Harness the power of your personal history
Would you send your kids to a school that didn’t teach history?
Is history necessary? I mean, it’s called history…it already happened. We can’t change anything about it. Shouldn’t our kids focus on subjects like math and science to get them ready for the future, instead of reliving the past?
Whoa…keep your tar and feathers in your hands and hear me out for a second.
This isn’t actually a post about school, education, or history. It’s a post about you. And me. And the power of our personal history.
We want our kids to learn about history because hindsight is 20/20. The wisdom we glean from the past is priceless for the future.
It’s true in the world as a whole and it is also true in our own personal lives. Yet how many of us regularly take stock of our personal history?
Oh, we have scrapbooks (if you’re like me, half finished scrapbooks) and we know when we were born, where we went to school, and a few stories along the way. But if we can learn so much from decades and centuries past, can’t we also learn from the recent past?
What can we learn from last year, last week, and yesterday?
Experts talk a lot about life planning, goal setting, and dreaming big. They talk about bucket lists, weekly plans, and to-do lists.
It’s fun (usually) to plan and dream, but we only get half the value of planning if we don’t also take the time to review.
Leadership expert John Maxwell takes one weekend each year to systematically go through his ENTIRE calendar for the previous year and evaluate how he spent his time. He reviews each appointment and task listed in his day planner from January to December.
Now, before we consider that crazy and a waste of time, let’s take a look at what John Maxwell has accomplished in his life.
He has authored over 60 books, hit the NYT Best Seller list many times, started several leadership training organizations that serve in more than 80 countries, is one of the most sought-after business speakers, and has been married for over 40 years.
If “wasting” an entire weekend each year yields those kinds of result…sign me up.
But Maxwell doesn’t stop there, he takes dedicated time each week to review the week and time each day to review the previous twenty-four hours.
Football coaches watch game film. Businesses review sales charts. Even fast food restaurants ask us to fill out “How Did We Do” surveys so that they can evaluate how well their plans matched up with our experience.
Maybe it would be worth our time to look back on our day, week, or month to figure out what went wrong and what went right and how we can adjust our course for tomorrow.
Albert Einstein famously said, “Insanity is doing the same thing in the same way and expecting a different outcome.”
Today, I challenge you to study your own history. Make a date with yourself each week and review how your plans and your reality of the previous seven days lined up. If something went wrong, where did it go wrong? How can you try again this next week?
Learning from history doesn’t need to end when we close a textbook or graduate from school. It can happen every day as we forge a new path in our personal growth.
Have you ever thought of having a weekly review time? What lessons have you learned this week or even today?
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