Does Your Past Predict Your Future?

I am continually struck by how some people manage to achieve successful, fulfilling lives from difficult beginnings (for an example, see this story of Alice Herz-Sommer, or rise from a major set back to achieve an even greater success than the one which eluded them.

When I was trained in interviewing people for jobs a mantra oft repeated to me was ‘Past performance is a good indicator of future performance’. Way back then I was sceptical (although I do tell prospective applicants to make sure they let interviewers know about good past performance, obviously). It seemed to me a very limiting way of judging folk. Obviously if someone has done something well before, been innovative, had great success that bodes well. People will look at them in a positive light.

But equally if someone has taken a risk, made a few mistakes that could also bode well.

We learn and grow by trying things out. If we try new things we sometimes ‘fail’. But we’ll always learn something in the process. The trick is not to keep making the same mistake!

What’s been your best mistake?

PS My Mum used to say laughingly that my youngest brother was a mistake! I never really understood that when small. .. In part this post was prompted by him as he died suddenly when his two children were young and they inevitably had a tricky few years.  Yet this summer his son joined the metropolitan police, and his daughter graduated as a mental health nurse. Both public servants, both in difficult demanding jobs.  Proud? You bet I am!

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Posted on July 25th, 2012 by

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