Ever notice that most political and financial decisions are made by observing the wake of history rather the waves of the future? Some folks would say this keeps us from repeating the mistakes of the past. But is that really true?
The problem with observing the wake of the ship to navigate, is that it only confirms past successes but is of no help when encountering new challenges. Our fixation with the past often gives us false hope because no situation is ever the same when we encounter it in a different context. Also, this fixation keeps us from dealing with difficulties that we have never encountered before. While the wake of the ship may assure us that we made it through ok, the tidal wave in front of us makes no such promise.
Good leaders base their judgement on past experience; highly effective leaders anticipate future events and meet them head-on. As Robert Kennedy once explained, “There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”