Recently, I was speaking to an old friend. We were reminiscing about the past and talking about all the good times we once had. But we also talked about some of the bad times. We had started a software company together when I was fresh out of college. And like any other two wild-eyed entrepreneurs, we had our sights set on success no matter what the costs.
We worked tirelessly. But with little knowledge of sales and marketing at the time, although we had a great product, we had no idea how to run a company. So we eventually failed. I still remember when we had to fire all the employees and my old friend, Alex, who did the firing, had tears streaming from his eyes. To say that we were both devastated is an understatement.
In our conversation, we talked about going back in time and what we would do differently. We talked about how we would have managed the employees better, where we would have spent our advertising dollars, and how we would have enhanced the sales cycle. As we were talking about it, something really dawned on me.
The truth? I would never want to go back in time and do things differently. No matter what. I would never want to undo my failures, as much as they hurt me. I would never want to unwind the clock and try to skip past the painful moments or try to live a perfect life because it’s my failures that have shaped and molded me the most. Not my successes.
Sure, success is great. It’s an exhilarating feeling to be on top of the world. But that doesn’t define you. In fact, if you’re anything like me, and you experienced some big successes early on in life, you know that the rollercoaster ride is pretty turbulent on the way down. Especially after you’ve succeeded at a high level, failure is brutally painful.
I’m not just talking about the embarrassment of failure. Sure, that’s gut-wrenching. I’m talking about going from having all the money and friends you could want, to having nothing and realizing that everyone was simply there to enjoy the ride. It really helps you come to some powerful realizations about life, love, the world and the people around you.
I experienced that. Numerous times over. Success to failure. Failure to success. Rinse. And repeat. But eventually I figured it out. I figured out what I was doing wrong. I figured out why I would succeed for a brief period, then fail. But I would have never figured it out had I not failed. I also would never have learned some of the most important lessons in life without those failures.
Going Back In Time To Change Things
Growing up, one of my favorite books in the world was The Time Machine by H.G. Wells. I always wanted to travel in time. But I didn’t want to go backwards. I wanted to go forwards. I was less interested in changing things and far more intrigued by what the world would look like in the future. I’m not so much of a historian as I am a futurist.
However, you might not feel the same way. You might be regretting some of the mistakes that you’ve made and wanting to turn back the hands of time to do things over again. But you shouldn’t. You shouldn’t want to change the way that things have unfolded because there’s a reason for everything. You might not understand it now. And as much as it hurts, there is a grand design.
When I experienced life’s failures and really bad things happened in my life like the untimely loss of those close to me, I vehemently would disagree with a statement like that. Pain shrouds our understanding of life. When we feel hurt, it masks any intelligible reasoning or logical comprehension about anything worthwhile. We’re just hurt. That’s all.
Still, wanting to go back in time and change things won’t help us. We can’t live in the past. We have to be present and live in the here and now. We have to appreciate what we have, no matter how meek or little it might seem. Our problems, if given to someone else halfway across the world, would pale in comparison. In fact, many people would love to have your problems.
If you focus on your problems, you’ll get more problems. Alternatively, if you focus on the positive aspects of your life, you’ll reap positivity. You’ll see the good things and you’ll be grateful for what you have, even if it’s not very much. In turn, you won’t think about trying to go back in time and do things differently.
Problems are a sign of life. Everyone has them. You can’t simply do everything in your power to avoid problems. Embrace your problems. Learn from them. Allow them to help you improve your life, mature, grow, get stronger, wiser, smarter and better at solving them. Over time, you’ll become a problem-solving expert and nothing can stand in your way.
5 Reasons Why I Would Never Change Things Today
The conversation I had with my friend, really brought back a lot of old memories. It’s funny how you forget things that transpired, even when they had such a big impact on you, because they happened so long ago. They simply fuse into part of your being, molding you a bit, shaping you in all the right areas of your life.
There are loads of reasons why I would never go back in time to change things, but there are 5 that stand out. These 5 reasons helped create the core of who I am today. Even after all those painful failures that I suffered and all the pain that I had to go through, I would still never change things. I would never alter a single thing that occurred for some very powerful reasons.
