Using yesterday to motivate your present and future

Lessons learnedAt every point in our lives there is a lesson learned.  Sometimes these lessons are of success and happy times while at other times the lessons are marked by defeat, failure and heartbreak.  These experiences, however, are all in vain if we do not learn how to apply them to the challenges we face in the present and the plans we have for the future.  Sometimes, however, the little gems in the lessons learned can get washed away over time and just reduced to the trials and tribulations of life.  These treasures can instead be used as weapons in your armory to battle indecision, lack of motivation, procrastination, or whatever hurdles you currently face.  Here are some tips to learning how to reapply lessons learned and make them relevant to more recent challenges

Stop and reflect: Often memories bring back the emotions of how we felt after life lessons, whether they are good are bad.  The emotions, however, can often cloud or taint some of the facts.  When you can take a look at the past with new eyes and a fresh perspective, however, you can pinpoint some of the things that were done well and things you can do better when approaching similar challenges.  Relationships are a great example as often people leave one bad relationship just to step into essentially the same relationship with a new person.  When you get away from the how the good parts of the relationship made you feel you do a better job of pinpointing not just the qualities in other people that don’t work well for you, but more importantly how the choices you made can be improved.

Get to the truth of the matter: There are two sides to every story and then there is the truth.  When you live through something it is easy just to see your side.  With wisdom, however, comes the understanding that truth, like beauty, is found in the eye of the beholder.  Taking a look back and reflecting on something means nothing if you are not willing imagine the possibility that your actions or reactions may not have been right or could have been better.  The luxury of hindsight is that you are no longer forced to make a decision with limited information, you have the ability to take a 360 degree look.  When you do that some of the pearls of the lessons that may have been missed can begin to shine through.

Keep a journal: Taking a regular log of your life helps keep fresh some of what drove you in the past and can be a great motivator for the future.  For years I have documented my work activities in a journal.  Going back and reading what my day looked like six or seven years ago is a great way to keep my motivation high and rekindle the hunger that drove me right out of college.  These reminders are a great way to get out of the rut that can come when we get to the age where we get a little more comfortable with where our life is.

Turn lessons learned into affirmations.  Affirmations are simple reminders you can integrate in your daily life to increase the positivity and build faith in what you want to accomplish. It’s nothing fancy just a personal message to yourself of your true strengths and ability to overcome help keep these lessons fresh and the skills you took away from the situation.  As positivity breeds positivity a lesson turned into an affirmation can be that daily kudos to yourself to keep you on the path of success.


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