Have you ever wondered if your past is keeping you from achieving your dreams?
Perhaps you come from a poor upbringing, where you were taught to think small and survive through each day. It might seem that the lessons and imprints from that time are stuck within you, causing you to never grow.
Or maybe you’ve tried time and time again to change your life, only to fail each time. You might be at your rope’s end, with nothing left to give towards your goals.
You might feel like every failure of your past is evidence of your future experiences.
Well, we have some good news for you: your past does not define your future.
Now don’t get us wrong. The past can be a good indicator of the types of behaviours that someone might display in the future. If someone has a past history of avoiding conflict, or of procrastination, then they’re likely to repeat that behaviour in the future. But the good news is that this isn’t set in stone.
People can change. Whether you change for the worse or for the better is up to you.
Every Day is a New Day
You’ve probably heard the saying “today’s a new day” before. It’s a cliché for a good reason.
The most successful people learn to view each day as a fresh slate. As soon as they’re out of bed, they’ve left behind all the weight of their past actions and thoughts that have slowed them down. If they failed yesterday, that doesn’t mean that they will fail today. They use those experiences as lessons towards success.
Imagine you have a child that’s trying to take their first steps (for some of you, this might not even be hypothetical). If they had spent an entire day barely standing up, and at the end of the day find themselves flat on the floor, would you assume that this means that they’re never going to walk now? That they’ve tried, and that’s that?
It’s a ludicrous question, surely. Of course they’ll make their first steps. It just comes from not giving up.
Consider that every day is a new day. Do your best to let go of the mental baggage you’re carrying around. We all make mistakes and fall short of our goals. Use these memories as motivation and lessons, rather than as reasons why you’re going to suffer negative outcomes if you try again.
Challenge your mental associations that you have with certain areas of your life. You may have experienced a lot of embarrassment during an oral assignment back in high school, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t find success today during a work presentation. You may have been rejected by your crush, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t charming enough to ask someone on a date now that you’re an adult.
Do what you have to do in order to let go of those old experiences that don’t serve you.
Your Wealth and Social Status Doesn’t Have to Stop You
You might have grown up in less than ideal circumstances, but this doesn’t have to define you. In fact, it can be used as fuel, a propellant to drive you to greater heights.
Those who have experienced the most pain search for the answers to a brighter future.
There are endless examples of famous people worldwide who came from disadvantaged backgrounds, and against all odds changed their lives for the better. You don’t have to look for to realise there are many people who found success despite all indicators from their past pointing to the opposite.
Just consider Oprah Winfrey: a multibillionaire and hugely significant philanthropist. She’s one of the most powerful and influential women in the world. And yet she was born in rural poverty to a teenage single mother who worked for a pittance wage as a housemaid. All she had ever known was struggling to make ends meet.
But this isn’t the only factor to Oprah’s tragic childhood. She was a victim of rape, more than once, by her own family members. At age fourteen, she discovered she was pregnant, only to give birth to a premature child who died shortly after birth. The level of strength required to get through such a childhood would have been immeasurable.
Nobody would have blamed Oprah if she had given up and lamented that her life was cursed, unfair or any other label. What she had experienced would have been reason enough for her failure to break the shackles of the past.
As you know, this wasn’t the case for Oprah Winfrey. She took practical steps towards a better life and dedicated herself, working hard to make it so. Her past acted as both motivation and a tool, giving her that renowned sense of empathy that she used during her talk show to connect with her guests.
Her status as the daughter of a handmaid and her experiences as a victim of abuse didn’t stop her.
And she isn’t the only one who overcame their troubled experiences.
Les Brown, an exceptional speaker, was as a child labelled the ‘dumb twin’ by his classmates.
Nelson Mandela, the first black South African president and Nobel peace prize winner of 1993, spent twenty-seven years in prison, but never gave up on his vision to lead his countrymen to independence.
The lesson in all this is clear: your actions today determine your future. Your past failures or unlucky background may be unfortunate, but only you can allow them to define you. Only you can decide what to do with your time and talents today: whether they will take you higher into success, or sink you deeper into an unsatisfying life.
Consider the words of Walt Disney: “We don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and new things, because we’re curious…and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”
Whatever your circumstances, it’s up to you to decide what you do today. Make the choice to improve your life and learn from your past experiences and mistakes.
Take that class. Read that book that you’ve been putting off that will help you improve your craft. Develop that brilliant idea that’s been in the back of your mind for years. Start going to the gym again like you used to. Open a savings account and create that budget you know you should.
Start changing your life, because it isn’t yesterday what defines your future, but today.
If you’re looking to take this learning further to change your future, check out Dream Life Mastery, run by Steve G. Jones, certified hypnotherapist. There you’ll learn how to create a life with a foundation of happiness and success, fulfilling relationships and the best version of you.
We all suffer from ingrained beliefs that we developed from childhood, often without knowing. Here you’ll learn more about how to stop being a slave to those subconscious beliefs that are running our lives for us.
We like to think our content here is useful and practical, but if you’re looking to make the most of our content by taking it further, we couldn’t recommend anything better, so be sure to check them out.