Winston Churchill once said, “Success is not final; failure is not fatal.” Too often, we find ourselves living in the past, relishing in the triumphs of the good ole days or sulking in the defeats of yesteryear. However, living in the past can be both delusional and damaging.
The delusional quality of living in the past rests in the fact that we usually amplify our memories. Hardly ever do we remember things as they actually were. In our reflections, good times are always better. Our glory days are filled with memories of our best possible selves; leaping tall buildings in a single bound and running faster than a speeding bullet. Much in the same way, others of us tend to remember the bad times much worse than they ever were. We only recall the horrors we endured; every psycho in our nightmares on Elm Street and all the misery every Friday the 13th. Our memories of what has happened hardly ever match the actual experience.
This detatched sense of reality can be very damaging, because amplied memories cause one of three things to happen. From the positive end of the spectrum, we try hard to relive an experience that never happened. Adversely, from the negative end, we will retreat from any semblance of fright that never occurred. Worse yet, from either end, we will become paralysed in whatever we remembered, never being able to live in the moment we are experiencing.
Whatever damage we incur from living in the past is due to the fact that, too often, we internalize the external things that happen to us. In other words, we attach success, failure, win or loss to our person; identifying ourselves by what we did or did not accomplish. However, I am a living witness that who I am is not the sum total of what I have experienced. I can’t afford cheapen my character down to my former victories or defeats. Who I am, and who I’m made to become, can never be determined by my circumstances. Some of the greatest people I have ever known, who have made major impacts on me personally, never accomplished anything remarkable or noteworthy. They were great people because they knew who they were, and why they were here.
So then, Churchill was right. Winning once is no reason to quit pursuing. Failing once never destroyed the chances of succeeding. Every new day is filled with different challenges. The person we are now, and the person we will become, will transcend every experience. Let me encourage you, no matter what you’ve dealt with, no matter what you currently have on your plate, no matter what comes your way, your character will always be more valuable than your experience. Refuse to be defined by your circumstances, and be free to be your best you. Be free to enjoy every high. Be free to learn from every low. Most importantly, be free in who God has created you to be, and you will be great … no matter what!
© 2014 Team Murph Publishing / DJoaquin Publishing, All Rights Reserved.
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