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Why Looking Back is Crucial for Moving Forward

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Many people are advocates of looking ahead. After all, we can’t change the past, so what’s wrong with focusing on creating a better future?

Then there is the other school of thought that says if we ignore our past experiences, good and bad, we can miss out on life lessons. It can be the difference between forging ahead, and making the same mistakes over and over again.

I believe addressing and resolving past experiences can help you to attain business and personal growth, and put you on a smoother, quicker path to success.

Here are some compelling reasons why we need to look back to see our way forward.

You can speed up your learning

The past can help you to accelerate your path to success. Successful people evaluate their previous results and what they did to get them. This helps them to make better choices in the future and shortens the learning curve. Apply the old adage “If at first you don’t succeed try and try again”. By doing so you’ll get the outcomes you want much quicker and with much less effort.

You can stop making the same mistakes

Making mistakes is a part of being human, and mistakes are the best teachers we have for learning what not to do. However, people that don’t look back tend to keep making the same mistakes over and over. As James Blunt sang “here we go again….” Looking back at your past can help you become mentally and emotionally stronger in the future.

You can predict trends

By coming to grips with past trends and patterns you can more easily recognize them when they crop up again in the future. Those that refuse to look at the past and learn to develop strategies, may not be able to handle the same event when it inevitably occurs again.

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You can build up your confidence

Looking back doesn’t have to be all about wallowing in the mistakes you’ve made. In fact, it can be a positive thing to acknowledge all the successes you’ve had. It can be worthwhile keeping a success log to give yourself a confidence boost when you want to take a leap and try something new.

Jacqueline Walker explains this in her article for Everyday Power:

“Looking back on both our successes and our failures holds great merit. Remembering our successes can provide a quick boost to our confidence and uplift our spirits as we forge ahead seeking to add to our achievements. 

Similarly, reviewing our failures can serve us well, because in many instances they remind us of what we shouldn’t do or of things, places or people to steer clear of in order to keep driving on the road that leads to success.”

You can learn from others

Your own past holds a wealth of knowledge just waiting to be tapped into. But you can also learn from others who have done what you want to do. This is a great part of being human. You can get insight from other people’s experiences and apply it to your own journey. While the outcome may not be exactly the same, you will gain new skills, knowledge and awareness along the way.

Are you ready to look back to move forward?

Think about the goals you set at the beginning of the year. If you are having difficulty achieving a particular goal it could be time to take a look at your past.

Ask yourself:

  • Did you have a similar problem?
  • How did I deal with that problem? Did the strategy work?
  • Could it work again in this instance? If not, how can I adjust it?

Don’t just write the past off as being done and dusted. It can offer valuable life lessons and opportunities to improve our results in the future.

 

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