Although I deny living in the past (and try to follow the minimalist principle of consciously experiencing the present moment), there are a few exceptions. They are certain situations and circumstances that allow referring to the past.
One of them is to go back in time and try to analyze our previous behavior, mistakes and failures. Another one, to which this post is dedicated, is to remind ourselves of past successes.
I believe this to be a simple technique we can use when we feel down, are disappointed of the lack of self-improvement or to boost our confidence and motivation a bit.
I refer more to successes in your personal development process rather than the material ones (like promotion, salary raise, new apartment and so on). Of course they are big achievements too, but I’ve noticed people to pay too much attention to them and that often ends by making them feel too confident and proud. And this is a step back.
Instead, I want you to do this simple exercise using things such as: successful habits you’ve built and bad ones you’ve ditched, a big change in your way of thinking, new qualities, having overcome a fear of yours, taking lessons from failures, giving up on something you couldn’t imagine living without in order to become a better person, and so on.
Also try to stress on how this has helped you, remember how much effort it cost you and feel good for having done that.
I’ll share some of mine. It’s not some kind of bragging, just a little reminder to myself that I’ve achieved something, that it was worth it and that if I’ve done it once, I can do it again. This way I know I have a reason to keep going further in my development and expect big things.
Here they are:
1. Going vegetarian
That’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever taken and I’m so glad I did it when I was 16. It’s been almost 6 years now and I feel great.
One day back in 2007 I read a lot about meat, then I read more. And after getting familiar with every aspect of the process of how animals are being treated before they are killed, how the meat we eat today is prepared and the way our body digests it (or at least, tries to), I decided not to eat it anymore.
From that day on I’ve never tasted it again. And if my body, mind and soul feel better, then there’s no other opinion I need to hear.
As I think of it, that is a proof that somewhere deep inside I have the motivation to control all my habits. I just need to desire the change bad enough.
I definitely haven’t mastered that but knowing that the power to do it is in me is rather relieving.
I learnt to accept things when there’s nothing I can do and the situation depends on outer factors.
A quick example: While on a holiday in Holland – visiting it for the first time – we missed the train to Amsterdam while in a hurry. I spent the 15 minutes until the next one arrived in a relaxed waiting, while my friend was furious and complaining about that for the whole time. These negative emotions, in my opinion, were just pointless.
So, if it’s raining, be okay with that. You’ll do what you’ve planned tomorrow. If there’s a big queue in front of you, either wait patiently, or put it off for another time.
Getting angry and focusing on the result that things don’t go as planned won’t help. It will just make it worse.
I accepted the past as it is. I accepted the uncertainty of the future. I accepted my mistakes. You can do it too.
3. Followed my passion
It’s one thing to find it and completely another to dedicate time and energy to it every day. And the more I write, the more contentment I find in life. Because that’s my passion.
I often stop for a while to look around, see the beauty in little things and experience the moment. I appreciate more and more the things I have, the hardships I’ve been through, the places I visit and people I meet.
Some time ago I didn’t do that and it was a goal of mine to learn how to stop every now and then and just find time to smell the roses (as is the last line of a favorite movie of mine – “Crank”). I guess I’ve reached it to some extent.
5. Finding simplicity
I’m grateful I had the chance to get familiar with Zen and Minimalism. And although I’m not a strict follower, I chose to live by some of the principles these philosophies offer.
So far that has worked wonders.
6. No judging
I stopped judging others. It’s not my right to judge and put labels on people.
I’ve worked hard on substituting all the negative thoughts in my head for positive affirmations, all problems for opportunities and the failures and mistakes for lessons.
It’s a great way to live life.
I finally managed to make it a daily habit. With some exceptions, of course, but now going to the gym is one of the good parts of my day and I look at it more like a pleasure than a task.
It’s one of the few healthy habits I love doing. On all others I’m still working.
9. Letting go
That’s a huge deal for me. I consider this to be one of the best things someone can learn to do that can change his life once and for all.
There are so many things we need to let go of – expectations, other people’s opinion, regret, perfection, disappointment, the past, worries, etc.
I’m trying to do it in the best way possible – simply and easily, by understanding, breathing deeply and just letting things, people, places and thoughts let go with a smile.
10. Giving and sharing
Somehow I find a way to include this universal law into most of the posts I write: Give as much as you can and expect nothing in return. And as a result, you’ll have more and will be more satisfied with yourself and your life.
I advise you to give this simple technique a try. Here’s why:
- it will make you feel better;
- it will remind you of your abilities, potential and power;
- it will motivate you to keep doing what you’re up to and follow your dreams;
- if you’re on the verge of giving up on something that’s difficult but important, this will show you that if you’ve achieved these things so far, you can do much more.
What are your successes so far?