What’s the Longest Humans Can Live? 115 Years, New Study Says – NYTimes.com

Do we as humans have a limit on our life spans?

The scriptures tell us:
“As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, Or if due to strength, eighty years, Yet their pride is but labor and sorrow; For soon it is gone and we fly away.” (Psalm 90:10)

I’ve written several posts on Human Longevity. Now, a recent article in the science journal, Nature, suggests we may have reached out limit.

The study, in Nature, suggests that humans “will never get older than 115.” But critics think we can grow much older.

Source: What’s the Longest Humans Can Live? 115 Years, New Study Says – NYTimes.com

What do you think?

Ex Machina

A young programmer is selected to participate in a breakthrough experiment in artificial intelligence by evaluating the human qualities of a breathtakingly beautiful A.I.

Announcing The Master Class Certificate

You live and lead in a white water rapid of cultural change.
Because of this, you cannot afford to simply react to the world around you.

YOU must learn to navigate change.
Because of this, it is critical, in our moment, that Christ following leaders learn to lead from the future.

How can we navigate the undercurrents of change and shape, influence (even create) the future?

The Master Certificate Class in Strategic and Ideational Leadership is designed to equip you to navigate these waters.

The next offering for this Certificate is February 2-6, 2015 in Orlando, Florida. You will gain

  • Frameworks for thinking about the future
  • Tools for anticipating the future
  • Trajectories for creating the future

The Master Class certificate includes either The Certificate in Strategic Leadership or the Certificate in Maximizing Human Capacity.

The Master Class includes additional sessions on Critical Cultural Issues. For example, in our time of rapid change, here are three questions (of many) that are shaping both our cultural and faith narratives. As co-creators with God of the human future, what will your contribution to this story be?


There are more singles today than ever. Divorce rates are high. (So high, for example, in Montreal that, in anticipation of a likely divorce, newly married couples must pay an additional administrative fee to legally change the bride’s name). The acceptance of Gay marriage is changing the meaning and usage of the word marriage.

Young urban affluents write about the negative impact of having children to their personal economics? Others advocate for the ecosystem, as if it were more valuable than future children. Still others write about killing their children, as if it were just another day on the job. One even filmed her abortion to show how enjoyable it was. Future children may be incubated within artificial wombs, raised by nanny-bots, and live out their lives in a world of fewer children.

Tech magazines write about porn as if it were a normal and acceptable (even respectable?) aspect of society. The rise of sensitive robots points to a potential future of unprecedented human-machine relationships.

Mindsets are changing. Rapidly. We often acknowledge how things are change, but do we stop to consider how we are changing.. and being changed?

What is the future of marriage? What is the future of sex? What is the future of the family? What is the future of children?

How might followers of Christ understand the changes that are underway in light of their story? To draw upon biblical imagery, where is the spirit hovering upon the face of the deep, upon the chaos of our present moment?


For millions of years before the rise of humans, living things experienced suffering, pain, and death. Multiple species of humans walked on Earth before the emergence of modern humans. New knowledge of this kind shakes the underpinnings of many who read the Bible as a chronological history.

The rise of Islam brings to the forefront billions of people who believe that God wrote a book. And millions of Christians feel the same way about the Bible that Muslims feel about the Qu’ran.

At the same time, are we hearing rumblings that some western Christ followers will want to distance themselves from both fundamentalist Muslims and Christians? Meanwhile, a conservative and fundamentalist Christianity rises in the developing world and promises to be the global religion of the future.

What might be alternatives for the relationship of the Christ following faith to its scripture? Is the Bible a divine book? Or is this bibliolatry? Is the Bible only human literature? Or is this blasphemy?


In his book, The Post-American World, Fareed Zakariah argued that The United States is no longer the epicenter of global culture. Where might global culture be going? In another book, The Next One Hundred Years, George Friedman argues that the United States will remain the center of the world for the next 100 years.

Where might current trends of immigration, an aging population, and military prowess be leading us? What might North America look like towards the end of the 21st century and how might that impact what we do today?

How can followers of Christ, regardless of geography, frame a Christ following mission for the next century and beyond? What does 21st century discipleship look like in light of massive cultural changes?

Join Alex McManus, author of Makers of Fire, for IMN 2015 in Orlando, Fl on Feb 2-6.
He will discuss, during the Master Class Certificate sessions, the skills necessary to understand and navigate these kinds of rapid cultural changes through the analogy of Making Fire.

IMN 2015

Strategic Leadership (February 3-5)
Human Capacity Mentor (February 3-5)
Master Class Cultural Architect Certificate (February 2-6)


Born or Made?

entrepreneurruns Are leaders born or made? Are disciples born or made? Are entrepreneurs born or made? Regardless of your industry, you’ve probably wondered about this question.

My thoughts below were inspired by  the article,  Are Entrepreneurs Born or Made?

Part of the difficulty we have answering this question is the mystique that surrounds the word “entrepreneur”.

