We have all met one person who had all the ingredients to lead a successful life: wealth, great background, stable family and quality education, but yet they ended up as bitter, unsuccessful persons. We have also heard of those that came from humble or bad backgrounds and yet rose to greatness even if they had all the variables working against them. How is it possible that the latter was able to lead successful lives and become wealthy or at least successful in their trade even if they had everything working against them?
There are several variables that influenced your current personality and life situation. Family, environment, emotions, and local community can all trigger different reactions to each person depending on their personality and genetic disposition.
It’s a normal and healthy habit to regret past actions. Reviewing our past is alright as long as we do it to plan ahead. However, the problem lies when people stay stuck lamenting about a previous event in their lives; that they no longer yield the power to change it.
1. Living in the past robs you of the opportunity to enjoy the present
I had to learn this the hard way. Every now and then I still snap back to my old negative ways of living in the past, regardless if those are fond or bad memories.
Decisions and paths we take are usually a consequence of our personalities, which are constantly maturing as time goes on. Mistakes made by us play a big role in our process of maturing. You can’t change the past, so get over it. Otherwise you will keep limping along in the present and future, thus missing out current opportunities.
Being stuck lamenting your past can cloud you from seeing good things happening right now. Make an effort to leave your past behind and forgive yourself for your mistakes. To live in the past is to lead a toxic way of life.
2. Wear your battle scars with pride
3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. Romans 5:3-5
It sucks that we don’t always get our way and bad things happen to us every now and then, but let’s think about the positive outcomes of misfortunes occurring in our daily lives. Both of those things bring endurance and character to us. If those things didn’t happen to any of us we wouldn’t be as strong and experienced as we are today.
I’m not asking you to be grateful or enjoy misfortunes. What I’m asking you is to make an effort to see the positive side of it. Create the habit of thinking that every bad event is an opportunity to become stronger and wiser, which will help you to avoid making the same mistakes in your future. To have past experience is to have a strong ally for your decision making skills.
3. It takes time and several attempts to succeed at something
People nowadays have the naive idea that its possible to go viral in their first attempt at doing something even if they don’t have years of practice in that skill. Life is hard to those naive enough to believe in fables of instant success. When they find out things don’t work that way they end up upset like a spoiled brat who wants a new toy. To live with delusions of grandeur is to ask to be beaten by the school of hard knocks.
I’m not going to promise you that effort and time doing something equals success. But what I can promise you is that in some way or another you are going to get some experience out of it that might come in handy for your future challenges.
4. Write a diary daily
The human brain is flawed. It can easily forget and twist past memories according to its current state. Mr. Freud knew that and thus he kept paper-based records of his dreams and thoughts. That is how he developed the Oedipus-Complex concept in psychoanalysis. Unless you want to have a twisted version of what happened several years or decades ago you should start writing daily about your thoughts, dreams, life events and feelings.
Diaries are a great way to store and accurately relive our past memories for self analysis purposes. To trust in the memories of your human brain is to trust in deception. The human brain is a flawed piece of hardware especially when it comes to the memory department.
Nonetheless, I strongly recommend you to keep your writings in paper-based records to assure your privacy. Having a personal diary in a computer is never safe, even if stored inside a PC disconnected from the internet. The safest way to keep your “records” from being exposed is to write it in a notebook and stash it in a very safe place.
To sum it up, we all have our sad stories to tell. But the key difference between individuals that end up as bitter, unsuccessful persons and those that are able to move on and still build successful lives is that the latter chooses to use his past mistakes as his strength and main motivator for winning in life. Remember, the clock is ticking and every minute you let it go to waste is not going to come back. Use the most of the time you have left in here.