7 Ways to Make the Past a Platform Not a Roadblock

The past is a dark, dissatisfying place.

I can’t resist the temptation, at this time of year, to look back and forward at the same time. There’s nostalgia, anticipation, sadness, gratitude, and hope.



Looking back feels more like sand in my underwear than cotton candy and Ferris Wheels. My shadowy companion continually whispers, “You fell short,” and “That’s not good enough.”

I’m afraid that accepting the past results in complacency. In my world, complacency is the vilest, most intolerable, disgusting evil imaginable.

Note to self about the past:

  1. Think about who you’re becoming and where that person takes you. What new advantages do you have because you’ve grown? How can you better serve others?
  2. Savour relationships. The bright spot, in an otherwise dark past, is relationships with people you love and respect, and who respect you. It isn’t new accomplishments, but people who brighten the past. It’s always who before what. (Prioritize people next year.)
  3. Own offenses. Say, “I was wrong. Will you forgive me.” Nothing lightens the load like forgiveness. Pretending you have it all together is like living with pockets full of rocks.
  4. Forgive others their shortcomings. Don’t wait for them to ask. Clinging to the weaknesses and shortcomings of others is like a dog pulling on it’s leash. Draw a line in the sand and set that dog free. Just let go. Don’t even tell them. (Help others find and live in their strengths. Compensate for their weaknesses.)
  5. Focus on things within your control. The past isn’t one of them. Nothing brightens life more than finding some small thing within your control. This is true of organizations as well. (People are not within your control.)
  6. Address repeated frustrations or they’ll get worse next year.
  7. You love to start. What should you stop?

What note about the past would you write to yourself?

How can the past become a platform rather than a roadblock?