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Leverage Your Past for Greater Success in Your Future

Life is easy if you get a little better each day at living it. Unfortunately, few of us make the small enhancements that could make our life more fulfilling. We tend to do things a certain way and stick with them.

Consider that, if you were to learn something each day that you could apply to tomorrow, your life would be much different. You would be different. You would be smarter, wiser, and looking forward to a bright future.

Your past is a goldmine of information about yourself and how life works. It would be a shame to allow this information to go to waste.

So, what if you did it a little differently? What if you learned from your experiences and made small adjustments along the way? Imagine how powerful you could become!

Use your past to your advantage with this process:

1. Review your life from the very beginning. Start with your earliest memories and work your way forward. Think about your family, friends, and schooling. What are your strongest memories? Pay particular attention to your fondest and worst memories. They will be the most important.

2. Review the pivotal points in your life. Pay particular attention to the most important decisions and transitions in your life so far.

  • Education. Did you go to college? Where? How did you make that decision? What was your major? How did you decide on that? What would have happened if you had chosen something different? If you didn’t go to college, how did that impact your life?

  • Choosing a partner. Did you choose wisely? What was your criteria for choosing this person? Did you choose to be alone? Why?

  • Choosing a job. How did you choose your first real job? In retrospect, was it a smart choice? What were the ramifications of choosing that career and job over the long term?

  • Having children. If you have children, how have they impacted your life? Could you enhance your parenting skills? If you chose not to have kids, why did you decide this? Do you still agree with this decision? Why or why not?

3. What were your mistakes? After all of that pondering, what were your mistakes? What were the causes of those mistakes? Let’s consider a few examples.

  • Maybe you chose accounting as your major and career, because you thought it was a path that led to stable employment. However, you don’t really like accounting. Your real interest was in botany. You now know it was a mistake, because you’re miserable.

  • You might conclude that your mistake was placing too much importance on security, and too little importance on your natural likes and dislikes.

  • Maybe you chose your partner because they were rich or incredibly good looking. But, now you’re unhappy. You might decide that there are other, more important, criteria for making this type of decision.

4. What were your successes? There’s more to your past than just your mistakes. There were successes, too. Consider why you were successful and apply that information consistently.

5. Examine your life in the present. What could you be doing differently based on what you learned from examining your past?

  • Go through your current challenges and choices. Now, relate your present to your past mistakes and successes. Can you resolve a current challenge with a lesson from your past?

6. Make some changes to enhance your life. Make some new decisions that are based on your past experiences.

Continue this basic process for the rest of your life, only with one small change. Instead of reviewing your failures and successes from 20 years ago, stick to just the last week.

Choose a day where you look back over the last week and follow the above process. What did you do well? What did you do poorly? How can you learn from the past week and apply it to the present and future?

Leverage your past to create the future you desire. You already have all the information you need.


Thank you for reading our blog!

- Mike Acker

Check out my new book on Public Speaking: Speak with Confidence, published by WILEY.

A breakthrough to develop confidence in speaking, leadership, and life. A follow-up book to my best-selling book, Speak with No Fear

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