Our Preoccupation with Past Performance

Over the last 50 years, our world has moved at light speed.  Almost every aspect of our society has improved.  Our communication is faster and instantaneous.  Our data is richer and more robust.  Our systems are interactive and more complex.  Innovation, education and entrepreneurship have advanced our understanding of the world around us.  We can instant message people on the other side of the globe.  We have cars that don’t even use gas.  We can visit the world without leaving our desks.  Our understanding of just about everything has improved, except our knowledge about success.  Our intelligence, our technological advances, our innovations fall short in our attempts to predict success.

Without even knowing it, we all fall into the same trap.  We use past performance to predict future success.  We focus on what people have done, instead of what they will do.  We analyze where people have gone, instead of where they are going.  We judge people based on who they are, rather than what they will be.  We have determined our children’s little league trajectory, by their dominant performance in T-ball.  We sort our young students and athletes, before they have reached puberty.  We think we know who will win, because we know who won.  Those who lose early wallow in the wasteland of underachievement.

It’s time to advance our understanding of success.  It’s time for us to view success slightly differently.  It’s time to spend a little more time focusing on what we can become.  It’s time to stop spending millions on draft picks for what they have done, without knowing what they can do.  By selecting only those who have had early wins, we decrease the total number of successful people.  What about those who have early failures?  Should we write them off?  Should we ignore them?  They don’t usually get into the advance classes.  They are not usually selected for the all-star teams. They are ignored and steered in other directions.  We tell them they aren’t good enough.  We think they aren’t smart enough.  We assume they aren’t athletic enough.

This is why the traditional model of success is flawed.  It limits success to those who have succeeded.  It is clear that sometimes success occurs in a slightly different way.  Those early failures may be the motivation for people to exceed there draft pick.  Maybe, those first loses are what motivate people to push past their pedigree.  Maybe just maybe, what you’ve done isn’t exactly what you’ll do.  Where you’re from isn’t necessarily related to where you’re going.  Your future success isn’t predicated on whether you have succeeded.  Your future success is predicated on what you decide to do from this point forward.  You draft pick is a distraction.  Your pedigree is some else’s problem.  Your success is within your control.  You decide!

doc mu


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