#1 — I am who I am today because of my failures
When I was broke, hopeless and alone, I was afraid. I was at an emotional dead-end. I thought I was done. In my mind, everything was over. After suffering one nail-in-the-coffin setback after another, I wasn’t quite sure how I could go forward. I just wanted to give up and throw in that towel and call it quits for good.
I didn’t see a point in moving forward. I didn’t see a point in trying again when it was just going to end in failure. What I didn’t realize was that those failures were setting me up for tremendous success. Those failures were going be the platform and foundation for something beyond my wildest dreams.
I am who I am today because of my failures. I am compassionate because I’ve failed. I am understanding because I’ve failed. I am more emotionally aware because I’ve failed. I’m smarter because I’ve failed. And I understand the values and beliefs of the things that matter in life because of those failures. So I would never take them back. I would never go back in time and change a single thing.
#2 — I figured out what worked and what didn’t
Another reason why i wouldn’t go back to change things is because all of the mistakes and failures helped me to figure out what worked and what didn’t. Even though that process was a very long one, I came to some realizations about my self and the things that I was doing that were resulting in failure.
The biggest thing that I discovered was that you never actually fail unless you give up. I looked at some of the most famous people in life that have failed, realized how many times they had to fail before they achieved wild success and it really moved me and changed me at the core.
You never really see the stories of failure on television; you just see the success. You don’t see what it took for someone to get to where they are. You don’t see all the hard work and determination, the setbacks and upsets, defeats and failures along the way. All you see is the success.
#3 — I realized that the grass is always greener on the other side
The funny thing that I realized along the way, and another reason why I don’t want to go back in time to change things, is that the grass is always greener on the other side. When I was home, I wanted to be on the road traveling. Then, when I was traveling for months on end, I missed being home.
However, this wasn’t just about traveling. This extended into every area of my life. I always wanted something, then when I attained it or did it, I wanted something different. Sound familiar? The truth is that many of us are like this. However, this drew me to a very powerful realization about life.
I realized that I needed to focus on the happiness within me. Nothing on the outside was going to give me happiness if I wasn’t happy on the inside. No amount of money, things, travel, relationships or anything else was going to do it. If I wasn’t happy, nothing would change that aside from what I focused on within my own self.
#4 — My bad habits were limiting me more than my good habits were helping me
If you’re anything like I was, then you have some bad habits that are holding you back. That’s not to say that I don’t have any bad habits left, but they’re certainly few and far between. However, with each passing failure, I discovered that those failures were born from my own personal limitations.
I was trying to escape when things got bad. I was deflecting by using my bad habits. How did it happen? I started to succeed and I stopped paying attention to the details. I started having fun and ignoring my responsibilities. In the process, I developed some very bad habit that debilitated me.
The problem that most of us have is that it’s hard to admit the things that are holding us back. Our egos preclude us from doing that. We argue things away to chance, bad luck, misfortune, lack of money, lack of opportunities and so on, when, in fact, the problem has to do entirely with us. When you realize that, and you work to change it, anything is possible.
#5 — It was time to stop blaming things away and start taking action
I wouldn’t go back in time to change things because I would never have realized that I needed to stop blaming everyone and everything else for my problems. I would never have discovered that my failures and mistakes were a product of my own doing. I created the problems. I helped to fester them in my own mind.
I realized that I was giving up too soon. I was creating the problems in my mind, then limiting my own behavior because of the mentality that I was living in. Everything the mind conceives, it gets. Focus truly is power here. And instead of blaming things away, I knew I had to do something about it and start taking some action.
When you constantly repeat the same pattern over and over again, you come to that realization. Einstein once said that “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.” That’s exactly what I was doing. But had I not failed repeatedly, how could I have come to that realization?
The truth is that you learn far more from your mistakes than you do from your successes. How are we supposed to grow and get better if we always want to fix the mistakes of the past and undo the things that were done? No, it’s all by design. Everything was meant to shape you in some way.
Even if it was something so traumatic that you simply can’t wrap your mind around a reason for it, there is one. It’s hard to realize it at the moment. But when you reflect back on life years into the future, you’ll understand that it was simply part of the grand design and meant to move you in the direction of your destiny.