We all indulge in the projection of learned narratives onto the present and future. These habits, however, steal the constantly fluctuating highs and lows of life from us. They dim the joy of living in uninfluenced present moments, leaving us stranded in tales of how things “should be.” Rewrite success and let go of all the stories your past tells you.
Teachings of the Past
As we grow and live, our lives subconsciously program into our minds how certain events unravel. Just because one situation turned out one way, we expect that same situation to repeat over and over again.
Both successes and failures become expected in situations bearing any resemblance to the past. But this mentality isn’t true whatsoever. We decide how events unravel through deciding how we allow them to effect us.
Realizing the only thing that says the past defines the present is you is precisely what frees you.
The only way that past occurrences have any influence on present moments is if we don’t learn from them. Expectation of change through repetition is the ultimate foolery.
In order to prevent repetition of undesirable feelings, moments, or relationships, we must reflect upon why they happened in the first place. These things don’t just happen to us, they happen for us. Learn from them and actively alter your present and future outcomes.
Successes teach us in a similar manner. Just because one mode of achievement worked in the past, doesn’t guarantee the same result in the future. We triumph as reinforcement of beneficial behaviors and as an augmentation of learned positive attributes.
In order to continue feeling such fulfillment, growth is required. Past successes create doors for future achievement, but you must first open them with the lessons that took you there.
Just as past narratives influence how we view current and future situations, they also propel us into certain beliefs regarding who we are and what we should want.
Image via Girl Boss
Ideas vs Reality
You’ve most likely encountered the concept of loving the idea of something more than you love that thing itself. This not only applies to simple things like the car you drive but also big-picture components of life such as careers and relationships.
Just as we let the past influence the present we allow societal and cultural ideas of what’s desirable dictate our lives. Escaping this pattern is pretty simple. But leaving behind such deeply engrained ideals proves a bit scary as well.
The comfort of camouflage often guises itself as self-perpetuated decision making. We are attracted to things that appear good on paper, but potentially leave us unfulfilled otherwise. In order to pursue a life that genuinely appeases our highest self, we must escape the comforts of what we’re told is acceptable.
It all begins with one simple question: do I feel comfortable with this decision because I’m being someone else, or because I’m being myself?
This question changed it all for me. It starts from the small things like what you’re wearing for the day, to your major at school. Find comfort in changing this way. You’ll quickly realize how it snowballs into massive life shifts.
Both not allowing the past to dictate the present and creating an individualized definition of success fall under what I deem as conscious living.
Thoughtfully analyzing each decision you make regardless of their relative “size” allows the curation of a life modeled to our true desires.
Rewrite what success means to you. It doesn’t make sense that achievement falls under the same category of attainments for every person on earth. Figure out yours, and then never stop chasing after it.
Cover image via Mind Valley Blog
Also published on Medium.