The Past, Our Brains and Hugh Jackman

I have the pleasure of working in the field of innovation and entrepreneurship. I get to see a lot of cool things and meet extremely interesting people. I also get paid to help change the trajectory of innovation and entrepreneurship in a rural area.

Sadly, I also see a lot of things that could be better and sometimes are baffled as to why they aren’t.

I would love to say my inspiration for this blog was some great speaker or book that I read. It is not. My inspiration came from a movie trailer! In the trailer for the new movie “Reminiscence” Hugh Jackman’s character has a quote:

“Nothing is more addictive than the past.”.

Hugh Jackman “Reminiscence”

When I saw the trailer I had just returned from a two day session on Innovation for Communities and Economic Developers where we talked about problem identification, innovative solutions, and change.

Hence, my question: 

Is resistance to change, fueled by our addiction to the past, the biggest barrier to innovation?

I think it is for some. I think fear of change in general is another reason.  Fear that they can’t learn new things, fear of loss, fear of judgement by others, and just thinking change is too hard are additional reasons, but I will save these for another day.

My theory is that we relive our past in a lot of different ways.

Some romanticize and always remember the past as being better than today or tomorrow. (The good ole days.) These are the ones that think the way we have been doing it for the last thirty years is just fine and see no need for change no matter how much the world around them is changing. 

We used to ride horses for transportation but we don’t do that anymore!

Some only remember the bad of the past and allow the fear of reliving bad experiences keep them from giving change a chance. 

These are definitely the “glass is half-empty” people. I call them the Eeyores of the world.

Some remember the good and the bad, try to let the bad go or at least not repeat it, and learn from both. These are the ones that more readily accept innovation and change.

There is no doubt that our past affects how we view the world, but how we choose to deal with it is up to us.

Please don’t let your addiction to the past become your reason to resist change.

Work hard, learn fast, and get after it!

Jeff Brown

President of The Biz Foundry

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