Shortlink for Sharing:
Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookShare on Reddit

You Can’t Go Back

Posted by .

How many times in a week or even in a day do you wish you could rewind? Handle something differently or say the right thing? Don’t let yourself stay stuck in the past!

I read constantly, both fiction and non-fiction. When I am reading a fictional tale, I enjoy finding a life lesson revealed within the context of the story. In an excerpt from Mad Ship by Robin Hobb, the character Wintrow is depressed because his life is way off the course he had planned. Mostly due to unfortunate events that were out of his control.

He shook his head sadly, “I do not know. Perhaps it is, for other folk, I only know it was not what I was accustomed to, nor what I expected. I keep trying to think of a way to get back to where I was and restore my life to what it is supposed to be, but—

“You can’t go back,” she told him bluntly. Her voice was neither kind or unkind. “That part of your life is over. Set it aside as something you have finished. Complete, or no, it is done with you. No being gets to decide what his life is ‘supposed to be.’” She lifted her eyes and her gaze stabbed him. “Be a man. Discover where you are now, and go on from there, making the best of things. Accept your life, and you might survive it. If you hold back from it, insisting this is not your life, not where you are meant to be, life will pass you by. You may not die from such foolishness, but you might as well be dead for all the good your life will do you or anyone else.”


© Flickr user charliehey

Do you ever find yourself trying to go back in time? It is only natural to think that we can fix things by putting them back to the way they were before. Life just doesn’t work that way! I find that when I am facing a difficult situation, it is important to remember not to try to undo the past, but to chart a new future. I must evaluate the current situation, learn from the past, but move forward. This may seem easy as you read this example, but subconsciously we want to go back to a time when we were comfortable. I try to recognize when I fall into this trap. It is true. We cannot go back.

What do you do when you make a mistake? How do you choose to handle it? Robby Slaughter explained in an AccelaWork article that there are four types of mistakes.

The idea comes from Eduardo Briceño, whose post Mistakes Are Not All Created Equal explains the concept. He lists the categories as follows:

  • A-Ha Moment Mistakes
  • Stretch Mistakes
  • Sloppy Mistakes
  • High-Stakes Mistakes

Where does Briceño come up with this? He plots failures on a grid of learning opportunity vs. intentionality. And if you think about it, this is exactly why mistakes are crucial.

Why is it so important to make a mistake? Because we learn from our errors! It’s so important to take different paths toward one goal to see which one is the best. Use these situations to say to yourself, “Okay, so that’s not the outcome I wanted. Let’s try that again a different way.” Keep your eye on the goal and get right back up on that horse. Look to the future and what you want to achieve, don’t stay in the past with your mistakes. The best of you isn’t hanging around a moment that already happened, it’s waiting for you up ahead!

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookShare on Reddit
Mark S. Brown
Mark S. Brown is an executive coach who is passionate about personal development. He works to make a difference in people's lives by empowering them with skills and knowledge that will improve their lives, the lives of their families, and the communities they live in. Mark has been coached, mentored, and certified by John Maxwell and his team. This coaching certification allows Mark to successfully coach and train individuals, groups, organizations, and companies.
Mark S. Brown


Executive and Business Coach at New Roads Leadership. A founding partner of the John Maxwell Team. We coach for your personal success!
Mark S. Brown
Mark S. Brown

Latest posts by Mark S. Brown (see all)