Mindstate Motivation Blog

Your Past Does Not Have to Be Your Future

b2ap3_thumbnail_00289439_20140213-190526_1I’ve used the following quote in prior posts but it is so powerful and on-point for this one that I am compelled to repeat it.  “The past is valuable as a guidepost but dangerous if used as a hitching post.”  When I researched the origin of that quote on the internet, the first attribution that appeared was for L. Thomas Holdcroft.  He taught theology for many years in the U.S. and Canada.  However, it is the philosophy espoused in his quotation that is important, here.

The essence of Mr. Holdcroft’s message is your future can be dramatically damaged, if you base your thinking solely on the mistakes in your past.  As he suggests, draw from the experiences of your past but don’t dwell on them.  Use those experiences to improve your approach to your future and then let them go.  Waging a psychological war with yourself over your stupid mistakes in the past will deter you from making good mistakes in the future.

The fact is achieving success is never a perfect pursuit.  The more mistakes you make; the more you learn from them; the quicker you forget them; the greater will be your success.  The people who don’t manage their past experiences as suggested in the previous sentence are destined to a future that is a duplication of their past.  Sounds pretty painful to me!

Let’s be clear…the future is something that has not yet occurred.  The past is something that has occurred.  You can choose to progress in the future by giving up your past.  What do you want out of your life…The potential of making progress…Or, the pain of reliving your past? 

If progress is your choice, then change is just a choice away.  Force yourself to sit down one quiet afternoon and list as many of the painful experiences from your past that you can.  In other words, allow yourself to purge the negative emotions attached to those experiences by getting them down on paper.  Once you’ve done that go back through the list but this time your attitude is one directed at finding the good that came out of each experience. Don’t wimp out here!  There is always some good that can come out of every experience, if you take the time to find it.  Finally, note in a separate document what you learned that can be positively applied to your future and then destroy the original list. 

You, now, have the basis for your progress in the future.  That basis is your insurance that your past does not become your future.

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