Does Your Past Hold the Key to Your Future?None By Homaira Kabir
We think of time as sequential, where events move from the past through to the present and into the future. In a way, there's no denying that. But this belief overlooks the fact that our experience of time is closely tied to the way in which we sequence and compare events in our minds. In many ways, our future is a result of our interpretation of past experiences.
Most of these interpretations are subconscious. It almost seems as though we live life atop vast icebergs, blissfully unaware of the power of the past in driving our plans and checklists, our goals and action steps. Little wonder we lose motivation along the way or experience short-term happiness at best, even when we succeed.
As social psychologist Daniel Gilbert says in his book Stumbling On Happiness, we are quite terrible at predicting what will bring us happiness, perhaps because we are heavily influenced by outside forces that have disconnected us from our own selves. We need to look into our past and find the moments when we felt authentic, alive and truly happy. For these moments point to our potential and hold the secret to a purposeful future.
Befriend Your Personality
Do you know how you function best? Our personality is our nature, the person we are when no one else is watching and when we have no fears of being judged. Are you introverted or extroverted? Do you make sense of events through reflection or action? Where do your sources of energy come from?
When we look at our past with curiosity and interest, we see patterns that we didn't know existed. Studies show that the most successful people are those who set goals that capitalize on their strengths. Otherwise, the dreams that begin in our minds sadly stay there.
Understand Your Mindset
Our past also illuminates the way we think, the assumptions we hold, and the beliefs that paint our experiences of the world, and these thought patterns are primarily crafted in our early childhood years. Epictetus, the 1st-century Roman slave who later became one of the greatest philosophers of all time, wrote “It is not external events that cause us distress but the way in which we think about them”. We are not only nature, but also nurture. And whereas understanding our nature connects us to who we are, an awareness of how we approach life can often release us of the barriers that limit our potential.
What are your beliefs about yourself, about others and about the world i