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time series #4: EVERYTHING WAS BETTER BACK THEN.


I was not planning to write this on a bus, going from Krakow to Rzeszow in Poland. Since I have got this gift of two hours’ time, I have decided to write the time series number 4. On the bus with me there are many other travelers from all over the world: families with kids from France, a father with a daughter from UK, a soldier, a group of Orthodox Jews, Polish couples, etc.


living in the past
living in the PAST

They all are going to visit their families for Easter, I guess. Except the soldier. There is a war about 120 km from here. That was probably the reason why the air space around Rzeszow got closed when we were already in air, so the plane had to be diverted to Krakow. The weather is wonderful and most of the guys are having a nap.


And since we have got the message to divert to Krakow, I cannot stop these thoughts and memories coming to my mind.


Everything was better back then…

my parents were 9 years old when Nazis attacked Poland. They were 15 when the war was over. They couldn’t finish more than 4 levels of their primary education. My mom still couldn’t believe that the earth is a sphere, even when I brought a globe for her. I was laughing back then and trying to explain to her that she was wrong. Today, I think that she was right. In a sense, the earth is flat.


Everything was better back then…

my father was not very talkative but a man of a few words. Most of them I still remember. He had two jobs to make ends meet: carpenter and farmer. He had to build our house with his father. They used wood from our forest. When they did it, there was no running water, no electricity, let alone sewage or heating. Not even proper roads. The toilet was outside – I was scared to go there at night, and it was freezing in winter. My father used to say: a stupid one, you shall make more stupid. I found it strange. I somehow couldn’t agree. I thought, we shall keep trying to convince, or informing or educating the ones who needed it – and I don’t mean those who have a different opinion but those who ignore the facts. I still think so but I can also see many populists around the world who are doing just that. And yet, there was a change in Poland last year, if you follow Polish politics.


Everything was better back then…

my wife accidentally found out that women in Germany had to ask their husband for permission to accept a job before July 1958.


And so on it goes… I am sure each of you has an own story about it.


And I am asking myself, why is that? Why do we still think that “Everything was better back then”?

These are my hypothesis, bare of any scientific base or statistical evidence, though:


The past is like a menu from which everybody can choose without paying. You can pick anything, frame it, talk about it, call a street after it or whatever. It’s full of things and it’s free.


If you are a Populist, you use the past as a vision, or a benchmark. And because it was so holy that nobody ever can reach this level. Ever! So you are fine. You will be always trying and blaming others for not getting there. The past  is in the heads of your followers and they will keep shining. And so will you.


For the lazy politicians, it is easier to unite the followers around the past than around the future. Why? Because you need to build the future and nobody wants to work!


Interestingly, the older we get, the more positive we perceive the past – is it even true? Maybe time makes it impossible to see the bad things, just the good ones? Maybe bad things expire in our memory faster than the good ones?  Good things last. And this as such is not bad, right?


Anyway, we do not live in the same times. Some of us are well ahead and they live 10-20 years from now in the future. Those are inventors, artists, trend setters… Some live maybe 50 or even 70 years from now in the past. They haven’t even realised that there is internet. And some live just now. An here. An so it goes…


My key takeaways:


1.     THE PAST - LIKE THE FUTURE – IS THE MOST COMMON ESCAPE FROM HERE AND NOW.

 

2.    ONCE WE TAKE THIS EXIT, IT IS VERY HARD TO GET BACK TO THE ROAD.

 

3.    YOU PREACH THE FUTURE TO GET EARLY ADOPTERS TO FOLLOW YOU. YOU PREACH THE PAST IF YOU WANT THE LAST RIGHT 20% OF THE BELL CURVE TO BE YOUR FOLKS.



How to lead now…


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I’ve been thinking about nostalgia and how it affects us in interesting ways. Nostalgia is that feeling of missing the past, especially our “home” and where we grew up.


The word “nostalgia” comes from Greek and means “return home.” It’s about how memories, who we are, and time are connected. Nostalgia makes us long for a home that’s no longer there, like a place from the past that we can’t go back to.


I bet when you walk around your rural town in Poland, it brings back a lot of memories from when you were a kid. It’s like going back in time. Everything seems familiar but also different, like a dream.


Following traditions and doing things the same way…


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Thank you, Luca. That is indeed a complex feeling, sometimes. And usually an emotional one. Whenever I go back to my roots which are places, people, trees, smells, food, silent of a night full of stars... whenever I go there, I go back to my childhood. And every time I am there I experience it through a child's eyes, mind, heart, curiosity and - for some - naivety. When I moved out at the age of 15, I thought I moved for freedom. Later on I have realised that I have moved out for freezing the child in me and for missing it. Missing something that you can have or see from time to time is - at least for…

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