Create an astounding future with an “enchanted notebook”

Chuck Frey
5 min readOct 20, 2022

Envision what’s next — and make it a reality!

Imagine if you had an enchanted notebook with a very special power: Any idea you write in it, it will show you how to make it real.

That’s the fanciful but profound picture Packy McCormick painted in a recent newsletter. No one owns such a magical writing device, of course. That would be amazing!

But you own the next best thing: a creative mind that can richly imagine a compelling future — and then reverse engineer the steps you need to take to make it a reality.

This technique, also known as “futurecasting,” is a powerful thought experiment that can help you imagine and create an amazing future.

How to do it

The brain can’t tell the difference between reality and a scenario that is vividly imagined. That’s why one of the keys to making futurecasting work is to create a scenario where your invention already exists. It’s your job to explain it to others.

Legendary inventor Ray Kurzweil puts it this way:

“Imagine you’re giving a speech about how you created this. Well you’d have to work backwards about how you created it to make it work.

“When I talk about things that we’re trying to invent, I use the present tense as if it already exists. Not just to give myself that confidence, but everybody else that’s working on it. We just have to do all of the steps to make it actual.”

McCormick takes this thought experiment farther than anyone I’ve seen, including a series of questions you can use to make this future scenario more “real” to your mind:

  • Write a speech, or a story, about the thing you want to create or the future world you want to inhabit.
  • Paint that world in detail so rich, using the present tense, that it feels like you already live there.
  • Imagine the magical technology that has become so ordinary that people just use it every day without a second thought.
Chuck Frey

Thought leader in mind mapping, visual thinking and creativity for 15+ years. Relentless explorer, learner and dot-collector. I help you elevate your thinking.