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Meet Rob Reiher of FutureWise in Downtown

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rob Reiher.

Rob, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My story is based on a lifetime of fascination, with how people make good and bad choices, and how they either self-correct or fail to self-correct when things go wrong as a result of these choices.

Although my formal training and postgraduate work earned me the official title of psychologist, some close friends and others that know my passion for “choice” have given me the “pop” label of “Dr. Choice-fullness” instead.

As a kid, I had no real understanding about how all of this choice “stuff” worked, basing most of my choices on what felt “emotionally” right at the time, rather than thinking through my decision-making process to uncover the possible long-term implications of my behavior, and how I might shape my future. In many respects, I was lucky, because I didn’t mess things up too bad. But it really wouldn’t have taken too much, to shift things negatively in an entirely different direction, if a number of positive, stable elements in my life, had not been in place, and if instead, the circles of influence surrounding my childhood were more chaotic and dysfunctional.

For example, my “jock” friends (athletes) in high school, were all pushing me to join the military service rather than to go to college. My level of “macho” immaturity at the time had me leaning in that direction because I had no idea about what I wanted to do with my life or what I wanted to eventually accomplish. If not for the very strong hand of my parents encouraging me toward choosing college instead, I probably would have deferred college or went to work after the service to support a family lifestyle. I would consider this particular choice a major turning point toward the direction my life would eventually take.

During the early adult years of college, relationships, marriage and my first career choice as a teacher, I discovered the work of psychologist Abraham Maslow, whose research on “good choosers” was the catalyst for what would become the focus of my path and passion for the rest of my life. One of his key ideas was that “good choosers” are not lucky, instead, they are lifelong learners who become committed to self-awareness, self-reflection and self-actualization. This becomes a way of life and an ongoing challenge to learn more about how the process of choice and change works. This was the second major turning point that shifted my “macho” mentality into one of continued intellectual curiosity.

I can clearly recall projecting myself into my senior years, and “creating” a picture of what those years would look like. It was this process of “futurizing” that shifted me from my dominant physical orientation in life to an intellectual orientation. I then began to relish this challenge, knowing that I would step deeper and deeper into a field (psychology) that was virtually unlimited in understanding and challenges. With this change in perspective (physical to intellectual) I embarked on the quest that currently engages me 24/7, 40 years later. What I’ve been uncovering, from my lifelong involvement in both personal and academic research, is the difference between simply making good or bad choices and the lifetime task of learning to become Choice-Full.

Choice-Fullness involves three sequential unfolding steps. The first is Awareness, the second is Ability and the third is Control. If you take time to look back over your life, or the life of your family members, it will give you a sense of how the concept of Choice-fullness works. Awareness involves your ability to understand what’s going on outside of you as well as what’s going on inside of you. You can’t pay attention to just one of these dimensions, both forms of awareness are necessary. Ability evolves from your Awareness and your personal discovery process. As you become more aware of who you are and how you fit in the world, it allows you to focus your energy and commitment toward developing your individual “gifts” and abilities.

How you gain Control in the world, is determined by the unfolding and the development of the Abilities you’ve uncovered over time. The formula for Choice-Fullness is relatively simple to understand, although far more difficult to implement in your life.

Lower Awareness = Lowered Abilities = Lower levels of Control
Higher Awareness = Higher Abilities = Higher levels of Control

This understanding has been responsible for 4 major Choice Points in my own life, leading me to the current stage of my personal story.

Choice Point #1, as an adult I worked for organizations (school systems) that were rule-based and relatively limited in freedom, creativity and alternative worldviews. Becoming aware of these limitations and how this was a mismatch for my individual abilities and control created the impetus for change and for the next major Choice Point in my unfolding story.

