How do your thoughts and experiences of the past shape your perception of the future? My guess is your past shapes your future outlook to a great degree. But when does clinging to the past too tightly thwart your future success?
America's Leading Futurist, David Houle, describes "Legacy Thinking" as viewing the present and future through thoughts from the past. A simple metaphor for this would be the act of rowing a boat. You are looking back to where you have been with your back facing where you are going. You are backing into the future, looking at the past.
Legacy thinking is often why it is hard to see change, especially now, because we are living in the present through the filters of the past. Only when change becomes personal do we understand change. For so many of us, it takes tragedy to change. We get bad news from a doctor that thrusts us into a workout routine. We get passed over for a promotion and then decide to learn the latest technology.
While we are all guilty of this to some degree, I think the Baby Boomers are most sceptable because prior to the Information Age (1975-2005), there never really was a generation that was not contained by a single age. David Houle argues that because of this Boomers hold the greatest amount of legacy thinking.
On the other hand, David has this to say about Millennials:
"They are challenging 20th century legacy thinking in this new century. As Millennials move into their ever-more-connected place in society, the workplace, and culture around the world, they will dramatically accelerate the collapse of legacy thinking. The experience of the incredibly high levels of unemployment for their generation around the world, will also accelerate the collapse of legacy thinking as the Millennials will not allow legacy thinking to be passed down generationally to the degree it has in the past. This is why Millennials will be the ones to come up with transformative and innovative ideas. They will initiate magnitudes of change in all areas of life. Their thinking, behavior, morals, and worldview will be the ascendant ones of the new era."
So are the Boomers doomed? Never. I think the fact that they hold the greatest amount of legacy thinking can be an asset for 2 reasons.
- Boomers that abandon legacy thinking will stand out from the Boomer masses.
- Boomers that spend time in introspection to morph their legacy thinking into timeless laws will be in a unique position to lead and coach tomorrow's innovators.
When resistance strikes, pause and do some introspection to get to the root of the resistance. Banking on legacy thinking and doing things because that's "how we've always done it" is dead thinking and will thwart future success.
Shed legacy thinking and rise.
Question: What legacy thinking is holding you back today?