“Sometimes, the bravest thing you can do is to never look back.”
Forward progress, in practice, is great theoretically.
Forward progress, in theory, is big business.
For the latter, well, just see the gobs of information and quotes online with regard to “if you aren’t moving forward you are standing still” … “don’t look back or you’ll miss what is in front of you” … “don’t look back you are not going that way” or some fortune cookie wisdom like that <as if no one knows that movement, and progress, is good>. I call this the ‘forward progress theory’ business <I have noted elsewhere Life, like chess, is about facing the entire board and obstacles & opportunities which lie all around you, not just in front of you, & you can move in a variety of directions with progress in mind>.
With regard to progress, the bravest thing you can do is to not look back. Why do I say ‘brave’? We make it really hard to not look back. Really hard. Day in and day out everything around you pounds on you for ‘what did you learn’ and how are you applying it and ‘if you don’t know learnings from the past how can you be sure that is the right thing to do?” <crap like that>.
Okay. Semi useful thinking crap like that. But what it really means is that anyone truly desiring to move forward, intent on progress, keeps getting dragged back time and again to the past. What, or who, is the main culprit of this almost unhealthy relationship with the past?
“Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to make the same mistakes.”
No wonder people are afraid of some risk or hesitate to move forward keep looking backwards. Doom is never a particularly desirable objective if you care about your career <or anything for that matter>.
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
“I’ve got news for Mr. Santayana: we’re doomed to repeat the past no matter what.
That’s what it is to be alive.”
The ‘doomed’ aspect <which older business people toss around like confetti in meetings> means we are almost demanded to not only invest energy in the past but, in some cases, encouraged to hold on to past learning with ragged claws. That said … I will go back to the bravery aspect because I could argue the truest bravery, in this sense, resides in two places:
- Not looking back once you have decided to move forward.
- Not looking back when you purposefully stand still.
First. Move. There are actually times to just go. Go and do. I do not mean ‘go’ as solely leaning on instincts <I call this ‘decision faking by intuition‘>, because research tends to show instincts are less important than experience, but lean on your experience to guide you through the context of your progress. The truth is that the past cannot show you all the shit you need to know as you move forward. It only shows aspects of shit you should be aware of. And, worse, the past has nasty habit of not encouraging you to reflect on the context of all the aspects just the aspects themselves. Therefore history is truly only important in parts and not the whole.
This means you have to grab the scraps of what you need from the past and create a new whole in moving forward. That is where bravery steps up to the plate. More often than not you are creating a new whole … a slightly different version of what was. Yeah. That is different than the past <it s actually something new>. Yeah. Everyone is actually a creator, a discoverer albeit we don’t like to think about that. While this point is a generalization … if you know your shit … once you have decided to go … to move forward … don’t look back. Bravely face the new world ahead.
Stillness, strategic stillness, is possibly one of the scariest things anyone can ever do. When everyone and everything is moving you feel like you are ding something wrong in standing still. And, yet, by purposefully doing so you may be adding to the progress rather than taking away from it.
Here is what I know about purposefully standing still.
You have to accept the fact you are offering the type of energy that no matter where you are and no matter that you are still & not moving you are actually adding value to the space and time and progress to that which is around you. I can promise you that this takes a version of bravery.
The entire ‘Forward progress Theory’ is difficult. Difficult in the mind <attitudes> and even in practice <behavior>. I could argue that it is so difficult because our natural instinct is to try and use the past to define what the future will look like. That is slightly crazy when you think about it. While the arc of time suggests the future will most likely replicate the past, well, that is the arc and not the details. It’s kind of like discussing strategy versus tactics. The strategy may remain the same or similar, but the tactics will vary in the context of time & situation.
I don’t think I am particularly brave but I certainly don’t look back once I decide to go … and I have no qualms with standing still amidst movement. I tend to believe it is not bravery but rather experience.
Ah. Experience. Maybe you need to be brave to gain useful experience?
That’s another post for another day ……..
“Sometimes people let the same problem make them miserable for years when they could just say, ‘So what’.
That’s one of my favorite things to say. So what.”