The Destruction of Potential and Joy

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Leave the good ole days in the past. Enjoy memories but never try recreating experiences.

Some years back, my wife and I went to an amusement park with another couple. It was the perfect storm of fun. The day was perfect. The crowds were small. We smiled, laughed, and played till it hurt. I feel nostalgic thinking about it. I love remembering, but trying to recapture that experience insults the present.

Warm fuzzy “I remember when conversations” are filled with misconceptions that drag you backwards into futile frustrating pursuits that always disappoint.

Build your future don’t recreate your past. Treat history like a platform not a magnet.

History is useful in that it helps you:

  1. Understand noble values. Your history is filled with noble thinking and behaving. Think back to behaviors that made you proud. Embrace the intent while employing present methods and leveraging present opportunities. Wishfully looking back always frustrates and never brings out your best.
  2. Identify enduring priorities. Think back to your greatest successes. Repeat enduring principles that matter.
  3. Relish points of joy. Let joys from the past propel you toward new joys. Dreams of recreating old joy destroys potential for new joy.

History can’t:

Although history unveils noble values, enduring priorities, and points of joy, it doesn’t uncover relevant methods. History hinders progress when we cling to methods that once worked. Furthermore, history’s magnetism is magnified through repetition. Before long you’re saying, “We’ve always done it that way.”

Recreating history blinds and eventually destroys your leadership.

Radical vision:

Vision may build on the past but radical vision always breaks with it. Think major movements like the Protestant Reformation or the Civil Rights Movement.

Successful leaders always create the future.


How can leaders leverage the past without being trapped in it?


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