Lessons from the Past

“We should not look back unless it is to derive useful lessons from past errors, and for the purpose of profiting by dearly bought experience.”  George Washington

Washington was living at a pivotal time in the history of the USA.  He was there for the war and the winning, and the establishment of the new government.  He certainly had plenty that he could look back on and be distracted by, as could Lincoln many years later.  But Washington knew a secret of success that many miss: success can only be realized by moving forward.  But let’s back up for a moment.

I believe it’s really, really important to look back occasionally.  I’m not talking about checking to see how close the creditors and haters are, I’m talking about being able to stop and take in what has gone on in your life.  We’ve all done, said and been things that we’re not proud of and some things we’re really happy about too.  It’s important to take a look at those not so good times and learn from them.  You’ve heard countless stories of companies or people who have transformed their lives from a really bad place and gotten it to somewhere good and have made a point of using the rest of their lives to help others who are in the shoes they used to be in.  And this is a really good thing, it’s awesome to hear the stories of people who transform their lives and use the experiences of their past to help others.

But there are some people who only look back or never look forward from their past.  These are the people who are bitter about the lot life has handed to them.  These people are miserable to be around and you always try to get away from them as quick as possible. They’re the ones who bring up the stuff you’ve done in the past again and again. These people have not only paid for the past as we all do but paying for it again and again and again.

So it’s up to each of us to choose to look back, gather the lessons and firmly turn forward to put what we have learned into practice.  You’ve got a past, why not put it to good use or let it go?

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