food and water isn’t paranoid - supplies like these are cheap insurance for the intelligent, particularly in the winter months. Same goes for actual insurance and savings for major risks. You may never need them, but you’ll be glad they’re there if you do.

​4. Building my reputation. The more people think I have something uniquely valuable to offer, the more secure I really am. The best way to build your reputation is to do things other people find useful, then encourage them to spread the word. The better your reputation, the more options you have to pursue.

​5. Ignoring the news. Seriously - 99.999% of the things you hear in the media are completely outside your sphere of influence or locus of control. The news media makes money by attracting attention, and nothing gets attention more than the rumor of imminent danger or threat. The only likely outcome of watching the news is that it’ll sap your attention and divert your energy from improving your situation to fretting about what the world’s coming to. Keep your attention on what you’re doing to build the life you want to live, and it’s only a matter of time before you get there.

What are you doing this year to improve your resilience and flexibility in a quickly changing world?

Read more essays by Josh Kaufman »
The Personal MBA
The First 20 Hours
How to Fight a Hydra