Leave the Past Behind

  • Posted By: on October 22nd, 2007

“What you need to know about the past is that no matter what has happened, it has all worked together to bring you to this very moment. And this is the moment you can choose to make everything new. Right now.”

- Anonymous

Take a look around. What do you see?

Here’s a hint. You’re looking at the past.

The past creates this present moment. You’ve arrived here as a result of your past choices, thoughts, feelings, and actions. When you accept this as truth you gain the ability to move forward, and can make calculated choices in the present to improve your life in the future.

Isn’t this common sense? Apparently not.

For some reason there are STILL tons of people who carry with them the pains and shortcomings of yesterday. I must admit, I sometimes find it difficult to leave yesterday’s baggage behind. However, each time this tendency rears its head, I remind myself that if I look to the past to determine what I should do today, I will only create more of the same in the future.

That’s not exactly what I’m looking for out of my life.

I’m looking to constantly grow, and improve the quality of my life, and I’m assuming you are too, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this site. To escape the endless cycle of recreating your past you must make different choices today than you did yesterday. By living in the moment, while being conscious of where you want to be in the future, you gain the ability to make empowering decisions right now that free you from the prison of your past.

Easier said than done, right? Not if we make a few simple shifts in mindset.

Acceptance is the First Step

Accept yourself as you are.

As long as you condemn yourself for your situations, actions, and results in the past, you will never be free to consciously improve the quality of your life today or in the future. Realize that no matter what has happened in your past, that yesterday’s results do not dictate today’s or tomorrow’s results.

Understand that no matter how dire your situation is, there is someone somewhere in the world that has it worse than you do. Your problems aren’t so bad after all, now are they? Accept what you’ve been given in life, and make the most of what you’ve been given.

Ask yourself the questions below, and be completely honest with yourself when answering them. Knowing your answers to these questions is essential in accepting the present moment for what it is.

  • How am I letting the situations, choices, and results in my past influence the quality of my situations, choices, and results in the present?
  • How am I using the past as an excuse to justify my inaction in the present?

Once you answer these questions, choose to accept your life for what it is, and realize that today is a new day. Choose to no longer hide behind the past as an excuse to justify your lack of results in the present. Choose to be grateful for the fact that at any moment you can move towards creating the life of your dreams, regardless of your results in the past.

The Power of Conscious Choice

In this moment you have an infinite number of choices at your disposal. Each choice will somehow affect your life in the future, whether it’s 10 seconds from now, or 10 years from now. Stop deciding which choice to make by referencing your past. So what if you were a student yesterday? You can dropout today if you were so inclined.

In this moment, you can make a choice that is completely out of line with what you identify with and temporarily become someone else.

Just because you were a fearful, insecure human being yesterday doesn’t mean you have to be one today. You can choose to be a courageous, comfortable person in this moment by making a choice in line with that mindset. And you can continue to make that choice 30 seconds from now, 20 minutes from now, 1 week from now, and 1 year from now. It’s simply a choice you make.

Here’s a formula to illustrate the power of conscious choice:

Past results + past choices + past actions = past results over and over again


Past results + new choices + new actions = new results over and over again

You ultimately decide where you are going to get the information necessary to make your decisions in the present. Are you going to look to your past, and create more of the same? Or are you going to execute around your vision, and create the life of your dreams?

Your Past Got You Here

When you look at where you are right now in your life, you are essentially looking into the past. When I first learned this concept, it had a profound impact on me. I realized I was constantly observing myself in each moment, and deciding that was who I was going to be tomorrow, the day after, and the day after that. As we discussed earlier in this article, doing this will ultimately lead to creating the same results in your life over and over again.

Acknowledge that the way you look, the way you think, your financial status, the quality of your relationships, and what you are doing with your life are all a mirror of your past decisions, thoughts, and actions. Who you are today is yesterday’s business. You can change everything in your life at any moment because every single day is a new beginning!

