Insights from the Pavement: Past Failures


On the road we make decisions that either make our path rockier or pave the way for smooth sailing. And in life, this metaphor is realized in a much grander scope.

Some of us may have heard someone say, “Your past does not equal your future.” And for all intents and purposes, this is true. This is referring to any possible past failures somehow contributing to deterioration of some misty promise of a new, positive or fulfilling path.

And while we certainly represent the collective average of our past victories and defeats, this does not necessarily mean that any of our past patterns have any business in our future lives.

What it does mean, however, is that what’s most important is the decision that we make right now.

We are never going to be able to change our past. But that’s not a bad thing. Since our past brought us to where we are at, for better or worse, here we are. And it’s not what’s in the past that matters.

This seems like a very simple idea – one that has been echoed many different times in many different ways.  But it’s nevertheless very important that we take this idea one step further and not just realize that this is true, but also that we continue without any shame of our past decisions.

Many of us are stuck in a cycle of embarrassment or shame that we place on ourselves from the decisions we’ve made in the past. But this adds up quickly and it compounds with each new decision.

When we allow ourselves to hold on to the weight of our past failures, what we’re really doing is telling ourselves that it’s okay feel undeserving of future successes. And that isn’t good for anyone – and certainly not our sense of self.

Many times, the person who thinks the worst of our failures is us – oftentimes meaning much less to witnesses. And so letting go of the perceived embarrassment of those failures is limited only by our own opinions and perceptions. And even if our failures impacted others, it’s still just as likely that we are still our biggest critics in these matters.

It may be necessary to attempt to clean the slate with others (who are worth keeping on as friends in the future). But it is always crucial that we do so with ourselves. Facing our demons goes without saying. But embracing our time in the trenches will do us the most good if we are to remove ourselves from that pattern of repeating failures.

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