“An entrepreneur is an individual who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on financial risk to do so. It’s first known usage, by economist Richard Cantillon, was in 1723. Today, an entrepreneur is defined as someone having the qualities of leadership and, additionally, is an innovator of ideas regarding manufacturing, delivery, or service needs (or any combination of these).”  Wikipedia

In other words, an entrepreneur is a business person. So, let’s ask this question, “Are business people born or made?”

Somehow this seems less controversial.  Sure, some people may naturally prefer  the structure of working for someone else while others may prefer the freedom of working for themselves. But, when we substitute “entrepreneur” with “business person” the mystique diminishes.

I began to wonder how many small businesses there are in the United States and visited the Small Business Administration site and discovered that …

  • The 23 million small businesses in America account for 54% of all U.S. sales.
  • Small businesses provide 55% of all jobs and 66% of all net new jobs since the 1970s.
  • The 600,000 plus franchised small businesses in the U.S. account for 40% of all retail sales and provide jobs for some 8 million people.
  • The small business sector in America occupies 30-50% of all commercial space, an estimated 20-34 billion square feet.

“Furthermore,” the SBA website added, “the small business sector is growing rapidly. While corporate America has been “downsizing”, the rate of small business “start-ups” has grown, and the rate for small business failures has declined.”

  • The number of small businesses in the United States has increased 49% since 1982.
  • Since 1990, as big business eliminated 4 million jobs, small businesses added 8 million new jobs.

Whether entrepreneurs are born or made,  their importance in economic development seems pretty clear.  To those of us who work with leadership development and entrepreneurship,  the question,  “are business people (aka entrepreneurs) born or made?”,  is similar to the question,  “Are leaders born or made?”  My own take is that “history” (i.e. the social conditions that exist) gives rise to leaders.  So an important part of our task  is to develop people of character because we never know who “history” will tap on the shoulder.  And, as the SBA website suggests, when it comes to starting or running a small business, many people will get “tapped”.


Recent research seems to indicate that there are genetic traits that may give some an advantage in leadership and entrepreneurship.  That’s not really news.  We all know “the type” that sells, gets things done, perseveres, and takes risk.  But we also know that environment and opportunity and human choice are also important elements in who can start or run a business.

Next time you drive down the road count the number of small local businesses you see.  You’ll count hundreds,  if not thousands,  of stores and shops of all kinds.  If you’re in a city you may even see street vendors — signs of the informal market economy–  around you.  Ask yourself,  were the people who started these business born or made to start them?

There is a spectrum between pure nature,  nurture,  and pure human choice.  Not every businessperson is an extreme risk taker – a genetic freak of nature. They are usually your ordinary human who finds a need and fills it in such a way that makes them and their customers happier than the alternatives.

What do you think?


Anxiety in the 21st Century — A Meditation

Some people define fear by the acronym FEAR– False Expectations Appearing Real.   But fear is the proper response to a perceived  real  danger or threat.   Anxiety is “usually generalized and unfocused as an overreaction to a situation that is only subjectively seen as menacing.” (Wikipedia)

In other words,   “False Expectations Appearing Real”  is a way to describe anxiety not fear.    Danger is real in our world.   But,  in this post,  we’re thinking about something more subjective, the feelings of anxiety that are not necessarily connected to a real danger.   When we feel fear,  we want the danger to go away.   And, as soon as it does, the fear goes away. They’re connected.

But anxiety lingers because it may not be connected to anything. It is a more general dis-ease.  And,  anxiety pervades the globe in the 21st century.

I think of it as a feeling that we’re falling.   It doesn’t matter that we’re not really falling because  we feel like we really are.    And the feeling just won’t go away.

This short video below describes the levels and kinds of anxiety felt around the world.
The producers of this video,   JWT Intelligence,   have accumulated tons of data on global anxiety available at anxietyindex.com.   This may be a resource for those of you who are helping people cope with anxiety.   Interestingly enough,   anxiety is not unique to the 21st century.   Watch the video then reflect on the passages of ancient wisdom below.

Jesus told his disciples:   “Therefore I tell you,  do not worry about your life,   what you will eat;   or about your body,   what you will wear.   Life is more than food,   and the body more than clothes.” (Matthew 6.25ff)

Long before Jesus, another wise man wrote:
“An anxious heart weighs a man down,  but a kind word cheers him up”
(Proverbs 12:25, NIV).

The apostle Paul wrote:
“Be anxious for nothing,   but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;   and the peace of God,   which surpasses all understanding,   will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
(Philippians 4.6)

The apostle Peter wrote:
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you”
(1 Peter 5:6-7)

From ancient days to today,   we are an anxious race.   Stop for a moment and rest.  Anxiety is a bully that has stalked us through the ages.   This demon cannot simply be cast out of our minds and hearts.   It must be replaced.

What can replace anxiety?

