Many people have learned to try understanding people more through the lens of their past than future. The old mythology, predating current neuroscience, had it that the future is largely an extension of the past. If we knew someone's past we could predict the arc of their future. People who still live by this mythology will stand and hold a phone connected to all the shared knowledge in the world and mindlessly repeat a quote that there is nothing new under the sun. Really.
Reality it, we have a much richer and present sense of someone when we ask them about their future wishes and dreams rather than their past stories.