More than ever before, we are now easily able to go back years and even a decade to in detail see what we were up to, what we were wearing and what we were thinking back then. We have our photos (hopefully) backed up in the cloud, we have our old blogs, facebook posts etc. The information is basically more easily accessible and some platforms even evoke nostalgia or sentimental feelings with features such a ‘1 year ago’ photo as a reminder. What feeling do these memories bring? What thoughts are sparked by this?
I’ve kept this domain for a couple of years now. I have to say, coming back to this blog and looking through the few old blog posts published back in 2013 has been an interesting experience. In many ways it is part of the past, not just literally but it also goes for some of the ways of thinking. It’s a snapshot of what thought processes and reflections that were going on back then. Some things I read now, I don’t quite agree with since my thinking has evolved or changed. Some of the thinking could be refined and improved. I’ve seen a few language errors and mistakes too. But that’s ok, because you can only learn and improve if you keep putting things forward and dare to explore.
It’s this type of negativity bias and strive for perfection that can prevent us from even starting, getting into that learning mode and continuously improving. Our ways of the past and old conditioning influences how we feel, think, and act. Without getting too in-depth in the psychology of it all, the point I want to make is to embrace the past while constantly daring to try new things and having a beginner’s mind.
I’ve recently finished the book Grit: Why passion and resilience are the secrets to success by Angela Duckworth. In her book, Duckworth highlights a humbling piece by the writer Ta-Nehisi Coates on the process of writing:
“The challenge of writing is to see your horribleness on page.
To see your terribleness and then to go to bed.
And wake up the next day and take that horribleness and terribleness and refine it, and make it not so terrible and not so horrible, and then to go to bed again.
And come the next day and refine it a little bit more and make it not so bad.
And then go to bed the next day and do it again and make it maybe average.
And then one more time if you’re lucky, maybe you get to good.
And if you’ve done that, that’s a success.”
I’m not sure if you are ever ‘done’ per se, but these very real examples provide an understanding of the journey of improvement and continuous courage to keep going.
Lastly, remembering and embracing the old thinking and ways of the past makes it an interesting journey because you can look back and see how things have evolved.
Side track: The emphasis on continuous learning and improvement is why I also embrace Agile and Lean product development methodologies along with the Build->Measure->Learn and iterative thinking in my current professional career, through consulting and coaching.