Learn from the past so you can improve your future

Have you ever experienced hard sells from door-to-door salesmen?

This week I had a visit from a gentleman wanting me to advertise my business in local Doctors Surgeries.  As we sat down, I decided to 'set out my stall' and tell him I had 20 minutes only and I don't respond to hard sales techniques.  Yep - I had my scary head on!

He took less than 5 minutes to describe the product, cut straight to the chase on the best deal he could do and within 10 minutes I had already deided to buy!  From that point on however, he started to talk about his personal problems having just had the mother of his daughter split up with him.  And somehow, I went from defending myself from hard sales to conducting a therapy session!

What inspired me to give him my time was he seemed genuinely remorseful for how he had behaved during the relationship and kept saying, "If only I had known then what I know now."  I wonder how many of us have said or thought something similar?

This is a time of year when people tend to naturally reflect on things as the year draws to an end and a new year offers the opportunity for new beginnings.  I have certainly found my mind drifting back over the year and reflecting on all that has gone on.

There was one thing I said to this gentleman that had him diving into his bag for his phone - apparently to record what I had said so he didnt forget it.  "Learn from the past so you can improve the future."

He seemed to find it so profound that it left me wondering if I should give it more of my attention too!  

There are three questions that I often reflect on at this time of year:

- What thing are you most proud of this year?
- What went wrong that you have learned from?
- What one thing is not serving you that should stay in this year and not find its way into the next one?

For me, it is that middle question that is easiest to answer.  There has been A LOT that went wrong and the learning from it, whilst painful at times has been invaluable (remember that song, what doesnt kill you makes you stronger...?)

I often use the metaphor of life being like a book and this time of the year we are coming to the end of a chapter.  In next year's chapter, many of the characters in your book will continue to be part of your story.  Some characters may not feature, new ones come in but ultimately it is YOUR story, so write it well.  And the story will be all the stronger if you learn from the past so that the next chapter sees you wiser, stronger and more resourceful - for that is what learning achieves.

So apart from a great deal on a digital ad, I am very grateful to this salesman for having helped me remember that whilst in many ways, this has been a tough year, it has also been an incredible year for learning and I, like him are going to use that to do my best to make the future the best chapter in the book yet!

How about you??

Published by Caroline Cavanagh, Anxiety Specialist and author of Anxiety Alchemy on |


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