I often hear people say, “I wish I could do that over again.” Or “I feel so bad about what happened; I wish I had never said anything.” Or “I wish I had never made that investment.” Or “I wish I had never dated that person.” When you make these types of statements you are wishing you had done something differently.
My Wish-I-Hadn’t-Done-That List
Like all of these people, I have done some stupid things. I have said irresponsible things that damaged relationships. I have handled myself inappropriately in business settings. I have thrown eggs at people’s homes and snowballs at cars. I have drunk too much. I have done drugs. I have made terrible investments and lost millions of dollars. I have lied to people. I have acted like a fool. I have been disrespectful to others. The fact is—and I am not proud to say—that just about any bad thing you have done, it’s possible that I may have done that, too.
Of all the unwise things I have done, there are some that have scarred me for life and I think about these more than others. In fact, I will likely think about them the rest of my life no matter how much I try not to think of them. While I no longer allow them to impact my emotions, I will not be able to erase them from my memory. Do you have some like this?
If I Could Rewind the Clock of Time
A couple weeks ago I was thinking about something I wish I had never done. I then started thinking, if I could rewind the clock and do some things differently, would I?
After a long walk contemplating this notion, I determined I would not want to go back and do something differently. My conclusion was that everything that has happened to me has happened for a reason. I determined that, no matter how painful something has been, the experience has taught me a lesson and contributed to making me the person I am today.
This is not to say that I am totally happy with my life and who I am. I am scarred. I have warts. I am far from perfect. I still do things I regret.
As I look at some of my most painful lessons that I will likely never forget, they are the lessons that have played a huge role in forming my beliefs. Saying something stupid to someone and hurting them has made me more careful with what I say to others. Each bad investment I have made has influenced my investment criteria and made me wiser.
I have some things on my list that may not have played a major role in the person I have become and I wish I had never done them, but they are done. The fact is, I can’t turn back the clock and neither can you. There is no such thing as a Fairy Godmother or a Genie in a Bottle who can make our wishes come true.
My Philosophy, My Plan
Spending time wishing you hadn’t done something is spending time on something you can’t change or control. It’s OVER! All you can do is learn as much as you can from the experience, determine what if any changes you are going to make in your life as a result, and then use your self-control to move on. You cannot allow any mistake to weigh so heavily on you that you can’t move forward to live a happy and fulfilling life.
After going through the thought process described in this lesson, I wondered if others have felt the same way. Then yesterday this post appeared in the comments section below my post Count Your Blessings.
“I share these sentiments in my book, “Thank God for the Shelter – Memoirs of a homeless healer.” Being homeless taught me to count my blessings each day. I wouldn’t change those nine months for the world. I am so much more connected to what the world really needs… hope. Love is wonderful but when you have lost hope, you are in darkness, you’re blind and wouldn’t see love if it slapped you in the face. Thanks again for such great posts.” Versandra
I believe we would all live happier and more fulfilling lives if we stopped wishing we could change the past. Instead be thankful for who we are and the experiences we have had—both good and bad.
I have made the decision to no longer wish I could turn back the clock and do something over. I am going to focus on learning from the mistakes of the past and concentrate on making the changes I need in the future to become a better person. I am going to draw from all my experiences to fulfill my purpose—to live a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.
I challenge you to adopt my philosophy and follow my plan. Will you join me?
- Stop worrying about things you cannot change.
- Stop allowing things of the past to bring you down.
- Stop wishing you could turn back the clock and do something over.
- Learn all you can from each experience.
- Use your self-control; do not allow it to bother you.
- Accept yourself for you who are—blemishes and all?
- Live your life with passion and purpose.
With what you have learned from your life experiences, you have never been in a better position to achieve the things that are important to you. Don’t wish you could turn the clock back and redo something that happened. Be thankful for the knowledge you gained and how you can use that knowledge to become the person you want to be.
Tell me about your commitment in the comment section below this post.
Today is a new day! It is the first day of the rest of your life. If can also be the beginning of a new chapter in your life.
About the Author: Todd Smith is a successful entrepreneur of 30 years and founder of Little Things Matter. To receive Todd’s daily lessons, subscribe here. All Todd’s lessons are also available on iTunes as downloadable podcasts. (Todd’s podcasts are ranked #27 in America’s top 100 podcasts and #1 in the personal and development field.)