The 3 Lessons history teaches us

The 3 things that history teaches us!

By, Sibin Sabu (Mechanical, 2010-14)

We have all learnt history at some point in our school days and I have no intention to go into that. Instead, I have tried to encapsulate the essence of history, and the message it gives us!

The first thing that came to mind was that the word impossible simply does not exist in the annals of history. Whatever was deemed impossible in the past has been rendered possible today thanks to the focused effort put in by someone or the other, simply because he believed it was possible. Until a few decades ago, people looked at the night sky with long powerful telescopes. They couldn’t think of a day when people could set foot in those far-off places in the galaxyNow, we hear of it almost every day, due to which we fail to appreciate the possibilities we have before us today.

In the 1670’s Sir Isaac Newton calculated that a day will come when man will travel at over 40 miles an hour. Hearing this, the great philosopher Voltaire ridiculed him saying, “Doesn’t he know that if man traveled 40 miles an hour, he would suffocate and his heart would stop?” That was because during those days, the fastest mode of travel was by chariots! With benefit of hindsight, we may find this funny. However this simple incident speaks volumes for the fact that nothing is impossible.

The second lesson we can learn is “the power of an individual”. We often underestimate ourselves. As someone once said, the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do! There is no limit to what an individual can achieve and become. In fact, the only limit is that which exists in the minds of individuals. History is full of people, people who have challenged the dogmas, individuals who sacrificed their own interests for the benefit of the masses, great men who went to greater lengths to safeguard the interests of humanity.

Gandhiji mobilized masses across different cultures and languages alike, at a time when there was no microphone. Abraham Lincoln advocated for the freedom of slaves when not even a single slave demanded to be set free.  Galileo, Leonardo Da Vinci, Martin Luther King etc are examples of people who rose above the rest, and showed us the “potential” power every individual has! There have been other men, like Hitler and Osama Bin Laden, who show us the other side of things. It would be an understatement if we say that the power every individual is capable of wielding amounts to such that it could even be frightening! Everything depends on what our attitude is.

The third and the most important lesson is that no one really learns from history! History teaches us that impossible is nothing. It clearly illustrates that there is no limit to what we can achieve. It proves beyond a point that dreams do come true. However, here we are, stubbornly refusing to believe in our power, afraid of pursuing our dreams, assuming things to be impossible and not daring to step out of our cocoon. Once we truly recognize this fact, we will learn to dream big, and achieve great things.

The opportunity is there for everyone to leave their mark in whatever they do, and to stand tall above the rest. It is a question of whether or not we accept the challenge. The choice is ours. After all, it is our choices that script our destiny!

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