We have all heard the expression, “hindsight is 20-20,” but is that really the case? Well, it certainly can be, but only if we are paying attention to where we have been and what we have learned.
Experience has the potential to be our very best teacher, and hindsight plays a vital role. Unfortunately, many people go through life just repeating the same old mistakes over and over again. They somehow miss the connection between hindsight and insight.
Granted, we all make mistakes, but there are two important question for each of us to ask ourselves with regard to our mistakes.
1. “Do I really learn from my mistakes?” And, if so, then
2. “Do I make it a point to adjust my life accordingly?”
You see, the truth of the matter is, if we can’t say yes to both of those questions, then the answer to both is really no.
Hindsight lets us reflect and grow wise!
Wisdom and insight come to those who learn from their experiences, adjust their course, and continue in the direction of their goals and aspirations. Experience can teach us so many valuable lessons, but only if we are willing to adjust our lives accordingly.
That’s why it is so important that we continuously measure the results of our actions. If we don’t take the time to analyze our past performance, how can we expect to gain the insight to produce better results? If we don’t have the hindsight to see where we’ve been, how could we possibly have the insight to see where we are going?
Our performance is like a compass that keeps us moving in the direction we want to go. When we get a little off course, things don’t work out so well. If we are paying attention, we will analyze what we just did, and how we might have done it differently. Then we can try something a little different, and compare the results.
Hindsight benefits us in all areas!
You can apply this approach to every area of your life. Yes it works in business, but it also works in relationships of all kinds. If we accidentally do something that offends someone we care about, we need to take note, and try to avoid doing it again.
What this means is that we need to be fully involved in our own life. We need to pay attention, careful attention, to how our thoughts, actions, and words affect the quality of our life. We also need to pay attention to how our actions affect the lives of those around us.
When we contribute to the quality of other people’s lives, we reap personal benefits. The quality of our life is in direct proportion to the quality of our contribution. If we are not giving, then we are not living, we’re just going through the motions and missing the real essence of life.
The only way that hindsight can be 20-20 then, is if we take the time to notice what we did, how it turned out, and whether or not we need to make changes. This is how we develop insight.
Hindsight allows us to learn and adjust
There is a famous saying by George Santayana: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” I think more than remembering is called for. Insight requires more than just remembering. I would say that those who don’t learn from the past are condemned to repeat it. And while this saying is often applied on a grand scale to nations and governments, I think it has it greatest application for us as individuals.
It’s always amazing to meet somebody that has no clue why their life is the way it is. They go through life doing the same things over and over again, and thinking that one of these days they are bound to produce a better result. Albert Einstein nailed this kind of thinking when he defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” It really boils down to a complete lack of hindsight.
Personal change doesn’t need to be complicated
If we’re not happy with our life, we need to take some time to analyze the actions and decisions that got us where we are. What adjustments could we make to break our current cycle and produce a different result? As you look back on your past thinking and actions, can you identify things that could have been done differently? That’s hindsight.
Could you benefit from sharpening that hindsight a bit? Of course you could, just use what you have learned to help you make a few simple adjustments. You probably don’t need to turn your life upside down. Start out by making small adjustments, and pay careful attention to what happens.
Did things get better, or did they get worse? Either way, you can still use that information to make further adjustments. Before you know it, you will have turned your hindsight into insight.
How important do you think hindsight is?
How have the lessons from your past benefited you?
The lines are open and your thoughts really do matter!
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