I don’t think about the past very much. You probably don’t either. We hear about folks or have friends who seem to be obsessed with stuff that’s already happened, decisions already made. I know I certainly don’t want to be one of those who continually live in the past, so I generally think about it as little as possible. Future plans, future hopes, future dreams… that’s what I’m good at.
However, I’m afraid I may have gone too far in this direction. As in so many other things, we should avoid extremes in dwelling on past, present, and future by working toward a good balance (the “golden mean”). Lately, I’ve been making a purposeful effort to learn more from the past – particularly my own. After all, they say experience is the best teacher. I currently work at a job where I am still very much on a learning curve, and I am passionate about becoming more skilled and advancing as high as I can in this employment. My strategic use of the past is helping me get there.
How? I added a very simple habit to my day. After I get off of work, I pull out my phone and open up a note-taking app. While the day’s events are still fresh in my mind, I write down a brief overview of everything I did that day. Below that, I write everything I can improve on or every new, helpful thing that I’ve learned. Well, I say “write”. Actually, I use the voice-to-text feature on my phone. It works very well for this simple task.
As the days add up and the document gets longer and longer, I periodically review what I’ve written down to keep it fresh in my mind. I can’t recommend this habit more highly. It’s helped me a lot in staying at the top of my game. I’ve noticed that without this habit I can more easily stagnate and stop improving. This routine helps keep me from making the same mistakes twice.
I don’t always remember to do this every day, but I try to. For the most part, it has become a habit that I stick to. Sometimes, when time is short and I want to review what’s been written down, I have a text-to-voice app on my phone read the notes back to me as I’m driving to work. It doesn’t work as well for me as reading them, but every bit of reflection helps.
Is there any way you can use this technique to improve on something in your own life?
If you haven’t seen it yet, there is a Scouting Rediscovered group on Facebook. Here, Scouts and Scouters can offer tips, ask questions, and share with like-minded folks who are rediscovering traditional Scouting. Check it out here -> link