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The Choice to Look Forward, Not Back

All of us have had bad things happen in our past that we would like to go back and change – some because of outright mistakes that we made (“poor choices”) and some due to circumstances beyond our control. Regardless of the reasons why, we have a tendency to look back, reflect on these difficult moments and wish that things had been different. Sometimes, this “rear view” thinking can weigh so heavily on our feelings that it interferes with our current choices and our ability to effectively move on with our lives.

It’s easy for someone to tell us, “Well, just don’t think about that. It happens to everyone.” This is a true statement, but one that offers little comfort to someone struggling with the impact of a past event. Having experienced some of these wish-I-had-done-things-differently moments ourselves, we know of only one way to fix this type of thinking.

You have to look forward, and do something. More specifically, you have to do something to help others. One of the quickest ways is to find someone that needs our help – an individual you know or by participating in a local volunteer organization – and set about, on a regular basis, helping make someone else’s life more enjoyable.

Another, take on a new project – redo something around the house, plan a trip you’ve always wanted to take or even start a new business. Or, get behind some important cause in your community – or in the nation for that matter – and bring about a change for the better.

We can’t totally erase bad memories, but we can plaster over them with good ones. The key to all of this is…doing something, especially something that will help someone else have a better life. Their life gets better, and yours does too.

There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them. Denis Waitley