Choice Point #2 was the decision to start my own business called FutureWise, focused on how consumers make choices with regard to the products and programs they purchase, and how branding and marketing becomes a critical factor in the messaging and communication process that influences these choices. The awareness of the underlying worldview for many of the major corporations I worked with, resulted in a new conflict and in the book Kidnapped: How Irresponsible Marketers Are Stealing The Minds of Your Children. Moving on…

Choice Point #3 was the decision to develop my own FutureWise products and programs using the psychology of Choice-Fullness as the foundation for change. With the awareness of emerging new social changes, this next step was put into motion.

Choice Point #4 (currently), the latest Choice Point, is based on how, in the world of accelerating digital mediums, everything is different now. It’s no longer possible to communicate in the same way we did 15 years ago. The speed of change, combined with new digital technologies, has had a dramatic impact on the way people make choices today. “Noise” (disruption, distraction, distortion and overload) is the new “wild card” affecting the awareness, ability and control we need, to make high level, more thoughtful choices that lead to higher levels of fulfillment, success and happiness in life. “Noise” is also responsible for increasing levels of fear, depression, anxiety, and even suicide among today’s youth.

The FutureWise Theater with it’s accompanying FutureWise Playbook is the new unfolding story. It’s a simple, compelling and practical method, sparked by the age of entertainment, social media, distraction, overload, and noise. Because everything IS different, digital mediums have altered our attention span along with how we engage in our internal and external communication process. The FutureWise Theater integrates Innertainment as unique self-improvement methodology, to incorporate and adjust to this new cultural shift.

It recognizes entertainment, with its pleasure-inducing dimensions and emotions, as an innovative and positive force for change, and as a tool to understand and train individuals toward becoming good choosers. It’s research-based products and programs are relevant to kids, families, businesses and major organizations. In an age when the speed of change is increasing, time has become our most precious commodity. Today, people need both “relief” from increasing demands of overwhelm, and a different type of tool to change their lives and help them make better choices.

The challenge of integrating our awareness, abilities and control into a life of passion and purpose, is daunting. There are many pitfalls along the way, and many “blind spots” to overcome. The choices we make today, to discover, modify, and use our full potential, are well worth the time and energy. They represent the single most important issue of our adult life and the life of our family members. Challenge, Change and Choice-Fullness, are the premier issues of the day.

Has it been a smooth road?
People are people and often highly resistant to change. The most difficult hurdle to overcome has been the integration of new psychological research into business agendas and worldviews. Corporations are responsible to stockholders, and business is business because it needs to make money. Psychology, and especially the fundamentals of Choice-Full behavior, make change a priority for the sake of well being.

In many cases, well being is not the highest priority within the business world and the inclusion of happiness, success and fulfillment in the business paradigm, places a burden on traditional thinking and creates resistance within the business community.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with FutureWise Inc. – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
The business of FutureWise is devoted to creating products and programs that support and develop more Choice-Full behavior. For the FutureWise approach, it’s important to make the distinction between the QUALITY of choices and the QUANTITY of choices.

As a society, we often “worship” the idea of MORE choices, without truly understanding the nature of QUALITY choosing. I am most proud of the fact that after 40+ years of personal and scientific research, I now understand the nature of change, and with that, the positive decision-making process. I am also proud to be able to “translate” this process into a variety of tools and tips that can be used with kids, families, schools and business organizations.

What sets FutureWise apart from others, is the unique paradigm of Choice-Fullness, as a methodology for self-improvement and social change, along with 40+ years of foundational research that has resulted in its creation. This timely combination is directly matched to the social changes in stress and overwhelm we are currently experiencing and will be in alignment with the acceleration of these changes in the future.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I love the diversity of Los Angeles. It is a progressive melting pot for creative ideas and worldviews. It represents a microcosm of the whole. I also love the weather and the range of experience that is open to its inhabitants, from the ocean to mountains within two hours.

On the negative side, there used to be a time when I could plan how to drive to avoid traffic. I find it much more difficult to navigate traffic these days, and with rising of “road rage”, I now to prefer do conference calls instead of driving.

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