PFA 009: Never look back at your past with regrets as your future does not live there.

The Prepare for Awesome Podcast

Where I want to educate, inspire, motivate and empower you to strive higher, push further, give more, do more, be more as you become all you possibly can be.

Never look back at your past with regrets as your future does not live there.

PFA 009: Show notes

In this episode, we will be talking about self-belief and your dreams.

#NoRegrets #Regret #Yesterday #PrepareForAwesome #Influence #Responsibility #Inspire #Motivate #Goals #Dreams

On today’s show, we will be talking about you and your past.  We will be looking at what association it has with your future and how you can use the past to your advantage.

So you and your past!  What does it have to do with your future?  Does it influence who you are today?  What impact does it have on who you will become tomorrow?

Let me begin this discussion with the following:

You are responsible for your life, your thoughts, your feelings, your actions and for the results you get in your life and in your business.  You have the ability to stop and change anything you have control over and are responsible for.

So if for example, you are unhappy with your thoughts, you have the ability to stop the way in which you are thinking and change it to be what you want it to be.  From today, you can think the thoughts which will make you a better person, a more successful person, a strong person.  This is within you control.

Once you take responsibility for your life, your thoughts, your actions and your attitudes, you will begin to change your results and be in a stronger position to respond well to those circumstances over which you have no control.

For example, you have no control over the thoughts, actions and attitudes of other people, whether they are close to you or you have never met or heard of them.  You have no control over what the oil price does or the decisions made by the Prime Minister or President of your country.  You have no control over the decisions a drunk or stoned person makes when they climb behind the wheel of a car.  You have no control over the taxes you have to pay as these are set by the government.

So you can’t be responsible for those, but you are in full control of your thoughts, actions and attitudes as well as how your respond to the uncontrollable stuff.

With that in mind, let us then talk about the past, your past and where it sits in relation to the future.

Lets be honest from the beginning here.  It would be a very weird place to live if our pasts had absolutely no impact on today or the future as someone recently suggested.  That does not never begin to make sense.

Yesterday you made decisions and took action on those decisions, without knowing what today would bring.  Whether those decisions prove right or wrong, they are out there and will do what they must do and you will have to accept responsibility from those outcomes.  Those outcomes could be obvious in a day or 2 and may be inconsequential or they may only manifest themselves in a month or years time and could come back and bite you in the rear end.

It is the way life is.

We have all heard people say that you can’t change the past or that the past is in the past.  You may have heard people say, ‘Don’t live in the past,’  OR ‘You are living in the past.’

And while I completely agree with those facts and have used many of these phrases myself, we all have to deal daily with the consequences of our past actions, decisions, thoughts, attitudes and even the consequences of those things we had no control over.

The past is an inescapable reality in our daily lives as we move forward, which we need to understand and deal with.  The experiences of the past are the filters through which we look at the future and our results in the past affect how we perceive the challenges of tomorrow.  We use the past as a measure for the plans we set out and the future we envisage for ourselves, our families and our businesses.

We use the past to judge our current success and to define the success we want in the future.  We use it as a measure for the house we want to live in, in 5 years time or the holiday we want to have next year.

We use our past experience or perceptions as a protection mechanism against our present and future circumstances.

Clearly the past plays a massive role in our daily lives and in the future we envisage and there is nothing you or I can do about that fact.  The simple fact is that your past, all the good, all the bad and all the ugly, makes you who you are today.

Whether those things which have happened in the past where in your control or not, they are in the past and you can never change them.

However you can learn from them and you certainly don’t have to live in that past, despite the consequences.

Let me explain what I mean.

Firstly, living in the past means carrying the baggage of the past wherever you go.  All of your regrets, your hurt, your negative perceptions, your negative or untrue beliefs, all of the things people have done to you.  All of that stuff which makes up your past is dragged around with you and constantly replayed over and over again in your mind.

But it also includes all of your past successes and triumphs.  Dragging those around with you is also living in the past.

Dragging the past around with you will make you bitter and angry.  It will manifest in so many areas of life that for many people it becomes unbearable.  This baggage can become so weighty that it drags you down to a place you really don’t want to be.

However, your past can be and should be a great educator and a useful source of good information.

One of the greatest inventors of all time is quoted as saying, ‘I have not failed.  I have just found 10000 ways that don’t work.’

Now whether he said that or not, is not the question.  The question rather is, ‘Was he right?’

And the answer is Yes he was right.  Why?

Because the sentiment is right.  He was using his past experience to learn from and to work out a better way to make his goal achievable.  When something did not work out, he asked why and how it could be solved.  And then applied the lessons he had learned to the next attempt.

And that is the value of the past.

I am not a huge basketball fan, but like most people around the world, I have heard of Michael Jordan.  For those of you who don’t know who he is, here is a snapshot.

Michael Jordan is considered to be one of the greatest basketball players of all time and it is said that he single-handedly redefined the idea of a basketball star.  He led the Chicago Bulls to 6 titles and was MVP 5 times.  He is a businessman, actor and billionaire and his name is mentioned easily along with other NBA stars like Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal and LeBron James.

