If you want to be successful there is a phrase you need to eliminate from your mind. You must stop saying and thinking, “If I had it to do all over again . . .” This is a complete waste of time. You do not have it to do all over again and you never will. When you dwell on the past, especially past mistakes, you are strangling any hope you have of a better future. You have to be focused on the present to find success. You need to learn how to learn from the past without living in the past.
Pick the Pockets of Failure and Move On
Scott Adams, the creator of the Dilbert cartoons, tells people they can fail their way to success. The key is to learn all the secrets of your failure. He calls it “picking the pockets of failure”. No matter how catastrophic a failure you have in your past, nothing is a complete waste. You may have made important connections, learned a new skill, or at the very least you learned how not to do something. Each of these things are incredibly valuable.
It is okay to examine your past mistakes and find the hidden treasures that can help you in the future. However, once you find lessons and note the valuable information, you have to leave the failure in the past. You need to forgive yourself for your mistakes. Resolve to take the lessons and to do better in the future.
Don’t Let Mistake Break You
If you keep thinking about all of the things you could have done differently you are being a selfish asshole. You are denying yourself and others the chance to enjoy any future successes you might have had, because you will never achieve anything as long as you are stuck in the past.
Do not let your mistakes break you. Instead, let your mistakes make you. Dwelling on failure breaks you. It keeps you from moving on. You become more of a ghost than a person, haunting the halls of your past mistakes and scaring away success. Learning from your mistakes makes you a better, smarter person. It brings you closer to success. It allows you to move forward with increased confidence. You also are a better partner. You can now warn others of the dangers you have found.
You are not a time traveler. You will never have the chance to do things differently so stop wasting your energy thinking about what you could have, would have, or should have done. Focus on the valuable lessons failure has taught you and make a real difference in the world by finding your path to success and freedom. Help others avoid making similar mistakes.
You will never find success being a selfish asshole living in the past. But, you are guaranteed to find it if you keep moving forward, learning as you go, and helping others along the way.