You may be thinking it’s impossible to refrain from observing yourself in the present moment. How can you run away from who you are right now? To do so would require some sort of self-deception, right?

That depends on how you view the present moment.

Each Moment as an Animation

If you view this moment as a still image of your life, then yes, it would be impossible to stop observing yourself all the time. But what if you saw the present moment as an animation, a picture in motion, if you will? If this were the case, what would happen to the way you see yourself?

You would be free from looking into the past whenever you observe who you are in the present moment.

Confused yet? This example should clear up any confusion.

Let’s say you look down at your body, and you see an overweight and unattractive person. Noticing this, you feel depressed, and you continue to make the choices that landed you where you are now in the first place. You recreate your past each day, and you remain overweight and unattractive. This perception of yourself is based on the belief that each moment is a still image.

What if you looked at this moment as an animation instead?

You would look down at your body, and see an overweight and unattractive person. Noticing this, you understand that where you are today is a result of your past choices and actions. You feel powerful in knowing that you can choose to change your results right now, and see your current situation as an animation. You see yourself as the overweight and unattractive person you are right now, while also see yourself getting thinner and more attractive in your mind’s eye. Therefore, your perception of your physical appearance is now an animation. It’s a direction you are moving. It’s a moment in motion.

I view the present in this way, and let me tell you; it’s a much more empowering mindset. Regardless of where I am today, I know I am getting better and better in each moment because my animation is moving in a positive direction. By adopting this mindset, I’ve noticed the results in my life are improving rapidly. My relationships are getting stronger, my physical appearance is improving, I feel much more content, and I’m forging a stronger spiritual connection.

Try this frame of mind out for a few weeks, and you’ll be amazed at how quickly the results in your life will change.

Become a Conscious Creator

By realizing you have the power to change your results in life simply by making different choices today than you did yesterday, you become a conscious creator of your reality. You develop the power to create the life of your dreams, and ultimately liberate yourself from the confines of your past.

You’ll no longer feel as though you’re a helpless product of fate and misfortune. Instead, you will have faith and confidence in knowing that your life is silently improving while you continue to look to the future and execute around your vision.

As Emile Coué once said, “Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better.”

Photo by r’eyes

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  1. Venu Nair said on December 27th, 2007 at 10:48 pm

    Wonderful article. I am especially impressed by your discussion of life as animation. A very related point is when an individual creates artificial barriers towards reaching their goals. For example, I want to take a couple of courses at the GW law school (despite being an MBA who already went to law school). One professor has been cooperative; I have not heard from the other professor. Instead of accepting the still life position, I am 1) checking to see if the guy is there tomorrow and 2) considering taking classes at other institutions that might be a second best option.

    The animation part also reminds me how I should stop creating an ethereal barrier from running simply because “it’s too cold” or “I don’t live in the right neighborhood”. Both are just excuses! :)

  2. kirill said on March 2nd, 2008 at 3:22 am

    really good staff
    leaving past behind is a must but you can not just cut it off althogh wisdom says it is a right thing to do. It is arther a day-to-day exersise smthing like fitness – mental one.

  3. Angie said on December 1st, 2011 at 5:19 am

    Great article. I had been overwhelmed with the problems I faced in my workplace due to past mistakes that I had made and was almost on the verge of giving up the job entirely but what you said really makes sense in helping me understand that each day is a new beginning and the past does not equate to the future. More often than not we tend to look at the things we created and felt guilt or insecurity but as long as you accept the present moment for what it is, imagine your life to be an animation then you will feel much better than before

  4. Rahul Bhambhani said on December 13th, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    Angie – So glad you found this article beneficial. Thank you for dropping by and letting me know :)

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Welcome to Take 20 – a Blog exposing readers to unique personal development concepts and ideas. Hi. My name is Rahul Bhambhani. I was previously a student in the Business Honors Program at The University of Texas at Austin. Somewhere in the midst of my education, I began to question whether it was contributing to […]

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