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Don’t Let Your Past Decide Your Future

I love teaching. I loved it when I was working with junior high students, and I’m loving it now in high school. What I’ve realized over and over again is that what I love isn’t just teaching my subject, but teaching students. They have such a future focused, forward facing mindset that I just can’t get enough of. In most circumstances, they are thinking about what is coming next, or sometimes way further down the line than even that. There are certainly some potential pit falls to getting too far ahead of themselves, but honestly, I think it’s so much better and easier to direct that because it carries a natural sense of hope that makes things way easier to handle.

That is exactly why, I think, I find it so frustrating when they selectively lose sight of that and only look back for the sake talking about how things are beyond their control. The same kid who will talk about making it to the NBA in the future, even though they can’t dunk “yet,” will, in the very next breath, talk about how they’ve just never been good at math and never will be. It’s frustrating, but also incredibly relatable. Honestly, when we look to the future, so often we can try and play both sides. The things that we really want for future us, we see paths to and think about what it will be like when learn how to do that, when set that new habit, or when people recognize what we can do. On the other hand, when we think about things that are difficult and unpleasant for us, we tend to assume that future us will be doomed to keep fighting this same battle that we have been since who knows when.

Honestly, whether we are predicting future success or failure, we tend to be right. There is a path to future success, but we’ll only be able to walk it if we can see it, and we’ll only be able to see it if we believe it’s there. This is what’s at the heart of the famous Henry Ford quote, “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.” Our past will only define our future if we choose to let it. Let’s make sure we learn from out past, but never let it control us.

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