In Retrospect: Looking backward in order to move forward

“Your current conditions are echoes of your past choices”

~ Robin Sharma


In retrospect, when we look back on our lives, if we are honest with ourselves, we cannot help but to agree with the above quote; our current conditions, good or bad, are echoes of our past choices. 


If we were to take a survey of our past, we will begin to see the connection between choices and consequences. While we never want to live in the past or constantly dwell on the past, examining our past can help us to move forward intentionally.


Winston Churchill once said, “The further back you can look, the further forward you can see.” This simply means that when we look back on our lives we see what led to the things that are presently occurring in our lives and when we see that, we can figure out how the things that we are currently doing will affect our future. As Edmund Burke once said, “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.”


There are three areas of our lives that we should examine in retrospect in order to move forward


1. Past Hurts

There are many persons today who may be missing out on opportunities in life because they are holding on to past hurts. Instead of holding on to those hurts and allowing them to permanently take away all joy in your life, learn to look back on past hurts in retrospect to determine how things could have possibly been different. Was the hurt that you experienced something that you could have avoided? 


If so, examine what you may have done wrong so that you may move forward more intelligently. If it was something that happened in your childhood or something that you had no control over, then you also have a choice. You can choose whether you want to live with regret or to let it go and move on with your life. 


Some people live their lives for years being resentful or holding grudges against persons who may have hurt them in the past. Often the other person may be living a good life not even aware of the fact that they caused you such pain. Someone once said, “Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” In other words, you are only hurting yourself by holding the grudge. Instead of holding that grudge or dwelling on the hurt, look at it in retrospect, learn from it and move on. You may even give that past hurt, that pain, a purpose by using your story to help others.


2. Past Failures

There are many persons who are paralyzed because of past failures; they are afraid to try again because of the fear of possibly failing another time. Instead of being paralyzed by the fear of failure, we need to learn to look back on those past failures in retrospect and examine what may have caused those failures. We need to do an honest self-evaluation and take responsibility for any part we may have played in causing the failure. When we look back in retrospect we should be able to put things in perspective and move forward avoiding making the same mistakes.


3. Past Successes 

Success is always a cause for celebration. When we succeed at anything we set out to do, we deserve to feel a sense of pride and joy. However, we may celebrate one success too long that we become relaxed and not fully prepared for other challenges. 


Don Shula, a former coach for the Miami Dolphins, holds the NFL record for the most career wins, 347 over 32 seasons. He led the Dolphins to two Super Bowl victories, including the one that capped the only perfect season in NFL history. In an interview, Shula said that he did not dwell on the past. 


He said that he had a “24 hour rule,” a policy of looking forward to the next challenge instead of dwelling on the previous victory or failure. He allowed himself, his coaching team and players 24 hours to celebrate a victory or brood over a defeat. 


The next day it was time for them to put the victory or failure behind them and start concentrating their energy on preparing for the next game.


Sometimes after a successful period in life, one may fail, begin to dwell on the failure and simply give up. Instead of dwelling on the failures, you may look back on the successful period in retrospect to discover what it was that made you succeed. Reflect on those things that you did in order to succeed and move on with the same determination.


Remember, your current conditions are echoes of your past choices. If you’re not happy with your current conditions, look back on your life in retrospect to help you move forward more intentionally. It will help you to see the connection between the choices you made in the past and the consequences you face today. “The further back you can look the further forward you can see”


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Published  Thursday, February 9, 2017 


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