The Rear View Mirror Is Smaller… For A Reason

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by Steve Holt on April 8, 2013

When my wife and I bought our first minivan about 5 years ago we discovered an interesting feature. I won’t talk about how hurt our feelings were that we had to buy a minivan in the first place… that’s another post for another day. But I will tell you that it was a welcome feature to find this little flip-down mirror above the rear-view mirror. You see, the rear view mirror isn’t big enough to see what the kids are doing in the back of the van. And with 4 kids, you know what happens. They pick on each other, beat on each other, and generally get on each other’s nerves. So the parents have to keep a close eye on what’s going on in the back, right?

The reason for this flip-down mirror is because the rear view mirror is simply too small. You can’t see much of anything except directly out the back of the vehicle. And of course, I thought of a very important analogy with this in regard to your business. Whatever business you are in.

I think that’s a metaphor for businesses who spend way too much time looking backwards and not enough time looking forward. The windshield is so much bigger and wider and provides a great view of where you are going and the future. The rear-view is so small and doesn’t provide much except to show you from where you came.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to remember where you came from. But the rear-view is smaller for a reason. You need to concentrate on looking forward where you can make a difference, because you can’t do anything about the past. A wise man once said ‘the greatest barrier to success is past success.’ So don’t spend all your time looking back on all your past failures or successes. Look forward before you miss what’s coming.

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