Don’t Get Stuck in the Past

Don’t Get Stuck in the Past

Many years ago, when I was in my mid-20s and living in England, my company sent me on my first business trip to the continent of Africa. I was very excited about the trip and the fact that my company was paying for me to fly first class which I had never done before.

As I was flying first class I dressed in what I considered to be appropriate attire – a pin-striped suit, white shirt and a conservative-colored tie. After all, when I was growing-up my impression was that that was the way first class passengers dressed.

On arriving in the first country in West African country, dressed as I was, it was almost as though I had a target painted on my back. The locals seemed to swarm around me offering me every possible deal or service available. They immediately knew from the inappropriateness of my dress that I was a young man who didn’t know what he was doing: that I was a rookie who had clearly never been to that country before or experienced the heat of a West African day.


As an adult, have you ever made incorrect decisions based on a recollection of how things had been in the past instead of on how things are today?

Sometimes, all of us need to step-back and think about why we do certain things in our business and personal lives. We need to ask ourselves if our reasons and rationale for such actions are based on current norms or outdated ones. We also need to think about that in terms of the way we direct or manage others.

Past experiences and learnings are extremely important. However, it is always important to make sure that we are not “stuck in the past.” We must utilize our past experiences as reference points and adapt accordingly to the current situation.