Your past does not define you; but, it’s you who defines how the past will impact your future – for better or for worse. While the past is far from your identity, the way in which you define it has the ability to impact the experiences you create moving forward. If you view circumstances from the past as successful, then they have the power to fuel your drive and enthusiasm towards further success.
The same goes for failures. When you allow yourself to view them as nothing more than failure, then ironically, you also fail to see the important lessons presented by failure, which just perpetuates more of the same.
All too often, we have the tendency to view life’s failures as personal “mistakes.” This not only weighs us down with the idea that we are hopelessly flawed beyond repair; but, it also cripples us from seeing the profound lessons that we are capable of gaining from failed experiences. Why? Because our minds stay far too busy replaying every last detail of the “mistakes” over-and-over again in our heads, until we commit ourselves to the idea that failure = I am a failure.
Talk about driving ourselves crazy! We then wonder why we can’t sleep, stay focused or motivated to take new, more productive actions. We become so bogged down by the fear of failing again that we stifle ourselves from trying anything at all. After all, complete stagnation seems far safer than experiencing another failed opportunity.
Rather than getting caught-up in the “mistakes” of the past, how would the past look if you simply saw the learning opportunities from failed experiences? In other words, how would your past look if you believed the universal truth that there actually ARE NO MISTAKES, and only opportunities to learn and grow? It’s surprising how quickly we can move past failures, if we simply allow them to enlighten us with new tidbits of knowledge that aid us in creating better futures.
Failed opportunities from our past are often our greatest tools to teach us more about ourselves, how we can develop and grow, what we need to succeed and who we ultimately want to be. It’s how we incorporate these lessons from the past that determine our futures. It’s also up to us to reframe the past in a way that facilitates guidance towards our biggest goals and greatest opportunities. We either frame the past in a way that enables us to grow, or we risk getting framed by a past, which will only keep us where we’ve been – like it or not.
I read a great quote today that sheds perfect light on this matter:
You are the sail, not the wind. You cannot change the past, but you have the power to change the way it influences your future.