Too Many People Are Ready For Yesterday.

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Brian Kight

The dating. The engagement. The wedding. The marriage.
The preparation. The competition. The championship. The next season.
The plan. The process. The achievement. The sustaining.

I read an axiom from historian Arnold Toynbee that says, “Systems tend to malfunction conspicuously just after their greatest triumph.” I was struck by how true that is and how frequently I see it.

Toynbee recognized the principle in the historical frequency of armies being fully prepared to fight the previous war, often resulting in disaster and defeat in the war they were currently fighting.

John Gall simplified this axiom into a version both accessible and applicable to us as individuals. He refers to it as being Fully Prepared for the Past.

Why is marriage a challenge even after a fairytale wedding?
Why are back-to-back championships so rare after the first championship?
Why are significant achievements challenging to sustain?

Because things evolve and decay, new things arrive and grow. In you, in your environment, in other people, in your relationships, in your teams. What worked brilliantly in the past may not fit in the future. How you create excellence now may looking drastically different from your previous efforts.

Mindsets and skills to catch something are different than to keep something. Being hungry affects people differently than being full. You were a different person 10 years ago than you are now, but you still have active patterns from 10 years ago and beyond. Some of them worked great 10 years ago for who you were and where you were. But you’re not there anymore.

Being fully prepared for the past and ready for yesterday leads to defeat tomorrow and disaster in the future.

Everything is training for something. Do the work.

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