Have you ever found yourself looking ahead to the future with hope? Have you wistfully imagined what the future would hold or caught yourself daydreaming about what you want to happen? Maybe you and a partner have laid out your plans for the coming years, thinking about how you hope to buy a house, get a better job, or finally take that dream vacation. In fact, no matter what form your future planning takes, one thing is certain: imagining the future is a universal pasttime. Everybody does it! That’s because imagining the future fills us with hope and curiosity. We wonder who we will be and what our lives will look like. But have you ever thought about using the future as a tool for motivation?
Politicians and motivational speakers often employ this tool. But most of us tune them out or don’t take them to heart. That’s because we know they’re nothing more than empty promises. But the author observes that that doesn’t have to be the case for you! You can cultivate a genuine vision for the future and use that vision to inspire others. That’s the power of anticipation! And over the course of this summary, we’ll learn why anticipation is so powerful and how you can cultivate your vision for the future.
Chapter 1: What Makes a Great Vision?
Have you ever sat through a speech and felt as though the speaker was telling you something that was blatantly untrue? People commonly experience this feeling during presidential debates or while watching motivational weight-loss videos. And that’s because their feelings are usually spot-on! If someone doesn’t have a genuinely great vision, then they may add “fluff” to their speech, thinking that if it sounds nice, people will want to listen and believe them. That’s why the author’s first piece of advice is to avoid making that mistake! You can do so by constructing a great vision that comprises three crucial elements: logos, pathos, and ethos.
If you ever sat through a high-school debate or rhetoric class, you probably remember these terms. But let’s take a quick refresher course torecap what they mean. The Greek word “logos” is where we get our word “logic” and it means exactly what you think it does. So, that’s why the first component of any great vision is logic. Having a compelling emotional argument is wonderful, but unless that argument is built on sound logic, it will crumple in a heartbeat. So, let’s put that into practical application and consider how logic works in an argument. For example, maybe you’re promising your audience that you’re going to do something. Maybe you want to convince them to choose you for this important project or to elect you as student body president. In this case, you would use logic to create a clear and compelling roadmap that illustrates how you will accomplish your goals. When you apply logic to your argument, your audience should be able to make a clear connection that sounds something like, “A + B = C.” This might be a highly oversimplified example, but you get the idea! At the end of your speech, your audience should be able to identify what your goals are, what steps you will take to accomplish them, and how those goals add up to create the end result.
As you can see from this example, logos (or logic) is a helpful weapon in your arsenal because people want things to make sense. If people are going to put theor trust in you, they want to understand and believe that you will do what you say will do and that your vision is both realistic and possible. For example, even if you said it with all the confidence in the world, you wouldn’t be very successful if you said, “I’m going to send a unicorn to the moon!” No matter how much you believed in your argument and no matter how passionate you are, no one would support your vision. That, of course, is because your argument makes no sense. For starters, everyone knows that unicorns don’t exist in the first place. So, if you swear that you’re going to send a unicorn to the moon, you’d first have to accomplish the two massive hurdles of A) Somehow proving that unicorns exist, and B) Figuring out the logistics of sending one into space. And because both of these obstacles are logical impossibilities, you wouldn't have a very good chance of convincing anyone to believe you. So, in short, your argument needs to be logically sound so that it makes more sense than sending a unicorn to the moon.
But as helpful as logic is, it’s still only one part of your argument. Because even though logic makes things make sense, it doesn’t usually inspire people. After all, your tube of toothpaste provides clear and logical steps for how to brush your teeth. But no one has ever read their tube of toothpaste and said, “Woo-hoo! I’m so excited to go brush my teeth!” That’s because you also need an emotional appeal. And that’s where pathos comes in. Pathos is defined as the ability to appeal to someone’s emotions through an argument that is founded on an emotional response. So, in practice, an argument infused with pathos might sound something like, “We have to secure funding for the library because our children need access to books!” If you combined this appeal with logic, you might illustrate the necessary steps required to secure the funding and support your emotional argument with statistics which prove that reading is crucial to early childhood development. By using these tools together, your argument would tug at your audience’s heartstrings and show them why the funding is needed.
