Why backward thinking can ruin your life

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

What is backward thinking

Backward thinking has many definitions but generally it refers to the type of thinking that is more attached to the past than the future. A typical backward thinker would always compare his past to his present when he faces a problem to find out what went wrong.

Fort the first instance it might seem like all humans do so. And while that's partly true still backward thinkers distinguish themselves by trying to solve their problem in the terms of the things they did in the past than by thinking about novel methods.

A typical backward thinker might try to analyze why his income didn't increase the way it did in the past then try to come up with solutions based on his past experience or the methods he already tried before.

A forward thinker on the other hand will try to come up with a novel or creative soloution to the problem that he might have never tried before.

Why backward thinking can ruin your life

But why backward thinking is considered bad?
And how come can it ruin someone's life?

Here are some possible reasons why backward thinking can lead to many problems:

  • 1) Kills innovation: When a person keeps thinking of his old strategies whenever he faces problems then probably he will end up getting the same results he used to get. That's if the best case happened. Without innovation the person's goals might never be reached. See How to become innovative
  • 2) Keeps the person stuck in the past: When you get stuck in the past analyzing what went wrong you will fail to see the opportunities that the future presents. Backward thinkers might fail to come up with innovative ways just because they are too attached to what they used to do
  • 3) Prevents growth: A typical backward thinker won't mind improving things as long as he is doing as good as he used to do or as long as he is in a better position than the past. Forward thinkers on the other hand focus on visions and things that didn't yet exist and as a result they are more likely to make bigger achievements.
  • 4) Intense worrying: In my previous article Thinking strategies that lead to worrying i said that when you focus on protecting what you have rather on focusing on getting what you don't have then you are very likely to become a worrier.
  • 5) Depression: In In my book, The ultimate guide to getting over depression i said that depression is all about being emotionally connected to a certain past and failing to see a better future. Backward thinking can also lead to depression because as the person fails to see hope in the future and as he sticks to the methods that don't work he might fail to make a good progress in life
  • 6) Pessimism: Backward thinking leads to pessimism as well. A forward thinker will usually have new innovative methods and creative plans to deal with his new problems where as a backward thinker might remain stuck with methods that won't work. See What causes pessimism

Partial backward thinking is OK

Note that it's totally OK to have a part of you that thinks backwardly as long as another part thinks in the opposite way. There is no problem for example in trying to return to your past glory but if you insisted on using the same methods then probably you are being a backward thinker.

Yes sometimes the past can hold a soloution to a current problem but in many cases a totally new approach is needed if you care about getting totally new results.

I have managed to become a self made millionaire at the age of 28. This didn't happen by chance because i already wrote that goal down five years before i accomplished it. Becoming rich is not about luck, starting big or being intelligent but its all about having certain beliefs about money and life.

In The Ultimate guide to becoming rich i will teach you everything that you need to know in order to become rich.

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