“We are the sum of our past experiences”
“We are a product of our upbringing”
These two statements, while they sound like they are good things, are two of the greatest barriers and excuses made by people that blow dust off their dreams every few years, just to relive the fantasy.
I am a firm believer that we have come to believe these two great lies in our life. Mainly because we have heard others say it so often and secondly, it is taught to us beginning when we are young. Don’t get me wrong, our past experiences do play a major role in your decision process. Sometimes this is good but for most it is not. Making choices based on your past can severely restrict the future of your dream today. Many successful icons of today refused to accept past failures as their future and never let those failures have influence on the possible outcome of what they wanted to do today. Growth and education comes out of failure.
Your past doesn’t DEFINE you, it REFINES you!
Our past is what has molded you into the person you are today for sure, however it has nothing to do with what kind of person you will be tomorrow or in years to come. Having lived a difficult life does not mean that your life will continue that way unless you let it. Great leaders have come from abusive childhoods. Children that have grown up being told they are worthless have come to find great worth in life. Powerful people have come from a meager family upbringing. Just because your mother, brother, father and entire family is one way does not mean that you are that way as well. Hopefully you will hold on to the great attributes of your heritage but with that same hope you should also strive not to be defined by it.
Whatever it is that has gotten you here is not the same thing that will take you to tomorrow.
Who you are today and in the future is only determined by you. Breaking these molds is a choice you need to make; it’s not something someone else can do for you. It is common for most to think that if your circumstances were to change then you would also change. This thought couldn’t be further from the truth. If you want to see this truth in action…watch one of those shows about lottery winners. Good people remained good people and did good things with their winnings. Others that squandered life without wealth, also squandered it when they had wealth and soon found themselves in greater messes then they were in without money. Circumstances can change but if you want to experience real change in your own life then you have to realize that your past has only served to refine you into the person you are, but your experiences thus far have only brought you to today. What you have been through thus far doesn’t however define what tomorrow will look like. Your future is a direct result of the experiences you choose to have moving forward.
There are ways you can break down this wall that most people don’t even realize is there, a wall that holds you back from becoming the person you want to be instead of the person you have allowed your past to define you to be.
Simply do what is RIGHT. When given a choice most everyone will choose things that they want to do over things that would be better in the long run. It is so easy for us to make decisions based on our current desires or point of view. Too often we fail in two aspects of this decision process.
We fail to seek out wisdom from others that are in a position to offer sound advice. It is always amazing what happens when we hear someone else point of view. It broadens our perspective and gives way to change in our thought process.
We fail to look past our desire to simply do something for no other reason that we want to do them. Perhaps it’s just the way you were envisioning you would do it, or maybe your only looking at what you want the end result to be and not considering the path that will make it come to pass. Quite often the best decisions are not made from a perspective of what you want to do but instead, a place of what you should do.
Chose to make better decisions. Making good decision isn’t a natural thing for most people. Making good decisions is a CHOICE made to do certain things to ensure that good decision.Here are a few areas that effect our good decision making process:
Carnal desires can cost you dearly– It is so easy to choose to buy that latest newest gadget or that new car because it fulfills a base carnal desire to have something new and better. Unfortunately most people make these choices despite the sacrifice that is made in other more important areas. All too often these decisions feel great for a few days or week until the new wears off and the real cost starts showing up. In my years in the auto industry I can’t tell you how many people I have seen who are desperate to sell trade or walk away from a car because the payment is above their budget. BUT they just had to have it at the time despite the payment. They always said they thought they could cut back here or there and perhaps take a part time job to afford it but unfortunately none of that stuff ever happened. Now they are stuck with a payment that directly affects every aspect of their lives.
Passions and hobbies have their place – I once met a man that loved model trains. So much so that he had collected thousands of them and travels all over the place going to train shows. This sounds wonderful but unfortunately his sacrifices to his hobby cost him a marriage, a home and a job. Hobbies and passions are great and necessary in life but unless they are being pursued as a serious business venture (when smart decisions are even more critical) then they should have their place in proper priority with your life and financial budget.
You are more than your heritage. There is nothing wrong with following in your mother or father’s footsteps or even to emulate them in life. However it is all too often the case that their shortcomings also become your hindrances. There are three phrases that have always bugged me when I hear them. “I come by it honestly”, “It’s just the way I was raised” and “It’s just in my genes”. Especially when they are used to explain away a bad habit or action. There are many good traits that can become part of who you are that comes from your family like how to treat people well, how to have good work ethic, and how to respect others. The list can go on and on but silently many people use their family’s shortcomings in life to also become their excuses for not achieving something or doing poorly at others. Great athletes have come from non athletic families, Great business people came from poor, uneducated families, and just because your family hasn’t ever done or succeeded in what you want, does not mean you won’t. It’s your choice to rise above your current excuses and make them reasons to rise above.
Your choices and your decisions are yours alone. Own up to the fact that your life is exactly where it is now solely due to the decisions you have made and your future is going to be what it is going to be exclusively because of the decisions you are going to make moving forward. In today’s world there are hundreds of things that influence who we are, what we believe, what we think and many other aspects of our very personally. Like no other time in history ( that I remember at least) has the term “peer pressure” and more lately “social pressure” ever meant more. Now I realize that we all are guilty of following along with the crowd in one way or the other, but it has become almost epidemic to see others take on the beliefs and opinions of others simply because of a Face Book or Twitter post. People are choosing one product or one political candidate, or one cause over another for no other reason that it’s what most others are also doing. Our family and peers also inject a great amount of influence to our choices. What is important to preserve is our own responsibility in the choices we are making. It’s important to seek our own wise council and make our own decisions. Thomas Edison failed over two thousand times as he worked towards perfecting the incandescent light bulb. Can you imagine what all his friends, peers and family were telling him after they saw him fail over and over again? Consideration of others thoughts and opinions is important but in the end…. Make you own decisions! Even if it goes against what others are thinking. If you are reading this under a light… you have a great example to be grateful for.
Set Yourself apart – You are a unique individual and as a unique individual you are also uniquely qualified to achieve anything you set your mind to achieve…regardless of what or who has surrounded your life up to this moment. We all have a lot of people circulating in our lives. Some have a closer connection with us than others but all of them have some degree of influence on us whether we will admit it or not. Unfortunately, those we consider closest to us may also be the most toxic to our future and our dreams. This is probably the single most difficult choice you can make and also the most important one you will ever make. One of my most favorite quotes is “It’s hard to soar with the eagles when you’re on the porch with the turkeys”. If you want to be a great runner, start hanging around with and running with great runners. If you want to be a great parent, starts socializing with other people that you think are great parents. Fact is we all have those friends and business associates that are holding us back. They are not intending to do this nor are you aware that this is happening but there is saying that has become increasingly popular and profound that fits this point directly. It was spoken by John Kuebler, a pastoral care pastor at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Charlottesville,Va as he was addressing a youth group. In part of his speech he spoke these now famous words. “Show me your friends and I will show you your future.” Choose to surround yourself with positive people that will support, encourage and lift you up. A true friend, a real friend that deserves to be a part of your life will do this anyway. But also surround yourself with professionals that offer wisdom and encouragement that will help you move forward in your dream. You will be amazed at the future that comes into view when you have these type of influences in your life. To sum it all up it comes down to these two simple statements; What happens to you from this moment on can be however good or bad you choose to make it. AND You have been refined by your past to succeed in any way you choose to find that success in the future.
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