I’d argue the least helpful sort of sight is hindsight. In support of this argument, I call my first witness, William Mulock, who once said the following:
“I am not in the habit of looking back – I leave that till I get old.”
On its own, this quote is fine. But like most things, context is king.
Mulock didn’t say this as a 40-year-old – he didn’t even say this as a 70-year-old; you’d have to spot him another 30 years (70 + 30 = 100, you’ll get the next one) before you’d hit it.
And it’s not like he didn’t have things to look back on either. Mulock was a lawyer, Postmaster General, farmer, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Ontario, teacher, politician, and businessman.
Mulock’s quote and basic attitude regarding his life, present and past, feels appropriate for this year and decade more than any other. Looking ahead, it’s not clear at all what the future will be like, but through the benefit of hindsight, you already know what you did, should have done, wish you could re-do.
As we journey farther into 2020, I hope we can resist the temptation to look back and dwell in hindsight. No matter what’s in store for us, we should meet it with momentum. And maybe the best is yet to come!
I can’t match the wisdom or words of Mulock, so instead, I will double-dip into his well of quotes, though this one is from when he was a spry 87-year-old (which if you’re doing the math at home is 100 – 87 = 13 years before the last quote):
“I’m still at work with my hand to the plough and my face to the future. The shadows of evening … lengthen about me but morning is in my heart. … the testimony I bear is this: that the castle of enchantment is not yet behind me, it is before me still and daily I catch glimpses of its battlements and towers. The best of life is always further on. The real lure is hidden from our eyes, somewhere behind the hills of time.”
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