A few days ago I wrote in this same space a post titled “Always keep moving forward“. I wrote about the autobiographical book Shoe Dog, by Phil Knight, creator of the Nike company, where he explained in first person all the difficulties experienced in the first years of the company. The learning that he did and that he shared with the readers was what he called “always keep moving forward“, that is, always forward. Look ahead and overcome the difficulties, that in any challenge that is worthwhile, surely there will be many and great. The truth is that it is a book that impressed me and that I remember often.
Actually, the act of moving forward is an essential characteristic to achieve interesting challenges. In fact, in the study of the most successful people in different fields (in the world of business, politics, sports …), this ability to look forward, this excessive ambition has been decisive. Experts point out that this strongly ambitious mentality, of looking ahead, of not conforming to what is being achieved is even more important than other variables such as talent and work. Without any doubt, insatiably ambitious people, who always look ahead, achieve more and more successes than people who are not.
However, whenever I think of looking forward, being ambitious, I remember perfectly a quote that my parents and grandparents used to repeat to me frequently when I was a child. They told me “Xavi, you have to look forward … but also backward.” They were referring to the fact that it is very positive to look or wish to achieve more ambitious challenges than the ones you have, to want to improve and grow in different areas, to focus on more powerful references than oneself. But they also highlighted the need to look at those behind you, those who have achieved less than you or are in an inferior situation in any area. Many times I used to “envy” other friends or people who had characteristics or properties superior to mine. This created some dissatisfaction for me. When I wanted a bigger car than we had, a cooler vacation or whatever, my parents and grandparents wisely made me look back, see that there were people (many people) who were in a worse situation and that made me settle for what I had and at the same time it made me feel better.
A clear example that explains this theory is disease. When you have a medical problem and you have to go to a hospital and you really see people who have more serious problems than you, you immediately realize that you are not so bad and that you could be worse. Possibly this is when you learn to value what is important and what is not. Sometimes you have to value what you have, you have to think about the people who are in a worse situation than you. I know that this is a conformist approach that, in a society that idolizes success and triumph, this discourse of looking backward does not attract much, it is not seductive. Positive, ambitious phrases that give you the strength to get ahead, to reach new challenges, are much more liked. However, despite not liking it so much or being so attractive, I want to take advantage of this post to value the ability to look backward, to value what you have and to think that there are many people who are surely worse off. And just as I recognized that looking forward is really necessary to be successful, I AM FULLY CONVINCED THAT LOOKING BACKWARD IS ESSENTIAL TO BE HAPPY.