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Five Lessons from History

Voltaire

“History never repeats itself. Man always does.”

Voltaire

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Five Lessons from History

Five Lessons from History

https://www.collaborativefund.com/blog/five-lessons-from-history/

collaborativefund.com

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Key Ideas

Voltaire

Voltaire

“History never repeats itself. Man always does.”

History lessons

The most important lessons from history are the takeaways that are so broad they can apply to other fields, other historical times, and other people. 

The point is that the more specific a lesson of history is, the less relevant it becomes.

Adopting new views 

One of the interesting parts of the Great Depressions from history is not just how the economy collapsed, but how quickly and dramatically people’s views changed when it did.

People suffering from immediate, unexpected adversity are likely to adopt views they previously thought absurd. It’s not until your life is in full chaos (with your hopes and dreams your dreams unsure) that people begin taking ideas they’d never consider before seriously.

Reversion to the mean

It occurs when people persuasive enough to make something grow don’t have the type of personality that allows them to stop before pushing too far.

Reversion to the mean is one of the most common stories in history. Part of the reason it happens is because the same personality traits that push people to the top also increase the odds of pushing them over the edge.

Unsustainable things can sustain for a long time

Yes, decisions should be made with facts. But in reality, to those directly involved, they’re made with contextualized facts (with things like social signaling, time horizon, office politics, government politics, year-end bonus targets, making up for past mistakes, insecurities, etc). The easiest way to answer the question “What should I do?” is usually to be guided by a story that makes sense to you. Not a statistic or pure facts, but a good tale.

Progress and setbacks

There are lots of overnight tragedies. There are rarely overnight miracles.

Progress happens too slowly for people to notice; setbacks happen too fast for people to ignore. Growth means compounding and that always takes time. Destruction is driven by single points of failure, which can happen in seconds.

Wounds heal, scars last

There’s a long history of people adapting and rebuilding while the scars of their ordeal remain forever, changing how they think about risk, reward, opportunities, and goals for as long as they live.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Making Things Happen

A leader's vision may or may not be that different from the next person's; what can set them apart is the vigour with which they pursue that st...

Boldness Of Vision

Leaders need to have a relatable and understandable long-term view of where an organization is headed.

When faced with the issue of slavery before the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln’s vision was that the United States should be “a nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. "

Changing The Mood

Changing the mood of an organization can be enough to stave off collapse and foster progress.
Nelson Mandela changed the mood of a divided South Africa coming out of the brink of civil war and facing a future with a high likelihood of inter-racial conflict. Once elected, he ran the new multiracial government with a light but decisive touch and set the tone – relaxed, inclusive, cheerful – that would create a new mood in the country.

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The Great Depression
The Great Depression

.. was a devastating economic collapse which started in the US in 1929, lasting a decade. Europe was already struggling post the WWI recession, while the US was thriving. As borrowings and stoc...

Wall Street Down

On 29th October 1929, the infamous crash of Wall Street happened, where 30 million dollars were lost in a week, leading to customers rushing to withdraw their money, known as the ‘bank run’.

The entire world felt the capitalistic fall and realized that a boom leads to a bust, eventually. The disastrous effects felt around the world showed how economically interconnected the world had become.

A New Deal

In 1933, then-President Franklin Roosevelt promoted his recovery path of Relief, Recovery and Reform, to give shape to the slow and arduous reform process that will take decades.

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Know When To Step Down

Often leaders have chosen to stay on when they should have bowed out. Without intending to, they often undo much of their own work and cause problems for their successors.

An increasin...

Don’t Believe Your Own Propaganda

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the father of modern Turkey, accounted for his limitations by issuing an order to ignore instructions he gave in the evenings – when he liked to carouse with his friends. But history has far more examples of leaders whose convictions of infallibility grow in proportion to their power, eventually leading to the failure of their plans.

The Traps That Power Lays

A job can subtly warp your judgement so that you only see things from one perspective.

Think of Richard Nixon trying to use the institutions of the American government to shut down the Watergate scandal. Or the unexpectedly long American war in Vietnam.

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