How many times have you told yourself, "in hindsight" I would’ve done (or said) the opposite of what I actually did? From the most mundane situations, to a cataclysmic crisis, hindsight is one of those things you find yourself trotting out as some sort of wishful recreation so that you can relive or at least attempt to redo (in your mind that is) what was already done. In short, if we’re honest about it, hindsight is pretty much the bastard child of regret. (It just doesn't sound as good in the lyrics of a song).
If truth be told, I’ve always had fickle feelings towards the philosophy of hindsight. It always felt like it fell into the ‘shoulda coulda woulda’ bucket, a very deep abyss of futility as far as I’m concerned. By textbook definition, hindsight means “the ability to understand, after something has happened, what should have been done or what caused the event.” It’s one of those, if one had the information or wherewithal beforehand, then such mistake/argument/national crisis would’ve never happened in the first place. I.e. if you were that smart in the first place you wouldn’t be in this mess! You see, kind of pointless. Cause well, no matter how much you bathe in hindsight, you may learn something for next time, but you certainly can’t erase what occurred.
However, when looking at hindsight as a learning tool, the intellectual side gives it credit where credit is due. The way my brain is wired, I am admittedly the type to break down a past event and dissect it for all its worth in hopes to learn from the event in question and not to have a repeat performance – hence, hindsight wins back some of its brownie points. If it’s an argument, I go over it in my head a hundred times, I script that I said this or that, and not that or this, and I suddenly see all the wrong turns I took – 'damn it, that right would’ve been sooo much smoother than the left!' And suddenly one can feel assured that they have it in them somewhere to make the right choices, and hence, do not end up feeling like such an ineffectual moron.
On the flipside, this very thinking can also lead one to believe that they are smarter than they are. Cause 'in hindsight,' one does everything right, do they not? In fact, in hindsight I’m an eloquent genius that ducks and dives like Bond and fends off confrontation like Buddha on Valium. So I suppose I can only see the point of ‘hindsight’ thinking if one truly learns from their mistakes. For example, in hindsight, I should not let the King see where Mommy keeps her chocolate stash as the insatiable despot will want to bathe in dark chocolate until he looks like a coal miner. But, if each time I am pining for chocolate – despite the epiphany I had when strolling down hindsight lane – I go to the drawer and let the King see where it is, then I’m just an idiot destined to repeat my mistakes and raise a chocolate addict for a son.
You see. Hindsight when not used properly can drive you utterly nuts or give you false delusions in terms of your intelligence. So next time you use it, make sure to keep a notepad nearby so that you can tattoo what you learned across your forehead.