The past doesn’t have to be linked to the future

May 28, 2011 at 3:20 pm Leave a comment

For a long time, I thought that one of the things that motivated me was that my parents were dirt poor and I didn’t want to be like them. In my mind, this was the greatest motivator for me. So for many years during my adult life, my future was anchored and guided by the past; namely, the life of my parents.

I was liberated but the realization that I didn’t need to rely on my parents’ past to motivate my future.

Many people have managed to become successful despite a less favorable childhood  such as poverty, a lower social class or even abuse.  One possible interpretation is that human beings react differently toward the same event. For example, being attacked by a wild animal will cause some to be paralyzed by fears and others will feel adrenaline surge and have extra energy to run faster than they’ve ever run in their life. Hence, you could say that people like Oprah who come from a tough childhood were motivated by their past to “run” away from it to seek a better life.

I propose a different interpretation.

Recently I have come to realize that what has motivated me is this inner belief that somehow I didn’t have to be a slave of my past. It was important for me to learn that through my actions in the present I could control my future. In other words, my future depends only on the choices and actions I make in the present.

I am confident that many people who have overcome less favorable conditions would probably agree that what has made them successful is that they knew deep inside that they could control their future through their actions in the present.

At some point in life, we all face setbacks. Some start life with conditions that you would think would predestine them to be failures: parents who are alcoholics, drug users, controlling, abusive, poor, uneducated or worse, come to life without parents; siblings who were too smart that they could never measure up against; a village that was too small to offer any opportunity for success; limited opportunities for people with their gender or race in their culture. Even for people who come from a privileged background, at some point in their life they may have to overcome some daunting setbacks or failures such as loss of a close family member, losing a good job, a house or a business.

The good news is that past failures are not an indication of future greatness. What the present offers us is to make choices and take actions to reach the desired success in the future.

Entry filed under: Sucess. Tags: , , , , , , , .

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