How Does History Repeat?

Can we Improve the Second Time Around?

Robert Trajkovski
3 min readDec 28, 2021
Image by JJ Jordan on Pixabay

The old saying goes that history repeats itself. And that only fools are not aware of this and will suffer because of it.

BUT is this true?

I do believe that history repeats BUT with a twist. It is not exactly the same history/event but it feels like it is.

What is a great example of this?

1918 the world went through a pandemic. It is estimated that 100M people died. At end of 2020, Covid started rocking our worlds. So far 5.4 million people have died.

There are images of people 100 years ago wearing masks just like you see today. They must have thought that they would help stop the spread.

The pandemic repeated itself but we were better prepared to reduce the deadly effects. We have learned what works better faster.

Covid is a stubborn little virus and it keeps mutating. I am sure we are dealing today with mutations of the last epidemic. How do we know? Well, there are people that are alive today that beat the last epidemic and their immune systems show this phenomenon.

This article doesn’t have anything to do with the pandemic BUT to illustrate that even when we label things the same (pandemic then and now) we can not sit idly and expect the same effect and results.

Another example of this type of history repeating itself with a twist phenomenon is entrepreneurship. Someone has a great idea and builds a business. Competitors are seeing the success and want to copy.

The problem that they run into is that they try to copy the business idea completely. What they fail to realize, is that they need a twist for the same idea to look familiar BUT yet different to the consumer.

It is the twist that makes a difference.

Copying does not take into consideration the timing and execution of the original idea. The same idea executed late is a failure. The same idea executed too early is a limited success if not failure.

Notice the picture above. It has some of the elements of Vermeer’s Girl with a pearl BUT yet it has many twists. The lady has eyebrows that look like some pearls. The pearl earring is a hole. The robe is a dress. etc...

The similar but different with a twist aspects of this picture is why this picture attracted my attention. I recognized the similarity to the original BUT yet I appreciated the differences that the photographer introduced.


I hope you take a moment and think through what you are doing in your personal, work, emotional, financial, and all other aspects of your life and ask yourself, “How can I introduce a twist in this?”

Without that twist, you are heading for a failure that you will label as history repeating itself.

My four cents…



Robert Trajkovski

I have led people and projects in Steel/ Power, Refining, Chemicals, Industrial Gasses, Software, Consulting and Academia. I have instructed 73+ courses.