“Don’t dwell in the past. . .”
The above statement reminds us to keep pushing forward as opposed to slipping into stagnation. No one wants to be the former high school quarterback who still wears his old letterman jacket with his receding hairline and beer gut. But to say there is not value in the past is short sighted. The past holds triumphs we can return to that bolster confidence. It holds failures that we can evaluate as we plot a course to future success. With no past, there is no experience. And I’ll take experience over theory any day of the week.
But what is confidence?
Confidence is nothing more than a belief that you will succeed at a task or event in the future based upon results you have previously achieved.
Sometimes this belief is based on an apples-to-apples comparison: I tied my shoes yesterday, so I believe I can tie them today. In this case, repetition (often called practice) fortifies the belief of success.
Sometimes confidence is based on an apples-to-oranges comparison: I learned how to play the piano, so I believe I can learn how to work on automobile engines. Here both are intricate skills (like both apples and oranges are fruits), but the knowledge and dexterity required for the respective activities does not transfer from one to the other.
And sometimes confidence is based on an apple sauce to apples comparison: I made a mess of things before, but now I see how to avoid the previous mistakes and understand the path to success. Mistakes and “apple sauce” are often unavoidable, and it’s usually best to get them out of the way as soon as possible and fail faster to success.
Regardless of the fruit combination, artifacts from the past such as old pictures, diplomas, and even rejection letters can give us the surety that only comes from a been-there-done-that path.
Two years ago, I got into the best shape of my life. A year ago, I slipped out of shape as I allowed my self discipline to wane under financial and relationship pressures. Now I’m back on the path of being in top shape, and it is the pictures and videos from two years ago that are driving me on to success today. In reviewing these old pics and videos, I ask myself, “How much better I can I be this time?”
Although my “Failure” video tends to get the most attention, it is the video below that I return to when I need a little extra fortification in my belief of success:
Reviewing the past is different that getting stuck there. It is practice, comparable experience, and mistakes that forge confidence and blaze the trail to future success.
How do you build confidence? Do you reflect on symbols or records of the past to bolster your belief in future success? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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