As some of you know I used to work in the Bank.
I just love this disclaimer.
And there are so many different ways the Bank actually spins it around:
Past performance does not necessarily predict future results
Past Performance Is Not A Guarantee Of Future Returns
Past performance is no guarantee of future results
Well they all mean the same thing.
In common speak: “We might be lucky in the past – but we might not be so lucky in the future and we will not shoulder that responsibility of being right all the time –
even if we might already used up all your retirement funds”
OK – so the last bit is a bit of an exaggeration.
Anyway – I find that we (myself included) usually have this fascination of looking back at past victories (usually victories) and thinking we can replicate the same in the future.
Think of it.
Job interviews – they ask you for your past experience and past success in the companies.
Dates – we always look at who the person is today from what the person did in the past.
Relationships – need I say more – the girlfriend / wife has almost photographic memory of EVERYTHING you did / wore in the past (while I struggle to recall what I had for dinner a week ago).
That being said – we put so much emphasis on the past as a solid marker for what is to come in the future.
This is both dangerous and irresponsible – I got to side the Bank with this one.
Most startup factories do the same (I shall not name which – but it’s really an open secret – no?) – just because something does well in Europe / Western World – it MUST definitely do well here in Asia.
And yes – let’s just give the top seat to a European instead of the Asian savages.
They know better – besides they spent most of their formative years in more civilized Europe.
Unfortunately – as much as I believe in unicorns and yetis – it does not work this way.
Life / startups / relationships / marketing campaigns are often much more complex than that.
Sure – there are some principles that stay true – we are after all humans – with more or less the same needs and same “Lizard Brain” that makes us tick.
But the real key here is improvisation.
I view past success as just milestones from what we do on a day to day basis.
There is no such thing as an “overnight success” – rather repeated patterns, rituals, behaviors, habits and mindset – and crafting that to perfection.
So a success or award or <insert ego stroking boost> is just that – a milestone.
Future performance is entirely dependent on current actions.
And like most things in the current – it has to have a degree of fluidity.
Sure – you need to have a clear destination or goal – but the means of execution (eg. marketing campaigns, growth hacking strategies, operational execution) is solely dependent on what you have to work with.
I think we also dangerously discount past failures.
Its usually with failures (at least for me) – that we learn and grow the most.
Pain (a healthy does of it at least) promotes growth.
So does this mean to stop buying all bank products, freeze hiring and stop what was working before?
On the contrary – this means – looking beyond what is currently working, looking at a bigger landscape and raising your standards to stay ahead of the curve and over-exceed “past performance”.
Screw past performance.
The past is just a reminder of what was before – just be grateful and don’t use that as a crutch for the future.