The Good, The Bad, and The Forgotten

Can you recall something stupid you did when you were very young? I remember in grade three telling my teacher I was going to Jay’s house for lunch. I had a crush on Jay and I could not believe my luck that my mom had arranged for his mom to look after us (my brother, sister, and me) at lunch and after school. This was ‘over-the-top’ exciting for me. So exciting I told my teacher at least 3 times that morning. When she let me know that I had already told her I felt foolish and for some reason that feeling and the embarrassment of having my crush found out has not left me.

The Good

Think of all the wonderful things you have done in your life. There are probably a few things that pop into your head, probably the ones that may have affected you emotionally.

Now get out a piece of paper and write down all your achievements, big and small. Write them down if they made a difference in your life, in someone else life, or were just a step in a larger event. Don’t hold back, put down everything.

When I was about 5 my sister and I wandered away from my parents to the river’s edge where my sister fell in. I can picture her head going under the water. I stuck my arm in and pulled her out. Miraculous you might think (and you would be right). This seems like a big accomplishment, but it could have cost my parents both our lives and it took no skill or thought on my part. For most of my life I thought of this as a large accomplishment but it was really just a reaction.

The Bad

These are the things we would like to forget. The mistakes, outburst, errors, misspoken words, assumptions, etc. that led to an event with a negative result for us or others. Check out my last blog on Mistakes.

The Forgotten

I bet when you started the achievement exercise you may have wrote down a few things and thought of stopping. When you spend focused time looking at the positive things you have accomplished you will positively affect your future. But we don’t do this often enough. We can more often remember negative events than positive ones.

Why do we spend so much time, emotion, and resources remembering things that have little or no positive value to our future? Because this is how we add positive value to our future. So now I want you create a two column page. In the first column list all the events that did not work out for you over your life. In the second column write what you learned and how it helped you with future, similar situations. If we spend time looking for the positive outcome in a negative event then everything in our lives becomes an asset to our success.

What I have found is those small accomplishments and any failures that I had to put great thought and emotion to affect the outcome, have been more valuable to my success then the large miraculous events of fortune. My embarrassment with my grade three teacher taught me to be more thoughtful when sharing my excitement if I did not want to share the entire reason I was excited. Because of that I become the person that people wanted to spend time with. It may have made me a less irritating student, but it did not stop me from sharing my thoughts with others.

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