A Sense of History
I was stirred by a recent post about personal history on Stephen’s Adversity University. I didn’t get on with history at school. I had great teachers, but I didn’t have a head for names and places. That puts a bit of a damper on being good at it. This was compounded by my belief that nothing interesting had happened prior to 1980, when I got my first computer.
Later, as I worked across different countries, went to places and met people, I realised how important history is, even in business. In the IT world things change fast, but a countries laws and biases change slowly. They impact on how products are marketed and sold, and what people do with them. People’s history shapes their world view, and how they adopt technology.
The great leaders I have met consistently had a good knowledge of history. How is your history? Do you have a sense of personal history, family history and national history? They are important in understanding ourselves, just as much as the technologies around us. For those of us steeped in Social Media, Web 2.0 and Unified Communications, yesterday is too easily forgotten in the excitement about tomorrow.
At a personal level, having a good sense of history provides a strong psychological grounding, which is why Stephen’s exercise of writing down his personal history struck me. It can also give you a good sense of your career. At a professional level, historical knowledge enables more informed and sensitive decisions.
Grab pen and paper, or your favourite text editor. Write down each of the years since you were born and write a sentence by each. If something doesn’t spring to mind for a year, skip over it. You can always go back to it, once the creative juices start to flow. You now have a snap shot of your personal history, handy for writing that biography when you become famous.
Time for me to dig out a history book or two – I benefited from the last one I read back in April – and to keep that habit of creating a journal entry at the end of each day. History happens everyday.
Thanks SO MUCH for mentioning my article to your readers. I truly appreciate the link love and I hope your readers enjoy the little exercise I proposed in that article.
May you enjoy the rest of the year in peace and prosperity!
That’s a compelling idea.
My wife has such better knack for remembering her childhood than I do. It almost gets on my nerves sometimes. 🙂
She can remember exactly how old she was when she saw certain memories or when she got a certain Christmas present.
I’m afraid I wouldn’t do very well on the task you mention.
I have great news! The latest research seems to suggest that actually we do remember pretty much everything, it is just that some of us have a harder time recalling it. I always used to think that my memory was poor, except for anything technical, at which point it becomes mysteriously encyclopaedic. As it turned out, I just needed to practice recalling things. The more I do, the better my ‘memory’ gets. It has been a revelation! I was amazed by what I could remember, as I sat looking at the the list of years, scanning my memory banks. Things I thought long forgotten came back, as I recalled adjacent memories.
[…] Artefacts – things left behind by ancient civilisations. Tangible items that remain, things that you can see and hold, that give a sense of history. […]
Great posting you have, can’t wait for the next