And last but not least, we come to ethos. Ethos is defined as the ethics of your argument and it is usually manifested through your personal credibility as a speaker. In short, ethos is important because it shows your audience why they should trust you and why your argument is valid. Ethos can come in many different forms. In some cases, it might be about your personal integrity as a speaker; if your listeners believe that you’re a good person, they will be more inclined to trust you. For example, let’s imagine that the founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, was a good and ethical person. (He isn’t, but we can pretend!) If he were an ethical person who believed in treating his employees fairly and paying the appropriate amount of taxes on his profits, people might be inclined to listen to his views on ethics. But what if, without making major changes to his company’s policies, he spoke at a conference about ethical treatment of your employees? Would anyone believe what he had to say? Would anyone trust or respect his word? Probably not!
But even of you’re not necessarily a good person, ethos can also be about your credibility to speak on a certain topic. To put that into perspective, ask yourself who is more qualified to give a speech on theintricacies of open heart surgery: a heart surgeon or a dog groomer who’s watched every episode of E.R? You’d probably feel more confident in the heart surgeon’s opinion, right? That’s why establishing your credibility as a speaker is crucial.
Chapter 2: Anticipating Trends
This book is called “anticipate.” But what does that really mean? What should you anticipate? Although we’ve talked about looking to the future and creating a strong vision, we haven’t yet unpacked the anticipation that remains a core ingredient of this book. The author believes that anticipating trends is a crucial skill for any aspiring visionary leader. Because if you want to succeed in today’s ever-evolving global marketplace, it’s not enough to simply be aware of the trends that currently exist. You must also have your finger on the pulse of society and be able to predict what’s coming next. But why is it so critical to be ahead of the game? The author observes that anticipation is vital because that quick thinking can save your company! It can also make you successful beyond your wildest dreams.
To put this into practice, let’s imagine that you have an idea at the same time as everybody else. For the sake of this hypothetical scenario, let’s say that the current trend is streaming music. Companies like Apple and Spotify predicted that this fad was on the rise and they got in front of it by developing music streaming platforms of their own. But you weren’t quite so aware, so you hopped on the bandwagon a little too late. So, when you design your own streaming platform, it’s not original and it’s not new. It’s just a third-rate competitor for Apple Music and Spotify. As a result, you’re unlikely to make enough to even cover your startup costs, much less turn a profit. So, your budding music company quickly fades from existence, along with your hopes, dreams, and self-esteem.
You don’t want that to be you! So, let’s imagine an alternate reality. Instead of jumping into the music streaming craze right as it’s taking off, you come in as it’s winding down. Streaming music is the norm now; there’s nothing new and exciting about it. The market is poised for a new trend andyou have a bright idea: what if, instead of just listening to your own music, you could share songs with your friends in real time? What if an app allowed you to see what anyone in the world was listening to and let you enjoy that song with them? By calling up your best friend’s profile or Lady Gaga’s, you can listen along and compare your music taste to that of anyone else in the world. You could discover new songs, tell your friends you love what they’re listening to, and curate a following who loves you for your favorite tunes! This could be the next new trend in music and you become successful because you anticipated it.
As you can see from these two examples, anticipation makes the difference between success and failure. And the key component is to stay ahead of your competitors by at least six to nine years. Because although the example described above is hypothetical, if your revolutionary music app took off, it would take some time for other people to catch up. By the time other companies did their market research, designed an app of their own, and dodged all the copyright issues, you would have established dominance on the market and built a base of loyal customers. That means that companies who later seek to capitalize on this trend are ultimately developing knock-offs of your hit idea!
Of course, that’s not to say that your idea will be foolproof or that you will be able to plan for all eventualities. Because your idea is ultimately being conceptualized and implemented by humans, it’s fallible in the way that all human beings are. So, while your idea may not be perfect and you may be subjected to some unexpected bumps in the road, you can see from this example that timing is everything. That’s why the key lesson from this chapter is to keep your finger on the pulse of the latest trends and prepare as much as possible.
Chapter 3: Final Summary
Some people are content to simply exist or to address the obvious problems that arise. But that attitude doesn’t result in world leaders who deliver excellence. So, if you want to be exceptional and you want to inspireothers, anticipation is a core component of that. In fact, you can’t hope to lead or succeed without developing a vision for the future that delves beneath the obvious. That’s why the author challenges aspiring leaders to anticipate. In this context, anticipation means that you look to the future with a plan and a purpose.
To anticipate is to look beyond the moment and ask, “What does the future need?” Once you identify the gap that you can fill with your creative ideas, you can take the next step and create a vision. This vision should draw on logos, pathos, and ethos, the three key components of any essential argument. And it should identify the trend you’ve anticipated and the roadmap you will use to make your vision come true.