One of the concepts I hope you’ll keep in mind as you strive to evolve into the most powerful version of yourSELF and to make the most significant contributions to this world that you can is that the future defines the past. What I mean by this is that the way you regard today’s trials and tribulations will very much depend on where they lead. Therefore, you can afford to be kind to yourself and look forward, with faith.
Here’s an example. Let’s say you’re writing a book (or starting a company, or trying to improve your marriage, or running for office). Maybe the book is taking you three times as long as you planned. Maybe, even after finishing it, the first 25 publishers turn it down. Yet, if the 26th publisher accepts it and publishes it to glowing reviews, all the struggle will look like it was worth it. The future success of the project will light up the path that led to it.
Running a marathon is another example. At many points along the way, the journey may seem beyond arduous. Quitting may seem like the best option. One might wish not to have ever started. Yet, at the end of the race, all the miles will likely get redefined. They will likely seem well worth it.
Certainly, there will be times in life when we find ourselves “in the weeds.” The terrain can be so punishing and the skies so dark that we see nothing up ahead. And, yet, if we can remember that we can’t judge the present moment until we can look back at it from “up ahead,” then some of the suffering can be taken out of it. We can persevere. We can let the jury stay out. We can hope for the best.
This perspective is extremely important because I don’t know many worthy goals or great successes that did not require crossing a chasm. It might be too much to ask that the jagged rock faces be appreciated as they cut deeply. But SELF-possession, in its best sense, can lead to the resolve to bind our wounds, redouble our efforts and look forward to healing in the future.
Dr. Keith Ablow