Sunday, 15 September 2013

5 Reasons to Study & Respect the past

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”  -  Søren Kierkegaard

I have been often told by many that past is something you let go. Specially if you had memories that have the power to haunt you and take you into melancholic territories. It stiffles your present, your thoughts, frame of mind and your social realms. 
Perhaps as one of my dear friends put it aptly " open your lens of the past and see the world without it....."
I have somehow failed to reconcile with this thought. Because I have considered my past to be one of my "greatest teachers".

I list the 5 things my past has taught me. Never a day goes by that these 5 aspects do not cross my minds and re-instate my faith on my great teacher.
It has tremendously helped me in my Startup journeys and the vision with which I have been working hard to build great products for the student community.

1. Understanding of People

As LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman aptly summarizes the "Greatest Opportunities" lies with People. They become your greatest assets during times of need.

The past gives you ample time to evolve with diff people. In school, college, professional & personal life. We are often plagued by condescendment for people who left with a sour taste on our lives. Broken alliances, lost friendships, co-founder conflicts, egos and misunderstanding take a toll on our present.
Some become judgmental some more open to people. 
Moreover, it helps you truly understand what kind of individual you have become and that helps you narrowing down your 'go to' individuals in life.

2. Understanding your Goals

No one knows what they expect from life, due to its sheer unpredictability. However, we can plan and set short term goals - realistic & achievable.
With time and experience, when you look back at your past, the mistakes you made, the triumphs & the learning. All these help you to understand "WHAT YOU WANT FROM YOUR LIFE".

Some choose a 9-6 routine job, some take risks, some take the off-beaten path, some burn to ashes and some spark like a diamond. 
Individuals who set their Goal live by choice & not by chance. The experience of past lets you judiciously decide what you wanted to do.

3. Understanding your Limitations

We will be kidding ourselves if we do not know with time what are our limitations. An entrepreneur for example runs a very lonely path, they know that they have to limit their other engagements at the same time look at others aspects of life aka family, friends, social responsibilities with an objective lens.

When we start taking steps in life, sky is our limit. But, with time we all come to know our weakness, fragility quotient & vulnerabilities.
This helps us in ascertaining what we should avoid and focus on things where we can maximize our potentials.

4. Understanding your environment

The world is changing, in every aspect. The way we communicate, do business, define happiness, forge families, build communities, shape a country and define new social orders.

One needs to understand not only HOW these changes affect us but WHY.
Example SMS was a revelation in terms of communication. Short & Sweet alternative to long phone calls & personal meets. But WHATSAPP changed this paradigm, as users needed more flexibility and were looking for cheaper solutions.
With times, the needs change and so do people's choices and trends of society.
A close student of history can not only be prepared for changes but can leverage it do create value for himself and others.

5) Understanding those gone by

"If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." - said Sir Issac Newton

Personalities, Leaders, Technologies, Cultural shifts, Innovators, Philosophers, Game changers, Scientists, Literary figures, statesman, critics, politicians, tyrants, killers, actors, artists, entrepreneurs......
Taking a deep dive into their lives gives you a glimpse of lives well lived, lives lived in sheer anxiety, depression, turmoil, lives lived in triumphs and milestones in history which changed everything.
These are your best teachers, who lay quietly in heavenly world's and leave their stories & works to be told.

I salute the memories of the past, which goes by everyday. Everyday is a new beginning, but every yesterday is a milestone in history which is a new lesson in our learning chapters.

As the old saying goes - "Those you forget history are doomed to repeat it".

Do you think the past plays an important roles in your lives too ?

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