I have made my fair share of mistakes just like anyone. They embarrass me and show me up as the ordinary man that I am. I’m often ashamed to admit these mistakes of my past. It makes it difficult to open up, be vulnerable and really connect with someone.
We have a tendency to try and hide or eradicate our flaws. We keep our mistakes hidden, for fear of judgement, ridicule. We pretend it never happened.
But it’s more than that, when we fail to live up to our own standards, we feel undeserving of happiness and success.
It makes us feel ashamed of the time we wasted, our weakness and imperfection. I still do this day regret not standing up to the bullies I had at school.
Consider this. The work you do today in some ways is there to undo or address the mistakes, and regrets of the past.
What you value now is not what you valued enough back then.
I have these past fifteen years rebelled against what held me back. People and ideas that made me feel small. It has given me a deep desire to know what matters in life, to know what makes people happy and what makes me happy.
It’s no wonder then that I latched onto philosophy, psychology, self-help to find the answers.
This is me trying to address the mistakes of my past.
I want to learn about how to be successful, to grow, and how to talk to other people. To not feel so lonely.
All this could only have come about if my youth is the trainwreck it was. Facing past mistakes is one of the things that creates progress. Both in our personal lives and society.
Look at the past not as a prison that you remain trapped in, but rather a springboard for growth.
We’re not defined by our past but it can be ball and chain that hold us in prison. That places too much stock in the idea that we can’t escape our past.
That can be a tough process as you have to face your own demons and the unpleasant side of your nature. Those times when you gave into anger, malice or worse.
To grow up is to use your experiences find out what matters most and alter your life. To pass on what you have learned to others. Mistakes and failure are a big source of our growth.
It’s about taking responsibility. Something we tend to avoid because it means taking the blame when things go wrong. But in doing so doing your life will have the meaning, and purpose you want.
You hear about those individuals who take their past and turn their life around. Using their mistakes as the basis for compassion, connection and growth. It’s why they are often so inspirational.
Facing up to our mistakes can provide massive benefit. It can be the basis for helping others in the same predicament.
Like my own story, my direction was only discovered by finding out what I didn’t want life to be like (a journey of creative destruction if you will). Over time as I discarded the falsehoods and lies that were fed to me, my direction became more clear. I began to see my purpose better when I started to address my mistakes.
Don’t run away from the past, but don’t let it define who you are.
Use it as fuel. The desire and the reason. The passion to push you forwards and the insight to tell you what you’re looking for.
Tell me something about your past. How is it affecting you today? In both good and bad ways.