by A.C. Green
Two NBA players have returned to the NBA after kidney transplants: Alonzo Mourning (a former teammate of mine with the Miami Heat), and Sean Elliot.
When Alonzo was working to return, he made a very interesting commment in an interview about his progress: “I count my blessings every day and I realize how fortunate I am. Sometimes you’ve got to look back…in order to look forward. In looking back, I’m able to build off of where I was and where I am now.”
Now, you may have also heard that it is important to forget what is behind and keep moving toward what is ahead. So which viewpoint is right? I think we can gather some important principles from both.
If we are constantly focused on past mistakes or past accomplishments, past regrets or past celebrations…the key word for each of these is PAST. Can you really hope to move forward if your mind is filled with the past and has no room for the present? I doubt it.
You need to continually focus on the goals you want to achieve, and consider carefully the steps you must take to get there. As I have said many times before, the decisions you make today will directly impact your tomorrow.
But Alonzo also makes a good point. Sometimes looking back can provide a great perspective and enable you to look forward. Here’s an example:
You have a big test coming up on Monday. The last time you had a test like this, you didn’t do very well because you spent all weekend going to movies, playing video games…basically doing anything but studying. You have a choice – you can learn from the past situation and prepare yourself for the upcoming test, or you can repeat your mistake. There’s a proverb that says, “As a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.” That paints quite a vivid picture, doesn’t it?!
Here’s another example that is a bit more encouraging:
You are trying out for the high school basketball team. It’s really hard work and you don’t know if you can do it. Part of you just wants to quit. But then you remember that you faced the same insecurities trying out for the junior high team. You remember gritting your teeth, putting your head down and working, working, working. You remember seeing all that hard work pay off. You can learn from this past situation and gain motivation to press on, determining to never give up on your goals.
Don’t be afraid to learn from your past as you move forward into the future. But remember, past mistakes never mean you have to fail in the future. Today is a new day. Start making good decisions that will lead you toward your goals.