Home > Uncategorized > hind sight is 20/20 | understanding the past to see the future

hind sight is 20/20 | understanding the past to see the future

“We need not destroy the past.  It is gone.”  ~John Cage

how many times have you heard, don’t dwell on the past?i’ve heard it often, but i find it important to think about the past. as the composer john cage states the past has passed so we don’t need to destroy it, but we can learn from it. you won’t be able to view a past situation with the same eyes that you had at the time, so view it with new eyes, don’t think about how you felt then but how you view them now.

philosopher immanuel kant had a theory that basically stated that people viewed the world through different lenses

(perspective) depending on things like experience and culture. the past is important for that reason because it establishes our lens for the present and future. but this post is going beyond just experiencing the past and letting it define us in the present. this post is about putting on your present “lens” and taking a look at that past. as you are a different person now you will be able to see ways in which the person you are now would have handled things differently or maybe you will find something important to you that you left behind.

for this post we will focus on a process that will help improve planning for the future. behavior change is centered around understanding past behavior, and this process is as simple as that with a catch. if you are planning things for the next year or few months you don’t want to dig deep into the past because it opens things that while although important will detach you from your focus of planning for the immediate future.

hind sight is 20/20

“The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.”  ~Lesley P. Hartley

think of yourself as a business, and break your year up into quarters. for the purpose of this exercise you only want to focus on things that have happened in the last quarter. where was your focus? for my last quarter i was focused on finding where i wanted to go next. i kicked my minimalist lifestyle up a notch, and i began focusing on planning a goal of directing film. i was also preparing for some big changes in my personal life, and focusing on training student employees at the college. so those are the things that i want to assess because those things were my focus at the time.

what i don’t want to do is focus on are the small trivial things that were not related to my goals, because they were merely the vehicle by which i may not have achieved what i set out to achieve. alright so let me break it down take your areas of focus from the previous quarter and list major achievements for each of those things. so what questions could i ask when viewing the past. here’s a list of many that i would ask for each category.

how often was i working on my focus areas?

asking yourself how often you were doing something is a good way to analyze if you spent enough time on the areas you found important. if it was going minimalist how often did you purge things around the house or practice discipline when purchasing stuff?

how often did i neglect my focus areas?

realizing your neglect can be beneficial because you can determine what things motivated you to neglect a particular focus area. this will allow you to adjust that routine when you go into planning for the future. maybe you planned to minimize a lot over several weekends but instead often went away for the weekends as a last minute decision.

why did i carry that ball in that direction?

looking at the way you chose to do something is a benefit. as the person you are today how would you have handled that differently? for me i would have approached this blog differently than i did a couple of months ago. by realizing that i can apply what i should have done to the way i approach any new endeavors while focusing on minimalist |thought.

if i set specific goals what percentage of the goal did i complete?

i haven’t posted a lot on goal setting but a key part of setting goals is to make them specific and measurable. that way you can quantify them, but even if you haven’t set specific goals you can assess a percentage gain for some things you expected to achieve to date. you started at 0% and now you are at ____. now you are able to make a decision on whether you will sweat through the things you were working on a month ago or move on to the next thing.

being the person i am at present was i as motivated as i am now?

thinking about levels of motivation is important. i get a million ideas a day so when i look back to the last quarter i often find that my passion has deteriorated, so i need to focus on getting motivated in that particular area. that could be as simple as doing more research on the topic, or having a discussion with someone about a passion for the same thing.




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