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Learning from the Past to Effect Positive Change

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We can learn from our past experience. And when we apply our new awareness to our current actions, we can evolve into increasingly self-reliant, authentic, and happy individuals

On the other hand, if we don’t consciously apply what we’ve learned to our present behavior, we tend to rely on the same old ways of doing things, and repeatedly run up against the same challenges. Albert Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” I find the irony of his statement humorous: expecting varied results for identical actions is nonsense. If this pattern sounds familiar to you, it’s because you’re among the multitudes who are reluctant to change, out of fear the unknown and the possibility of failure.

One of the biggest changes I’ve ever made was deciding to become an entrepreneur. It was scary at first, to say the least, because the future was impossible to predict, and it seemed all up to me to determine my own success—or my failure. Looking back, while I’ve faced many obstacles, and tripped over some, I’ve kept moving forward with resolve and an intermittently shaky belief in myself, despite any evidence to the contrary. Now I can honestly say that every day has been an adventure in learning how to develop new skills and conquer my own reticence. Whether I look backward or forward—and often I do both—I wouldn’t trade my life experience for anything in the world.

It’s OK to look at past failures, rejections, and mistakes, when we use the knowledge we’ve gained from them to improve our actions and generate better results. It’s not OK when we dwell on the past, immobilized in fear, and hold on tight to relationships and behaviors that are harmful to our wellbeing. Renowned spiritual author of The Power of Now Eckhart Tolle once said, “There is a fine balance between honoring the past and losing yourself in it. For example, you can acknowledge and learn from mistakes you made, and then move on and refocus on the now. It is called forgiving yourself.”

It’s only when we conquer our reluctance to change and try new approaches to challenges that we find viable new solutions. In the process—if we’re really paying attention to our own needs and desires instead of blindly fulfilling the expectations of others—we can begin to self-actualize and make true progress in achieving results that work for us.

This also enables us to be of service to others, since it’s ultimately through self-love and self-respect that we have something of value to share with others, especially our loved ones, who need our genuine care, emotional support, and assistance. We live in a world of interdependence. To go a step further, we are all one, relying on one another for life and sustenance. With this in mind, we accomplish our utmost together when there’s a balance of give and take. As we empower ourselves to give our gifts of love to others, in turn we’ll receive all the abundance that life has to offer.

Mary Kathryn “M.K.” Jones

Writer/Producer/Speaker

Founder of Women Who Walk the Talk™