The apostle John tells us that “Perfect love casts all all fear.” (1 John 4.18)   The love of a friend.   The love of God.   The knowledge that we are not alone…  the experience of not being alone.   To be told to stop worrying is not enough.   We must also replace anxiety with love,   with a deep connection to others,  or even,   to God.   I suspect that ridding ourselves of a companion as persistent as anxiety is going to take all of us.

Entrepreneurs,   offer your services and build your products with love.

Pastors, build communities of love.

Parents,  love your families.

Teachers,  love learning.

Humans,   love one another.

Anxiety.   The Old Testament writers wrote of it,   the New testament writers wrote of it, and it is still being studied and experienced today.   Even knowing “how” to deal with anxiety and understanding that it is “irrational” doesn’t take away the feelings of falling.

Here are some ideas that came to me as I reflected on the passages above…

(1) Stop and breathe and express and confess your feelings of anxiety…
(2) Build a net of people who love who would catch you if ever “your falling” ended
(3) Become a part of that net for others — become “a cheerful word giver”
(4) Clear your conscience by asking for forgiveness and offering forgiveness
(5) Get perspective, Look at the bigger picture
(6) Replace “I can’t” with “I can”
(7) Reach out with your heart for God
(8) Exercise
(9) Rest
(10) Enjoy the moment (or you’ll miss living your life as you wait for that unknown thing you fear –which may never happen– to come)
(11) Be kind
(12) Do what needs to be done one thing at a time, one step at a time

The spirit of anxiety has been with us for a long time. I suspect it may take a collective and global effort to cast it out for good.

Much love to you…

Click here to share this reflection on Anxiety in the 21st century with others on twitter. Thanks.

What do you think?

The Faith Track at M2013

A few years ago, when I was considering taking a certificate course on Strategic Futures at the University of Houston, I asked Peter Bishop, a UH professor of sociology and then director of the Future’s program, if he thought that Foresight had any relevance for churches and faith leaders. He answered, churches have a future too.

When it comes to the future, Christians are often identified with pop-culture references like the “Left Behind Series” or with “end of the world” predictions and milleniallisms. M2013 is designed to help faith movement leaders think about the future in dynamic ways that IMPACT THE PRESENT. The M experience is designed to get you thinking out of the box by immersing you in a multi-disciplinary conversation about the future.

M places a faith-track directly in the midst of a broader cultural conversation about the future. The design is to cross pollinate the imagination of all participants with ideas that come from other domains of thought whether that domain be economics or entertainment, politics or pop culture, education or video gaming.

This year at M the four major tracks of thought will be “the future of education”, “the future of entrepreneurship”, “the future of faith”, and “creativity and the human future”. Think of M as a kind of cost effective and friendly “TED-like” experience to help you and your team get your feet into the water of culture.

In this future oriented context, participants will also take deep dives through “specializations” directly related to their needs and interests will be discussed. I write this post to people of faith because you may be like me wondering if a conference on the future has any relevance to you. My answer to you is that thinking about the future is relevant to all of us.

In terms of the faith track, for example, Erwin McManus will lead a specialization on CREATIVITY and Leadership Development. While relevant to every registrant, this specialization will have special relevance to faith leader. Alex McManus will lead a specialized session for the Faith-track on the “life-transformation” economy.  These deep dives will be supercharged as the provocative general sessions allow new connections to be made between the practice of faith and the emerging futures.

The flow of the experience for your team — and for every participant regardless of which track they’re in — will go like this each day:

General Session Presentations — short BIG IDEAS given during the general sessions

Questions and Answers — debriefing and DISCUSSION sessions with presenters to unpack ideas

Specializations — content and APPLICATIONS for your specific industry

If you are a believer, pastor, or faith movement leader, this will be a professional development opportunity to which you can not only bring your staff but also invite the teachers, entrepreneurs, thinkers, and techies in your congregation. We hope you’ll take advantage of this unique opportunity and join us at M2013. Let’s get out of our ruts! Advance purchase ticket rates end on Sept 21.

Singleness and Sustainable Cities

S for SocietyTopic: Singleness and the Sustainability of Future Cities
TESA: Technology/Entrepreneurship/Society/Arts
Finding: As the number of people who live “solo” grows, cities become more sustainable.
Implications: Existing cities trying to embrace this future may focus on improved public transport for the growing number of elderly and young professional solos. Might automobiles become frowned upon and eventually even banned from within the city limits? Imagine a carless NYC. The existing cities of the future may become childless places for people who are at the beginning third of their careers or at the sunset of their lives. Entirely new cities may emerge that will cater to those with a bent towards marriage and family.

Source: http://www.theatlanticcities.com/jobs-and-economy/2013/07/rise-people-living-alone-has-led-more-sustainable-cities/6212/

Did you want to share this find? Click Here to Tweet. Thanks!

What do you think? What possible implications do you see or connections do you make?

What is M?

A 2-minute description of the network and futures conference known as M. Join us at M2013 this September in Detroit. See the navigation bar above for more information.

Hat tip to futurist, Jay Gary, who will be presenting at M2013, for the article on the Mu.