I woulda, coulda, shoulda

You hear the admonishment all the time about how you should stop living in the past, stop trying to remake past decisions, etc. but has anyone ever explained to you why this is such a bad idea? I didn’t think so…so let me be the first. For an example, let’s take a decision you might have made in the past that you now beat yourself up about…say the decision 20 years ago NOT to go to medical school…because you look at your friends who did go and they seem more successful, happy, etc. than you and, frankly, it pisses you off.

Now, I have no idea if you were or weren’t in this situation but it’s as good as any to use for explanation purposes.

First let’s talk about the whole “breaking the laws of physics” aspect of this exercise meaning that TIME TRAVEL IS NOT POSSIBLE so it is and always will be a mental workout only. But, for the sake of this argument, let’s suspend those rules for a second and talk about what might happen if you could go back in time to the exact moment that you made that decision.

Well, I think it’s quite plain to see that there’s been 20 years of living your life since then; successes and failures, learning and gaining knowledge and acquiring wisdom that can only come from the passage of time. Not to mention the explicit knowledge of making the decision itself. With that great depth of accumulated data you cannot re-make the decision in the exact same environment, you just can’t…you know too damn much now that you had no inkling of back then.

Let’s not even talk about cellphones or the internet, ok?

Now, we can take care of all of the knowledge and wisdom (we are bending space and time after all) so let’s say that not only are we sending you back in time, we are also wiping all memories going forward from the moment of the decision. We’re resetting the clock and that puts you exactly where? It puts you in the same place and at the same time as the decision but, MORE IMPORTANTLY, it leaves you with the exact same amount of experience, knowledge and wisdom that you had right up to that moment 20 years ago.

So what decision do you think you’ll (re)make?

That’s right, the exact same one you made before because without the benefit of the aggregate knowledge and experience you’ve gotten since then, you can only make the choice based on the knowledge and experience that you had at that exact moment. Nothing more, nothing less. Remaking past decisions is useless knowing that you made the best possible decision at the time…BEST POSSIBLE using the knowledge and experience that was available to you.

Get it? Get your head out of the past and into this moment…concentrate on the decisions you’re making today, right now.

Live in this moment.

Believe, Go. Do.

~TrevorZen

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