Hindsight as a Teacher, not a Bully

‘Hindsight is 20/20.’ This is usually my ‘oh, well’ response to the unchangeable.

It seems obvious looking back and knowing what the ‘right’ thing to do would’ve been.

Why does it seem so clear now? Who knows. That topic is for another conversation.

Today I want to share the value of hindsight. It’s easy to beat ourselves up for thinking a decision we made was not the best. It’s sooo easy to beat ourselves up, right?

In fact, do you ever find it difficult to criticize yourself? Mmm, no.

Right on schedule, there it is:

I’m not good enough.

Classic ‘me’ move.

I can’t believe I did that.

And the list goes on. So of course, when we regret a decision made, we try to make it mean that it’s proof that we do in-fact stink now.

Yup! THIS proves it. I must not be (insert self-beating here): smart enough, strong enough, …etc.,etc…

How much value does the self-beating give? Zippo.

It really doesn’t create anything new for us.

It doesn’t make us better.

It doesn’t remove the past.

In fact, it prolongs our focus on it.

WHAT IF…. instead we could view it as a learning experience? We can’t change it anyway, right?

As SOON as it’s behind us, we cannot change it.

That doesn’t have to be a derailment.

Instead of asking, ‘Why did I do that?’ (which you’re totally allowed to still ask), we can also ask, ‘What can I learn from this,’ and, ‘What do I want to do next?’

If hindsight is 20/20 this is the PERFECT time to look at what we ‘didn’t like’ and decide in advance – from now on – what we want to do now. How we want to handle it now.

All of the experiences we’ve had can teach us something SUPER valuable. Even the stinky stuff. Sometimes especially the stinky stuff.

How can hindsight be a Teacher:

The experience is memorable. – It’s not likely to be forgotten, so what we learned will stick with us.

An instant alternative plan usually emerges. – ‘I should’ve done…..(such and such) pops up for us. Write this down! Decide when you can put that alternate action plan in place. Sometimes, it can be immediately.

You can become a cheerleader for others. – When you come out of something that was hard to deal with, others can see it’s possible. You see it’s possible. You keep trying. You keep growing. You’re unstoppable! (OK, I’m getting carried away, but you get what I’m saying).

You’re not judgy. – You understand fully that people makes mistakes. Yes, even you. You can be a reminder to whoever is brave enough to open up to you with their ‘fails’ that they can be strong. They can move forward. They are still worth it. They still have value. Don’t stop trying. You listen more without trying to give them all the answers. You just listen and get to learn from their hindsight.

You don’t stop trying. – This may seem like the most basic benefit. To me, it’s the biggest. YOU. KEEP. GOING. When it’s painful, when it’s new, when others don’t get you, when you’re tired, when you’re in pain, when you ‘don’t want’ to. The value of seeing everything in your past as something you can learn from means everything you do in the future will definitely teach you too.

Learning that we wanted to handle something differently is not proof that we can’t do it in the future. Don’t believe that. Right now is a new moment.

You don’t even have to wait until tomorrow. Listen to your hindsight. What do you want to learn from it?

What do you want to do next? You can.