And What Have We Learned?

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Does the past matter?

No . . . and yes.

No, it doesn’t matter. The past is gone. A memory. Not only a memory, but a flawed memory, stretched and twisted by perception, point of view and the distortion of time. You can’t change it. You can’t fix it. You can’t go back to school and get that degree you wanted, or ask your child one more question about his plans before you handed him the car keys. You can’t unspeak, unneglect, unscar.If that’s the case, why have I asked you to look backwards in these recent blogs? Why did I ask you to stir up old, in some cases painful, memories?

Because, yes. The past matters. Specifically, what we bring with us from the past matters. The only thing we have is right now – the moment (for me) when I’m typing these words, the moment (for you) when you’re reading them. This is the only moment you have control over. But what you bring from the past will affect how you use this moment, and those moments, cumulatively, will determine whether you’ll achieve the success, abundance and prosperity you dream of, or continue to be frustrated and unfulfilled.

We’re nearly ready to embark on our journey to abundance and prosperity, but we have one more task to complete first. I’d like you to take all of the personal history materials you’ve accumulated, and read them through. By now, they might be taking some kind of shape in your mind. Keep an eye out for:

• Patterns you’ve repeated.
• Situations where you could have acted differently, but it simply didn’t occur to you at the time.
• Revelations you’ve had as you’ve worked – did you unearth any surprises? Did you have more control than you realized?
• Times when you focused on working toward goals, and times when you focused on grasping for immediate comfort.
• A tendency to live in the past or future, rather than using the single moment you’re in.
• “Have to” or “Ought to” motivations in your choices.

It’s time to put these lessons down on paper, in black and white, so you can see what “baggage” you’ve brought with you from the past. Journal one more time, keeping down to around a single sheet, and summarize how you’ve lived your life and what lessons you’ve learned. And then, just to encapsulate it even more, answer this question:

If you were to die today, what might be the inscription on your tombstone?

Great job! You looked backward, and survived it! Not only that, you’ve made intentional choices about the accumulated events in your history – what lessons are worth bringing with you into the next minute, and the next? What false ideas did you bring with you? Now that they’re identified, you can leave them behind.

Roger K. Allen, Ph.D. is an expert in personal growth, family life, leadership and organizational development. His programs and tools have helped hundreds of thousands of people live richer, more fulfilling lives. Learn more at

About Roger K. Allen
Roger K. Allen, Ph.D. is an expert in personal transformation and family development. His tools and methods have helped tens of thousands of people live happier and more effective lives. To learn more, visit>.

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"I’m living for me…not to prove to other people that I’m worthy of living. My self-identity was tied up in accomplishments and what others thought of me. It’s good to have that off my back."

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