If I had a nickle for every time someone told me to “look forward” I’d have a dime by now. I’d be a lot richer if “looking forward” was actually a viable strategy.
Say you’re one of those annoying back-seat drivers who observe that the driver is doing 40 mph on the freeway, but he’s in second gear redlining the revs. You lean forward and suggest changing gears. “I know what I am doing” the driver snares back at you, and you lean back and look out the window, shaking your head in disbelief. 20 minutes later, you see the temp gauge creeping up, and you lean forward suggesting you pull over and cool down the engine. The response is the same, and once again you sit back, and bring up google maps. You’re in the middle of nowhere, and going in the opposite direction of your goal. You ponder bringing it up, but you already know how this will be received. As you’re driving up hill, the engine finally gives out. A huge bang, vapor steaming from the engine, oil splattered all over the windscreen and all over the road.
Everyone is on the side of the road now – some start hiking and are picked up by passing cars, others just start walking. You, however, stick around. You’ve put a lot of work into the car, and for some bizarre reason you still feel some attachment to it. It’s far from the car you set out to build, but you still have this dream about what it could be.
Finally roadside assistance shows up. Everyone’s out of money, but the owner of the tow company offers to tow it for free, if you will sell your broken down vehicle. He’ll pay the scrap value of the thing, but promises to bring the car back in working condition (the guy is probably insane). After a few months, the car finally rolls out of the shop.
The driver prepares to get back in the drivers seat. You object. “This guy wrecked two cars already”, your voice trembling with frustration, “and now you’re putting him back in the drivers seat?”.
The owner takes a deep breath. He says “everything stays the way it was”. A sigh of relief can be heard. He looks straight at you, “we have to forget the past, and look forward”.
But you remember the past. You remember the warning you made, you remember the lack of attention to the details, proper operation and maintenance, and now you’re supposed to put that aside and just “look forward”.
“Looking forward” is not a business strategy. It’s great advice for the individual though; you made a mistake, learn from it, and then move forward. If you’re in the wrong job, don’t dwell on it for too long, just recognize that you are, and move on.