In this episode, we discuss why our past failures (or successes) don't predict our future successes (or failures). Then, more importantly, we get into how to dismantle that idea so you can clear a path for future change and growth.
There is a tension between using our past to our advantage while also not getting stuck in it. And striking that balance is tricky. Cutting ourselves completely free from our past is not the goal - but learning to use our past thoughtfully, can be.
- Our past does not define who we are or predict our future results- unless we fail to learn from our missteps and continue taking the same actions.
- If we allow our past to stop us from taking action we will never make progress.
- Accept the idea that we can and do change, whether it is a purposeful change or just a side effect of time, we are not the same person we were in the past.
- Once we let go of the past, we no longer have to feel the need to fix ourselves - we can simply commit to a journey of self-improvement, where we work on being a better version of ourselves each day.
Lab Experiment: An exercise to explore the ways in which your thoughts about your past may be informing or perhaps limiting your future
Write a paragraph describing yourself and your life as it was five years ago. Jot down where you lived, what you were doing, your relationships. Try to remember what dreams you had or the goals you were working toward, any major successes or failures that preceded that period of your life. And finally, see if you can remember what you believed about yourself then. What did you think was possible or impossible for you? What did you see as your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
Now write a paragraph describing yourself and your life as it is now. Your current circumstances, occupation, relationships, dreams, goals. What major successes and failures have you experienced this year. What do you believe about yourself now? What do you think is possible or impossible today? What do you see as your greatest strengths and weaknesses today?
And now compare these two versions. How do you feel about what you see? Are you surprised to realize how much has or hasn’t changed? Did you fail or succeed in any new or interesting ways? Are you holding on to dreams, goals, beliefs that are no longer relevant or true?
Finally, write a paragraph describing yourself and your life as you’d like it to be in 5 years. What goals would you like to have achieved? What failures might you need to experience in order to reach them? What would you like to believe about yourself five years from now? What would you like your greatest strengths to be?