One phenomenon I frequently see people suffer from is ‘induced amnesia’, NOT ‘clinical amnesia’. Please note the difference. Clinical amnesia is defined as memory loss or the inability to remember events for a period of time, often due to brain injury, illness, or the effects of drug and alcohol. Induced amnesia on the other hand, is a sham attempt to deliberately feign forgetfulness of past experiences, events or occurrences.
We are all shaped by our life’s experiences, and the tendency for those experiences to influence our actions in certain circumstances cannot be understated. Unfortunately, while navigating the climb towards success, we may be met with thorns, thistles and briers which may make the journey more cumbersome and daunting. However, when we finally get to the apex of the mountain, maybe through the help of other mountaineers, how do we treat the people behind us, trying to climb and reach the same height we have attained? Do we reach out to them, ensuring that they avoid the thorn-riddled paths and experience an easier climb? Or do we allow them figure it out by themselves, and experience the same hardships that we encountered in our own journeys? Let me illustrate my point with this story.
With several years of managerial experience from his home country, Ian looked forward to continuing along the same path when he immigrated to the United States for an advanced degree. However, 3 years after completing his Master’s degree, Ian found out that he was no where close to becoming the program manger in his career field, like he had been in his home country. One day, in the fast food chain where he worked the evening shift, he struck a conversation with one of the guests he served, who immediately connected with him. This man happened to be the CEO of a multi-national company and gave Ian his contact information.Ian followed up on that contact, and was guided on the path to getting his certification in project management, and today, Ian leads a team in an organization he cares very much about. He had finally achieved his dream. But you know the stale part of this story?
Years into his managerial role in the US, a younger immigrant from his home country was introduced to Ian, to guide him through his career search after completing his own Degree program. You know what Ian’s response was? “I suffered a lot in getting to where I am now, he should figure it out himself. I didn’t get here overnight, he should also suffer the stress”. Can you imagine that!
Ian was feigning induced amnesia in his decision to turn his back against someone that needed his help, forgetting that he was also helped by that CEO, in his journey to success. He obviously did not cherish those past experiences, and thus he could not pay it forward for someone else.
In life, irrespective of what we go through, our first disposition to others should be kindness. Kindness for our fellow man; paying it forward so that others can have an easier ride.
Just because you had a rough ride with that venture or assignment, doesn’t mean others have to experience the same thing that you did. To the extent possible, share love, kindness and goodness with others; and more especially, if you were helped by others in achieving your life’s goals. Don’t be selfish; pay it forward. Trust me when I say there is more than enough goodness to share, to make this world a better place.
So, the next time you find yourself in a position to make ‘that’ experience more worthwhile for someone else, cherish those moments and continue to pay it forward.
To your continued success. Cheers!!!