I’ve always had an appreciation for those stewards of the crystal ball — whether they’re the palm readers you see on the boardwalks of amusement parks, the mysterious gypsy women with the heavy Eastern European accents at county fairs, or even the television weather forecasters who get paid big bucks to be wrong 90% of the time.

One such guy by the name of Nostradamus has always intrigued me. Born in 1503 in the south of France, Nostradamus grew up and became famous as a physician and astrologer, who wrote a book called, The Prophesies (published in 1555). The book was a collection of long-term predictions that some claim accurately predicted everything from the French Revolution to the rise of Adolf Hitler, the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the U.S., and even the end of the world.

How can this be? Though I find it fascinating, Nostradamus seems to be the conspiracy theorist of the 15th century. I am not a believer.

Thinking About the Future

However, we live in a world where it’s vital to think about the future — from planning to get things done by certain deadlines (the plague of journalists everywhere) to keeping tabs on how national, state, and local events impact your high-performance business. You even need to think about training the next generation of leadership in your company.

Sometimes forecasting can help derail bumps in the road before you hit them.

From a more historical perspective, Nostradamus couldn’t have predicted how Willis Carrier would see a need to control humidity which eventually led him to develop the Psychometric Chart. From that and other events, the modern air conditioning industry was born.

Carrier obviously went on to think creatively about several other things, as did many other people in the industry, and they created a new future with inventions resulting from that thinking.

We often take this and other history lessons for granted, but to me, it’s simply amazing how such creativity, and the forecasting behind it, built and still sustains one of the most important industries in the world today.

History is a Great Teacher

It’s also important to remember that the ability to forecast and think creatively impacts you and your business every day. From forecasting how the marketplace situation impacts your customers and your business, to creating the plans and strategies necessary to grow a high-performance culture in your company, and everything else in between. This not only benefits your team, but also the entire HVAC value chain.

Sound a bit idealistic? What would Nostradamus say? Does he have a 468-year-old quatrain about how high performance will change the entire comfort industry?

I doubt it. But every day smart contractors address industry-wide issues like using A2L refrigerants, improving HVAC system energy efficiency, and solving manpower shortages. They move their teams to become certified professionals, and find unique custom solutions for customer comfort issues to position themselves for continued growth and success.

When I think about that, it thrills me as much as do the strange and mysterious interpretive predictions of a man from the 1500s who many still see as an accurate predictor today.

We have a lot to be proud of as an industry. We are problem solvers, we are creative, and we work hard to build a better future every day.

Sure, I am still fascinated with all the stewards of the crystal ball. But Nostradamus aside, can we do something about the really poor predictions highly-paid weather forecasters make?