Hindsight shows you how life works
We hear a lot about insight and foresight and how important and wonderful they are. But today I want to sing praises to hindsight, the mental skill that usually makes us cringe.
Oxford Dictionary defines hindsight as:
the understanding of a situation or event only after it has happened or developed.
Hindsight usually involves looking back to a moment when we stood at a crossroads and had to make a decision, not knowing for sure what the outcome would be. But now we do know the outcome – and it wasn’t as good as we’d hoped it would be.
We always use hindsight to pinpoint our faulty choices. For example, ‘In hindsight, I should never have moved to Widgiemooltha’. Or, ‘In hindsight, I should’ve run the other way instead of accepting the invitation to visit his gorgeous penthouse’. Another common one is, ‘In hindsight, I should never have planted that giant gum tree so close to the house’.
Hindsight highlights our regrets, mistakes, and foolish decisions.
But hindsight can also do the opposite. We can use hindsight to see what went right with our life.
As I sip my morning cup of tea and look at the world waking up outside the window, I use hindsight to pinpoint decisions that led me to being here, now. I’ve made phone calls that changed the direction of my life; knocked on firmly shut doors that opened with a welcoming flourish; said no to two marriage proposals and yes to one; taken risks like moving to the country with five kids to live in an incomplete wood-turner’s studio half wrapped in plastic to keep out the rain; turned down some job offers and accepted others; went back to school at sixty; decided to write weekly blogs five years ago.
That’s me and my crossroads. What about yours?
Look back and recall the crossroads you’ve stood at, scratching your head in perplexity, and then you’ve chosen one way over the other, and hey! look how that situation turned out! You didn’t know how it would develop, because you were in the middle of it, but now you know the outcome, and it’s amazing.
Hindsight Can Be Positive
Use hindsight to see the synchronicity in your life, the strange confluence of events that fell into place because of decisions made on the run, in the moment, in the blink of an eye.
Look back and see how you got here – to this place where you are now – with all that living experience under your belt steadying you as you prepare to make even more decisions that, in hindsight, will be good ones.
And don't forget that even "bad" decisions - in hindsight - can produce some good. Always look for the good. It may be hidden, but it's always there.
Use insight and foresight as much as you can, and every now and then dwell in the land of hindsight. When you do, be kind to yourself. Look for the positive. Observe the amazing twists and turns you’ve made to get you here.
With love, Marlane