However, that is not his whole story.  His first marriage failed after 17 years, he lost more games than most players have game time, missed goals more time than the average player takes shots at goal and missed every time he was given the game-winning shot.

You see, he viewed his past as a stepping stone to the future success he wanted.  Every time he was on the court or in training, he was learning from his mistakes, determined to succeed as he moved forward.

So why have I mentioned these stories and these people?
Because they made the choice to learn from the past and to let it go while moving on with the future.
So how can you do the same?

Well, here are 5 things you can do which will help you down the road to letting go of the baggage you are carrying around.

1) STOP ASSUMING THE PAST IS ON AUTO REPEAT.

Every day is a new day, with new challenges and new opportunities.  Nothing is the same as it was the day before.

Except that is for your thoughts, attitudes and actions.  If you assume the past is on auto-repeat, you will have learned nothing from your past failures or past successes and will respond in exactly the same way in which you had previously.

When I was in the financial services environment, it was always said of investment, past performance is no guarantee of future direction.  It is an indicator at best and can be a deceiver at worst.  And the same is true with your past.  If you assume the past is on auto-repeat into the future, you almost certainly will be wrong.

Just because something turned out badly yesterday, does not automatically mean it will turn out badly tomorrow.  Ask yourself why it went wrong and what you could do better next time.

2) STOP PUNISHING YOURSELF

You can never let go of your past baggage if you constantly remind yourself of those things you have done, good and bad.

Many people live in the, ‘I wish I had done XYZ 10 years ago, then things would be different,’ or ‘If only I had this information when I made the decision I made last week,’ world.

Here is a fact, everyone I have met has regrets about their past.  Whether it’s past associations, friendships, decisions, jobs we have taken or not taken, we all have regrets.

For example, I wish I had never smoked, but I did.  And worrying about it now does me no good at all.  There may be consequences of smoking, but those consequences may only appear in 20 years time.  But I can’t live with that hanging over my head for the rest of my life.

Let those things remain in the past.

3) IT’S SAFE TO THINK ABOUT YOUR PAST, TO ANALYSE IT AND TO UNDERSTAND WHY YOU MADE THE CHOICES YOU MADE.

You see if you stop punishing yourself for your past, you can analyse it critically and dissect it to discover what you can do better.  What you can improve on, etc.

But it has to be from a safe place. A safe place in the sense of, you are no longer feeling guilt, shame, embarrassment or pride for the successes or the failures of your past.  You have recognised these things have happened, you have accepted responsibility for them, learned the lessons you can learn and you have moved on to today.

It also means you have forgiven and asked to be forgiven.
This makes it a safe place for you and others.

4) RECOGNISE THAT THERE ARE THINGS YOU CAN CONTROL AND THINGS YOU CAN’T CONTROL

In spite of the best plans we draw up, the best long-term vision we set out and despite the best efforts we put in, we all know that there are many things which are beyond our control.  And these things can and often do cause our best-laid plans, visions and efforts to fall apart.

I did mention some of these uncontrollable things earlier in this podcast.  And there are so many things which can go wrong which we have no control over, but even more importantly, can’t or don’t see coming.

For example, as a golf fan, I don’t know of anyone who could have foreseen Tiger Woods’ back injury problems as a result of redesigning his golf swing.  But it happened and he had no control over it.  That is life.

However, what you can control is your thoughts, attitude and your actions.  Exactly as Tiger Woods did.  He worked hard to come back to full fitness and return to the game he is so incredibly good at.  But he only accomplished that by being responsible for his thoughts, attitude and his actions.

5) RECOGNISE YOU CAN CHANGE YOUR FUTURE

Success means so many things to so many different people.  For one person it could be having £100000 in the bank, for another it could be to ensure their family is fed for the month and for another it could be discovering the cure for cancer.

You see, it is not for anyone else to define your future success in life, but for you to define it.  Which means that no matter where you are right now, it does not have to be like that eternally.  It is about being who you know you are and who you know you can become.

Whether you are the wealthiest person on the planet or the poorest, tomorrow will almost certainly be different from today.  It will set up new opportunities and new challenges, the same as yesterday and today did.  What will define your success will be how your respond to each day by grabbing the opportunities and working through, around, under or over the challenges.

And the ability to do that begins by understanding that the future need not be the same as in the past.  And understanding that the power to change the future to be different from the past lays in your hands.

So there are 5 things you can do which will help you down the road to letting go of the baggage you are carrying around with you and this week, I want to encourage you to identify your baggage and to let it go.

So that it for this episode.  Thanks for listening.  I look forward to chatting with you again in the next episode.

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Thanks again for your time today and I look forward to chatting with you on the next episode where I will again share with you ideas, tips and tools to help you become the best version of yourself you could possibly be.

Have a great day.  And remember to be awesome today.

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