Respect the past, embrace the future

An expression that I have always liked is “Respect the past, embrace the future”. I think it is all too easy to be cavalier with embracing change for the “sake of change”.

I do believe in some aspects of chaos theory, i.e. its good to shake things up sometimes and see what happens. The adage of “a change is as good as a rest”. There are also great benefits of being an “early adopter” of new ideas to gain a competitive edge.

Embracing the right change strategy is an absolute necessity. If one is not progressing, then one is standing still or going backwards. Look at how retail markets are changing; purchasing patterns; supply chains; all things internet!! It’s a brave new world out there. Skill sets need to adapt to succeed in this fast-paced, changing environment.  Imagine the future and make it happen.

Embracing change and stress is an interesting area. A quote I have thought long and hard on is “If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. You are at peace if you are living in the moment “Lao Tzu.  I actually think depression can also come from one’s current circumstances and worrying about the future. However, I do like the idea of appreciating the concept of enjoying living in the moment.

I am a lucky man, I think I have a healthy respect for lessons learned from the past.

Having had sales targets for over 25 years, my happiness has normally started when I have exceeded my targets. On a personal level, I have rarely been able to sit on a bench and just appreciate a nice sunny day. I have always been too task driven. As I have matured in my thinking and got better at relaxing, I can now appreciate the present far more. Generally, I have a great present!! I am a lucky man, I think I have a healthy respect for lessons learned from the past. Some of these lessons I know now were incorrect, and I am so thankful that I gained the wisdom to learn the right ways. Also, failure teaches so much about how to succeed.

Then there is nostalgia. Looking at the past with “rose-tinted glasses”. Remembering the good times. But also having passion for things in the past. I have examples of this. I love vintage cars; steam trains; older architecture; leather, wood and glass over plastic; old English villages; trams; quality stationery; old books; classic art, antiques and so much more. However, I am not an advocate that the past is best! I remember when I first started work in an office in 1979. No computers. No mobiles. If I wanted written communication with a customer or prospect, I would hand write a letter. The letter would go into an in-tray in the typing pool. I would wait for it to be allocated for typing. The letter would then be returned to me for checking. Generally, there would be changes needed. So, a further delay before it would go in its envelope to go down to the post room to wait to be posted 1st or 2nd Class. WOW.

Change is good. Change is powerful.

Alternatively, one could send a telex!  How technology has changed for the better. Email, Instant Messaging; Skype for Business; video and so much more. Imagine living without all thing’s internet. Change is good. Change is powerful. However, one can be respectful of past methodologies. People working to the capabilities of the time they were operating and living in. How fantastic were the advances of the industrial revolution? Advances that are now obsolete but were life-changing at the time: Big respect.

One of my favourite images is the guy struggling to push his cart with square wheels. He is too busy to talk to the excited salesperson about a new product on offer…. round wheels. So, change can be great. It can be fantastic. It is revolutionary. I love it. However, I still firmly believe that I am a happier and more successful person by “respecting the past and embracing the future”.

Insurance has a distinguished past. It is a real pleasure to now work within an industry that has benefitted from continuous improvement. Customer choice is more advanced than ever. Businesses, their owners and their staff are protected and secured by a vast array of comprehensive policies. Customer confidentiality is key. Data is confidential. Policies can be taken out quickly and effectively. It’s a vibrant and exciting environment to work. Here’s to an exciting future.