The Ever Present Past

On September 18, 2016, in The Pass It On Podcast, The WestermaNation, by Scott Westerman

By Scott Westerman

Listen to an audio version of this message.

Scott’s Maxim: “Most of our bad juju is self created and a result of continuing to think about what we might have done, instead of what we still can do.”

Class reunions are a time for reconnection and reflection. As the years pass, people grow and change. Many of the people we knew during high school and college end up leading very different lives than we expected. Your popularity then doesn’t guarantee your happiness now. Outcasts and introverts can blossom. The “most likely to succeed” sometimes don’t.

Memories inevitably flood back as you recognize now unfamiliar faces you used to know. And if they open up to you about their adventures, regret may creep into the conversation.

What’s keeping you up at night? That’s on the short list of questions I ask alumni whenever we are one on one. Almost always the answers end up being about things that might happen and things that have already happened.

Worrying about the future is useful only to the extent that we channel that energy into productive activities that influence positive outcomes.

Worrying about the past is a total waste of time.

Wise sentiments. Now, if we could just convince ourselves to believe them.

The “ever present past” keeps us from living in the now. We relive past mistakes, things we wish we had not said or done, missed opportunities, hearts we have broken, people we offended, anger felt toward those who have hurt us. And not just what happened yesterday. Many of us are still paying penance for things we did years ago.

This is wasted energy.

Life eventually marks us all as damaged goods. Since we become what we think about, focusing on what might have been, or worrying about what might be can cement self fulfilling prophecies. The most productive thoughts are centered in the now. What will you do today to take one step in the direction of being the person you hope to become?

The happiest people is see at class reunions are those who have come to terms with their past, accept the realities of their current situation and are executing a plan to get happier.

If you have lost something important, find something else that fills the void in a healthy way. If you screwed up, learn from it. If you hurt someone, apologize. Then, let it go.

Easier said than done. But we only have so much time and our energy reserves are finite. Every moment you spend thinking about the past, or worrying about what might be, is a present moment lost.

And life happens in the present.

Have a great week!

Feedback welcome via Scott@Spartanology.com.

 

 

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