Live Through the Windshield, Not the Rearview Mirror

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I love talk radio.


Colin Cowherd – ESPN Radio Host

Specifically, really good, polarizing, entertaining, talk radio.  My favorite radio personalities are those who excel at making an interesting argument.  I was listening to the December 12th podcast from “The Herd“, Colin Cowherd’s national daily radio show, and he was talking about the recent job openings in college football and how the landscape has evolved over the last decade.  Then he said this,

“You have to live your life through the windshield, not the rearview mirror.”

I immediately hit pause on the broadcast and sat back in my chair.  Did I hear what I thought I heard?  I quickly pressed the rewind button and went back into the podcast.  I listened again and it was exactly what I heard.  I scrambled for a pen to make sure I could transcribe the words knowing it would be my next post.

After sitting and reflecting for a while, I realized just how much of an epidemic it is in our country to live life in the rearview mirror.  Do me a favor. Take two minutes and think about the past.  What came up?

  • Bad Decisions
  • Business Failures
  • Regrets
  • Relationship Failures
  • Maybe even BIG Accomplishments (although most thinking is directed at the negative)

“The only thing we know about the future is that it will be different.” ~ Peter Drucker

Why is it that after hundreds of failures, someone can be successful?  On the other hand, why is it that after being so successful, great companies (or football programs) come to a screeching halt?

It’s easy to see great companies (and football programs in Colin’s reference) get hung up on what they accomplished in the last 10, 20, even 50 years.  Sorry Michigan football fans, this is you.  This is also what happened to the American auto industry in the 80’s and 90’s. Their trophy rooms are full of hardware outlining numerous feats and accomplishments.  But, none of them are recent.  They’ve gotten fat and happy, and spent too much time admiring the rearview mirror.

Conversely, how can a life filled with failure, do the exact opposite and produce success?  I believe the person makes a decision to live life through the view of the windshield.  All that matters is what is in front of them, and how can they best apply their passion, knowledge and hustle to achieve their goal.  Sure they’ve failed.  Who hasn’t?  They chose to use failure as a learning experience, and not as a scar for eternal pain and suffering.

My rearview mirror: I have many accomplishments. I’ve made many mistakes. I have regrets.

My windshield: I have an amazing list of opportunities and big goals in front of me.  Watch what happens next!

ACTION ITEM: I’m working every day to live my life through the view of the windshield.  Constantly pushing forward, while learning from what’s in my rearview mirror.