Imaginable | Jane McGonigal

Summary of: Imaginable: How to See the Future Coming and Feel Ready for Anything―Even Things that Seem Impossible Today
By: Jane McGonigal

Empathy for Your Future Self

Our brains view our future selves as strangers, making it challenging to take actions that benefit us. However, cultivating empathy for our future selves can counteract this effect. There are two types of empathy: easy empathy, where we relate to others’ experiences because we’ve gone through them before, and hard empathy, where we strive to understand those who have had different life experiences. To develop empathy for our future selves, we need to imagine ourselves in their shoes and treat them like a good friend.


Embark on a journey to unleash the power of your imagination and transform the abstract into the imaginable with Jane McGonigal’s ‘Imaginable.’ This book summary highlights key themes such as episodic future thinking (EFT), cultivating empathy for your future self, and deciphering signals of change. Delve into the world of mental time trips, ten-year deadlines, and the balancing act between shadow and positive imagination as you discover the art of envisioning and embracing the future with urgent optimism.

The Power of Mental Time Travel

Imagine waking up tomorrow, and then ten years from now. Which one was easier to picture? Stretching your imagination to pre-experience the future is called Episodic Future Thinking (EFT). EFT is the mental ability to simulate a future reality and pre-feel emotions. Using EFT, you can ask yourself four essential questions: Where am I? What is true? What do I want? And How do I feel? EFT helps you decide if this is the world you want to wake up in and identify what you need to change to make it happen.

Ten Years – The Power of Time Spaciousness and Future Scenarios

The book emphasizes the importance of ten years as a transformative period and the psychological concept of time spaciousness. By giving ourselves more time to complete tasks, we can work more efficiently and happily. Moreover, we should use future scenarios as a tool for imagination and futurism. According to Dator’s law, ideas that seem ridiculous at first glance are often valuable because they push our boundaries and inspire creativity. The book encourages readers to brainstorm and reimagine their lives in ten years, embracing the absurdity of flipped facts about their current lives. By doing so, readers can expand their imaginative capacity and approach the future with greater openness and flexibility.

Shaping the Future through Imagination

In “Imaginable,” McGonigal creates a simulation game called EVOKE that allows players to imagine how they would act during global crises in 2020. This game mirrors what happened in real life, caused by predicted future forces or megatrends that disrupt society. By identifying signals of change through shadow imagination like exploring potential risks and positive imagination, we can develop urgent optimism, which is necessary to solve challenges ahead while staying balanced and realistically hopeful.

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