The Teacher Called “History”

History is philosophy teaching by example and also by warning. — Lord Bolingbroke

Wow, Lord Bolingbroke! That’s some deep stuff right there. I mean Momma’s been trying to teach us that for years. We’ve all heard it — “the leopard doesn’t change its spots”, “a tiger doesn’t change its stripes”, “history repeats itself” and many more just like that.

I definitely keep a positive outlook for the future, but I have  learned through experience that the best way to tell the future is to study the past. Today’s financial crisis is a prime example.

For example, when evaluating companies and opportunities, you’ve gotta make sure that you don’t get caught up in the hype of the moment so much that you don’t consider the company’s history. What happened in the past? If the current situation isn’t strong – how did it get that way? Have the players been consistent or has it been difficult to keep good people around?  Do good people seem to keep leaving?  Is there a pattern that is screaming out “Don’t ignore me“?

It’s amazing though, how often we fail to do this. I guess it’s because we all want the future to be so bright — so much so that we will often gloss over and ignore the warning signals that history is trying so hard to give us.

This can really be true when it comes to promises of future behavior, delivery, etc. We get so excited sometimes that we forget about all of the broken promises of the past.  It can kind of be like an “abusive relationship” — constant promises of  “I’ll be better…” and “It’ll be better…”  Right. Sure.

Other times the promise-maker puts on such a “show” that we get distracted from sober decision-making. There’s hype. Emotional displays. Group energy — I know these things have clouded my vision in the past. And I ended up paying the price…  I ended up saying, “I should have known better…”

So what am I saying? Follow Lord Bolingbroke’s advice!  History is trying to get your attention — listen to it!  This will save you a lot of emotional hardship, lost time, lost money, lost opportunity, lost everything!

Want my advice: Learn from the example and warning of history! Don’t ignore the past as you make decisions about your future.

What do you think?

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Filed under Biz, Family, Just Life, Uncategorized, Wizdom

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