Our reactions are driven by the past and, as such, are always a limitation. They are always the same or very similar, so there may be incremental change, but very slow progress. So, what is the most effective way to use the past?
Since the past is the foundation for creating the future, like a solid place to stand, and our future determines the action we take daily, the past can be a key to what we are able to see as possible. This is not true if we just continually react which is a very limited way to learn. If we are not learning we begin to atrophy. Life is a long continuous climb up the hill. There is no place to get to, like “someday.” There is just today.
Okay, how do we best use the past? My answer is simple and often times difficult. Create a powerful relationship with failure.
Since failure is something human beings have a lot of difficulty owning, what do we do? Address the facts, in other words, address what happened. No judgements, blame, excuses or reasons.
Second question—what did I learn? If you are straight about what you learned, initiate a practice on whatever that is. Just knowing you failed will not get the job done. The dog will still be eating your homework. If there is nothing to learn, let it go and get on with your life.
One thing that may be missing is your knowledge of the history of those who have gone before you in your chosen field or just life itself. For example, how can we really appreciate the Constitution if we don’t know the people who created it and what they went through to make it happen?
Do we really appreciate Babe Ruth’s record 60 home runs and what Hank Aaron went through to break it? Or, Byron Nelson’s eleven wins in a row and eighteen total for the 1945 season with wood-shafted clubs? His efforts were huge in the growth of the PGA that produced millions of dollars for charity and the players’ pockets. Stand in the past and create your future as a possibility.