free yourself

Free Yourself From Your Past

Sep 8th 2015
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It's natural for people to change over time – whether it be preferences, opinions, outlook, or appearance. If you're unable to recognize how you've changed, however, your past might overinfluence your decisions.

A study published in the Annual Review of Psychology found that “people less able to relate the person of the past to the person they are now may be at greater psychological risk because they are thinking only in the present and their view of the future may not be developed.”

The study's lead researchers – Rachel Karniol from Tel Aviv University in Israel and Michael Ross from the University of Waterloo in Ontario – wrote: “Individuals often react to the present as if they were living in the past.” To make free and clear choices about what we want in the future, it behooves each of us to draw accurately upon our pasts, but also note what's different about today. Thus, you do not have to proceed as an extension of what came before.

Take a New Direction
Rather than managing your firm or living life by looking through a rearview mirror, boldly go where you've never gone before. You'll accomplish things that once might have seemed beyond your grasp.

You can proceed in a new direction if that is what makes sense at this moment. You can make a slight twist or turn. Or, you can continue in the same direction.

We play in the sandbox and, too often, claim we didn't step into it, we didn't pick up the shovel, and we didn't cause that speck of sand to fly into our eye. If you milk it for all its worth, you can labor under this delusion for all your life. You can credit your current situation to your boss.

Over the course of your 20,000 to 28,000 days, most of what transpires in your life is the result of the choices you make. Yes, occasionally challenges arise from out of left field but, mostly, you make the choices that impact your life.

It's All Yours
When you accept responsibility for the situation, you put the locus of control back where it belongs – in your own head. From there, miraculous results can happen. You created the situation and, sure as heck, are going to resolve it. No more second-guessing, no more recriminations, no more lost time on the path. Take responsibility, take charge, and get it done.

About the author:
Jeff Davidson, a.k.a. “The Work-life Balance Expert"® works with busy accountants to increase their work-life balance, so that they can be more productive and competitive, and still have a happy home life. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, and Dial it Down, Live it Up. Visit


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