How The Past Can Affect Your Future and How To Harness It

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How The Past Can Affect Your Future and How To Harness It

People get obsessed with what their future self will be like. Many ask questions such as ‘how successful will I be or how much money will I earn? When, in fact, their current state is the reflection they should focus on to achieve their goals. Striving for this perfect future life often ends in heartbreak.

If you’re one of the lucky ones, you might get precisely what you want, but for the majority, there will be several hurdles stacked against you. That’s not to say it’ll never happen for you, but there will be hard graft along the way to realize these goals.

To release the energy you need to succeed, you need to establish what defines your current personality traits and feelings. Most people think is affected by the here and now, but in fact, your past has played a significant part in where you are in your life at this very point in time. The key here is not to let those past experiences completely define who you are as a person but enhance it.

So how does your past affect your present?

We all have memories from our childhood, some good, and some bad. As you get older, you develop feelings and beliefs about certain situations from what you have seen and experienced. It doesn’t have to be an experience that affects the way you view something either, as just the perception of how you viewed it also has an effect.

The perception aspect can be a significant issue for how you deal with things in the present. If you experienced something as a child that made you second-guess yourself, this might have transitioned with you in later life.

It’s this element that can also cause paranoia or over-thinking of simple scenarios you face on a daily basis. For example, if you’re in a relationship and your partner has many friends of the opposite sex, you may feel they could be unfaithful. Or if someone at work has a desire for promotion; you might think they’ll automatically stab you in the back.

It’s not just personal factors of the past that affect you either. External sources, such as faith and beliefs, can also impact your present. Areas such as religion raised infamous questions such as ‘who decided what went into the Bible’ and ‘what role did specific texts play’? Canonization of the Bible helped alleviate the conflicts of information and established a set of scriptures that followers of faith now learn and implement in everyday life. These ancient texts can have a significant impact on your present, as it is also often down to how an individual interprets the scripts.

Both personal experiences and beliefs could be affecting your present, so how will this change the way you look to the future?


How you can harness your past experiences to create a better future

It can be challenging to let go of previous experiences and perceptions. However, in doing so, you can open yourself up to new and better experiences this time around. You don’t have to let the past define you in its entirety. However, it should have some impact on how to cope with any knockbacks.

Past experiences also have a funny way of making you believe that if you try something again, that the same outcome will happen, and if the last time you failed, you’ll expect to fail again. The answer in this instance is to leave these feelings well in the past.

One of Einstein’s most famous quotes explains this perfectly – ‘Insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting a different result.’ So make sure you do it differently! It’s not just how you do it, it’s your changing your mindset about it too. If you carry out the same thing exactly as you did in the past, how can you expect the outcome to be different? You can’t!

To realize self-growth, you have to leave the negative aspects of your experiences behind and focus on the positives. Every failure is a life lesson, and no matter how hard you fell; there is always something to take away from it. These life lessons can be challenging to figure out, so surrounding yourself with like-minded people and a supportive network will solidify the principles you need to set.

Why it’s essential to envision your future?

Hopes and dreams may sound fluffy, but they are significant aspects of your life that help you makes plans. Practically no one just bimbles through adulthood without something to aspire too, even if that’s just putting food on the table. So harnessing these beliefs and aspirations is key to securing a better future.


Letting go of experiences that failed in the past, and the predictions that something may go wrong again is essential to focus your goals. Future plans allow you time to research and develop new ideas to overcome hurdles and potential failures.


Obtaining the assistance of others during your plans can also help you see from another perspective. A collaborative effort is said to improve success rates in a given task, so sharing thoughts and feelings about your future goals could present a range of opportunities you never knew existed.  


Envisioning your future also equips you with the tools to solve problems in an effective manner. Rather than outright failure, you will have the time to find solutions to your situation. If things go wrong, it’s not just how you handle them, it’s how you feel about it too. Preparation enables you to determine how you would cope emotionally with the outcome, and how you might look at the reasoning more logically rather than sensitively.

The saying ‘you never know what the future may hold’ couldn’t be more accurate, no matter what your circumstances. The future has an incredible way to surprising every single one of us, whether we like it or not. So thinking about how your past is affecting your present and how it could shape your future could be the key to unlocking your potential.


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About Author

Jamie Sorenson

Jamie Sorenson is a freelance writer with a Masters in Communications from Quinnipiac. An inspiring screenplay writer, Jamie freelances for many media outlets.