Tuesday, 29 January 2013

You are not a Prisoner of Your Past

The ability to recall facts, events and names of people is a trait that is admired by many. I believe this is also a trait that is needed for one to succeed in academics and other areas of life. People are usually pleased when people remember their names and they tend to think such persons regard them as special. So the ability to remember things is one that everybody should possess (and I think everybody possesses this ability to a degree).
Everyone of us also possesses the ability to forget things. It is just natural with us to forget things because of the enormous amount of information that we take in all the time.  My inspirational teacher explained human beings’ ability to forget things in a write-up he titled How Old is Your Knowledge? He explains that human knowledge can easily become stale or obsolete if not used all the time. He explained this with a graphic analogy: Knowledge is like documents that come into a pigeon-hole. The first document to come in soon takes the back seat as more documents are placed in the pigeon-hole. This means, he said, that the knowledge acquired today soon becomes obsolete or forgotten when not applied. So it is just natural that for us to forget things.
But there is another aspect to forgetting that I want to discuss in this piece. That is the ability to consciously forget things. The ability to consciously forget has to be learned; it doesn’t come naturally. This is because the things we have to consciously forget are things that are really hard to forget. In fact, some of them are things we don’t want to forget either because we want to use them as excuses for our state or because of complacency. It can be due any reason under the sun. One major reason you have to learn how to consciously forget things is because though you are a product of your past, you are not a prisoner of your past. And your past will have as much influence on your life as you will allow it. So what are those things we should learn to consciously forget?
Your failures. Yes, your failures. Some people allow their failures to hold them down. Free yourself from the clutch of failure. Take the sting out of failure by refusing to allow the hurt you experienced when you failed to affect you any longer. Don’t allow the memory of failure to prevent you from attempting new things. Don’t allow the embarrassment of failing stop you from becoming what you are capable of becoming. Use failure as a springboard only. Thomas Edison has helped us see failure in a new light by regarding it as a lesson on how not to do a particular thing. Do you still allow the memory of past failures to haunt you and pull you down? Make the decision today to erase such memory. Learning to forget your past failure means not allowing the negative emotions you experienced when you failed
Your successes. Everyone wants to succeed in life. We all want to flaunt our achievements. We all want people to remember us as successful people. We all want to feel good about our achievements. And if it is possible, we never want to forget about our successes. But the truth is that we must learn to forget our successes. My reasons? If you fail to forget about your successes, complacency may set in and you may not ultimately fulfill your potential. Here are some quotes I came across which I believe convey my thoughts on forgetting your successes: "Good is the Enemy of Great." “Whenever an individual or a business decides that success has been attained, progress stops.” “The good is the enemy of the best.” “Good is often the enemy of best. Too often in life we miss the best by settling for the good.” Do I need to add anything? If you continue to bask in the euphoria of one success, you may find yourself settling for less in life. I believe success in an endeavour should give you the confidence to attempt greater things. It should boost your belief that you are packaged for greatness; that you are capable of great things.
I end this piece by asking you this question: What is it that you need to forget so that you can realise your potential?

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