Dare to live without limits

Bryan Golden

Learn from the past but don’t live in it

Drowning in the past occurs when you become so stuck in what has already happened that you are not focusing on what you are doing today. Your past then becomes an anchor which prevents you from moving forward. Drowning in the past is a choice, just as moving forward is a choice. You decide which strategy to take.
Drowning in the past has numerous negative consequences. These include stress, anxiety and depression. Other symptoms include self-destructive behavior such as drinking, drugs, or eating disorders. Various physical ailments including high blood pressure, headaches, and sleep disorders may also result.
You’ve undoubtedly heard the phase, “Hindsight is 20/20.” This means that if you could go back in time, knowing what you know now, you would never make a mistake. Although this is true, going back in time is impossible.
Learn from the past, don’t ignore it. The past teaches you what worked and what didn’t. Repeat successful behavior while eliminating unsuccessful actions. Mistakes happen. Not only are they are a normal part of life, they are an essential feature of the road to success. You lean more from your mistakes than when all works perfectly.
Mistakes are an anchor when you don’t learn from them and then move forward. Living in constant regret, or continual denial, shackles you to the past. Break free by concentrating on finding solutions for your mistakes.
Don’t punish yourself for past mistakes. Additional suffering won’t improve your situation. The best way of dealing with mistakes is by learning from them and not repeating them. The knowledge you gain from understanding what went wrong and why, is essential for succeeding now and in the future.
Becoming afraid to move forward because of past mistakes traps you in the past. Just because something has gone wrong in the past does not mean it has to happen in the future. You are free to change strategies as needed to bring about your desired results. Failure only occurs when you give up.
You leave the past by living in the present. What you do today determines what tomorrow will be like. The only direction in life is forward. Your past is a stepping stone to an improved future.
You are not a victim. Don’t blame anyone for decisions you have made. Bad decisions can be mitigated by making better decisions as you move forward. Take responsibility for your actions. You are in control of your life.
Recognize what has happened and why. If something is outside of your control, let it go. It’s a waste of energy trying to change things you can’t. Devote your efforts to improving circumstances you can influence. Make a decision as to what your next step forward will be, and then take action.
You have no control over what others have done in the past or what they will do in the future. You may have no idea as to why people acted the way they did. Don’t waste time trying to figure it out. Getting caught up trying to determine what you could have done to alter the other person’s behavior leads to endless frustration. All you have control over are your thoughts, actions, and responses.
Pulling yourself out of the past leads to a brighter future. Discard unsuccessful behaviors and emotions. Commit to living in the present and move forward. Have a list of meaningful, positive goals you are pursuing. Leave the past behind and move forward one step at a time.

NOW AVAILABLE: "Dare to Live Without Limits," the book. Visit www.BryanGolden.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at bryan@columnist.com or write him c/o this paper.  2018 Bryan Golden



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