It is very well documented that people see in pictures. If I say the words red elephant, do you immediately see the letters “r-e-d e-l-e-p-h-a-n-t”, or do you see an image of a red elephant? We also have those same pictures that represent of view of our future and what is possible for us.
And some of that picture that we subconsciously imagine about ourselves is because… of a piece of equipment that came with us when we were formed. It is called a self-limiting, rear view, mirror. It automatically looks at our past and then concludes that who we have been, is who we are. And then it effortlessly informs us that it also is who we are destined to become.
Think of something that you failed at when you were young, and did not continue with until you overcame it? How about speech class in school? Did you thoroughly enjoy giving speeches in front of your class? Most people are very afraid to speak in front of others, and some of that is because they associated their fear with a past failure. And then, because of that failure, their picture of their future does not include any public speaking in it, thanks to that self-limiting rear-view mirror.
I believe that we must be very careful about how we use that rear-view mirror. Our past has already been written, and there is nothing we can do about it other than learn from it. And we should indeed learn from it. We should never beat ourselves up, or anybody else for that matter, because of making a mistake, sometimes that is how we learn. One of my mentors says, “Fail early, and fail often”. We must accept that failing or making mistakes is a part of life. Many people focus hard on eliminating all mistakes or failures. They “think” that the best path to become better, or more valuable, is to not make mistakes. I would like to challenge that thinking.
You probably don’t remember your first steps that you made as a young child, but I am quite confident that you fell, numerous times. What if you had decided at that time walking must just not be for you? There is a very long list of other things that you do now that are easy for you, that were at one time hard. It seems that when we are young, the rear-view mirror is not yet functioning, and we just continue to fail as we master whatever we are in pursuit of.
Why can’t we still ignore that mirror as we get older just like we did as a child? Who says that just because we have failed at something, means success in that area can not be in our future? I believe that just like when we learned to walk, failure is sometimes necessary in the process of learning. We should not get up looking for a place to fail, but we should be willing to step out of our comfort zones, knowing and accepting that we may fail.
Can you see a picture for yourself that is bigger, or better, that where your currently are? Are you willing to ignore that rear-view mirror to get there? I believe that your best is yet to come!