We cannot change the past, but we can reshape the future. Young people have the opportunity to create a happier, better future. – Dalai Lama
What does that mean?
This is a nice, simple, honest quote. Clean and refreshing. What is done is done. That’s how it starts. The past is what it is. All we can do is learn from it.
However, the past does not require our future to be one specific path. It might be harder to go where we want because of past acts, but we can shape the future, if we put in the effort.
We, the grown-ups of this world, have messed up. Not that the past can be blamed on any one person, but collectively, we haven’t done the best possible job of it, have we?
But the future, that is up to the young people of the world. They have the opportunity to do better. To make a better, a happier future. If they will put in the effort to shape it that way.
Why is letting go of the past important?
Sometimes, people get hung up on the past. They get to thinking about it, and think of very little else. That kind of fixation doesn’t help one have a better future. It’s like trying to drive forward in their car, but only looking in the rear-view mirror.
These people often wonder why they keep having accidents, and wonder why the universe hates them so much. In pulling away from their latest accident, instead of looking forward, they look again in the rear-view mirror at their most recent accident. They need to let go of the past, and look forward.
That was kind of a silly example, because people know better than to drive their car in that manner. Yet that is how many people live their lives. Because I did this in the past, I’ll do it again in the future. And it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. If they could let go of their past, they could have a different future.
By believing your future can be different than your past, you can make it so. If you don’t believe you can change, and that your future is simply more of the same, you will be trapped. Learn from the past, but then let it go. Otherwise it will act as an anchor, and you will remain stuck. I doubt you want that to happen.
Where can I apply this in my life?
If your past is full of great things, and you are happy, keep doing what you’re doing. Yes, try new things, and see if you get more or less of what you want, and make adjustments as appropriate. That’s how life goes, and how one gets better at anything, right?
But if you’re not happy with how things are going, I would recommend you take a moment and examine your past, and then plan on letting it go. The past doesn’t control your future. It may influence it, but it does not control it. If you want a different future, make different choices.
You have options, you have choices. These choices will decide your future, just as your past choices decided things in the past. Better choices have the tendency to result in better results. If you keep making the same choices, you’ll keep getting the same results, and that may need to change.
Another thing which may help is learning from what others have done. How did us old folks screw things up? What new ideas do you want to try? How can you take a small first step, that you might try it in such a manner that it will cause as little harm as possible, should it turn out that the old folks didn’t want to do it for a good reason?
And even if all you are doing is running your own life, what have your parents, as well as other friends and relatives done, that you wish to avoid doing? What opportunities did they miss that you want to be sure to try? What are you going to do the same, and what will you change?
Consider what you have already done and learned in your life. What advice would you have for yourself based on what you know now? Are you already taking that advice, or are you going to mess up again tomorrow? Learn, adapt, change, try again, repeat. That is the nature of life.
Your choices will either drag you back to the past, or propel you into the future. When it’s put that way, it is a whole lot easier to understand the importance of learning from your experiences, and doing it differently the next time, right? At least it seems pretty clear to me.
The past is what it is. There is no changing it. We might not know everything, and new discoveries are constantly being made. But in your immediate past, you pretty much know what you did right, and what you should have not done, or done differently.
Even if you aren’t young, it’s never too late to create a better and a happier future for yourself, and for those you care about deeply. The future is just a decision away. Learn from the past, and lood forward to reshaping your future.