Our focus determines our future

All of us have things in our past that we regret, or wish we had never done.  Some of those memories have no power over us at all.  They are simply that, memories.  And yet for some people they are something that consistently holds us back from the potential we all have.  Our  past keeps us from launching out into the unknown depths of our potential because of past failures, or other bad experiences.  Our past keeps us from meeting people, or from anything other than simple surface relationships often stemming from past hurts.  We have been betrayed before and as a result we refuse to trust again.

Our past can keep us from stepping outside our comfort zone because of our being ridiculed before when we tried.  Or people have mocked our ideas or dreams when we tried to share them, to the people who were supposed to care, when they were the most fragile, before the had even become solid enough for us to firmly grasp a hold of ourselves.  Leaving us wounded and unwilling to venture forth.  Our past can even see us launching forward into the unknown with a vengeance trying to prove everyone wrong and stampeding over everyone who doesn’t view life with the same intensity we do.

Whatever the form it takes, when we allow ourselves to be governed by our past we set ourselves up to fail.  While there is much that we can learn from our past that allows us to grow more into our futures it has to remain just that; our past.  We cannot do away with our past, because we will always have our memories, short of suffering memory loss or amnesia or Alzheimer’s, God forbid, and our character now is a summation, or adding together of our past.  Both the good and the bad.  But only if we don’t allow it to be a weight that pulls us down.  For many the past is like a pit full of quick sand constantly dragging them down.  They can never seem to get free.

And yet there is hope.  Our past doesn’t have to hold us down.  The most successful people in life are not free from mistakes and bad decisions.  They have just learned to take from their past what they need to learn that allows them to launch forward into their potential.   I loved what Captain Nemo said, in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, “I prefer to live in the now, where the ghosts of old wrongs do not abide.” It is our focus that determines whether we learn from our past, or simply continue to relive it.  Our past, if we choose to hold on to it, simply becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.  We expect the worst, and when we get it we use it to validate our fears and then continue to hold on to then.

Just as defeating is a fear of the future.  Consistently worrying about “what might happen if” destroys our potential just as fast as holding onto our past.  We simply plant an anchor deep into the ground of our soul and consistent spiral around it, all the while wondering why we cannot seem to get ahead.  And when it seems like we may get ahead, the new scenery feels so unfamiliar we shoot ourselves in the foot and simply remain in our comfort zone.  We prefer the “status quo”.  And yet “status quo” is simply Latin for “the mess we are in”.  But the mess is comfortable, and for many the saying “better the devil you know than the one you don’t” holds true for them.

And yet it was never supposed to be this way.  There is nothing healthy about life this way.  Just look at someone in a coma.  The body continues, but it is far from healthy.  And when we are held down by our past or our fear of the future it is like we put our soul into a coma, and it can neither grow or develop.  And the potential we all have within us is far to important to leave undeveloped. Regardless of whether we see the potential we have or not it is there simply waiting within for us to discover it.  We can choose to remain burdened by our past, or forgive ourselves and those who have wounded us.  We can remain fearful of what might be or launch forward into the greatest adventure we can ever have.  Jumping with both feet into the potential we have.  It really is up to us.

3 thoughts on “Our focus determines our future”

  1. Hi Tom,
    Wow! I just stumbled upon your blog tonight and I feel it was definitely no coincidence. I am really struggling with moving forward due to some extremely painful experiences in my recent past. I have finally realized that they have made me a stronger person but instead of being a happy and content person I now find that I am always worried about “what might happen” next. I am praying that I will be able to find peace and joy in each and every day. I loved your article.

    1. Hi Ashley,

      I appreciated your thoughts, and your struggles. You are not alone at all in this respect. I encourage you in your journey. I wish I could say it was going to be an easy one, but I can tell you that the journey will be worth it in the end. In the quest for peace and joy I can only offer what made an incredibly huge difference in my life. Some of that journey I wrote about earlier in Religion vs Relationship. Feel free to read it and comment if you like. I wish you well on your journey.

  2. Hi Tom,
    This is a great blog. What you have to say is so true and so well written. Way to go!!

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