post written by: Marc Chernoff

10 Thoughts You Must Leave in the Past


10 Thoughts You Should Leave in the Past

A new way of thinking has become the necessary condition for responsible living and acting.  If we maintain obsolete values and beliefs, a fragmented consciousness and self-centered spirit, we will continue to hold onto outdated goals and behaviors.
-Dalai Lama

If you want to move forward, you must change your way of thinking and leave these thoughts behind you:

  1. “I don’t have a choice.” – You write your own destiny through the choices you make.  You become what you repeatedly do.  It is more important to know where you are going and why, than to get there quickly.  Do not mistake activity for achievement.  Every time you are tempted to react to the same old circumstances in the same old way, ask yourself, “Do I want to be a prisoner of the past, or a pioneer of the future?”  Read As a Man Thinketh.
  2. “Life is easy.” – Life is NOT easy, it IS difficult.  That’s the greatest truth there is.  It’s great because once you understand and accept this truth, you can move forward with your life.  Once you thoroughly know in your heart and mind that life is difficult, then life gets a lot easier to deal with.  Because once difficulty is accepted as a foundation, it no longer surprises you or stops you from building a lifestyle that rises above it.
  3. “The way it is now is the way it will always be.” – Don’t confuse your path with your destination.  Just because it’s stormy now, doesn’t mean you aren’t headed for sunshine.  And remember, you cannot heal a lifetime of pain overnight; be patient with yourself, it takes as long as it takes, but your happiness is worth the wait.
  4. “The sky is falling.” – When everything in your life is coming together, you can hold on to the belief that ‘everything happens for a reason’ with frivolous ease.  But when everything’s falling apart – your relationships, your health, your finances, etc. – it takes tremendous effort to wrap your mind and heart around that belief and hold onto it for dear life.  Yet you must.  For in that belief lies your hope, your courage, and your strength to move forward.  Read The Last Lecture.
  5. “Everyone else is doing better than me.” – Do not feed your insecurities, or they will consume you.  Sometimes the reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes circumstances with everyone else’s public highlight reel.  We listen to the noise of the world, instead of ourselves.  So stop the comparisons; listen to your own inner voice and your own soul.
  6. “That’s unrealistic.” – To be successful, you have to be a little unrealistic.  You have to believe that something totally different than what has happened for an eternity can happen.  Think about it.  Being realistic doesn’t change anything; being unrealistic does.  Doesn’t it seem a bit unrealistic to be able to walk into a dark space, hit a switch, and instantly fill the entire space with light?  Fortunately Thomas Edison didn’t think so.
  7. “I wish.” – The best thing you can do for yourself is to stop saying “I wish,” start saying “I will,” and then go do something about it.  The world isn’t going to dominate itself.  You just have to wake up one morning and decide that you don’t want to feel like this anymore, ever again.  And then make a change, just like that.
  8. “It’s too late.” – Believing it’s too late is the end of your journey; believing in yourself is an endless destination.  Trust yourself.  Break the rules.  Don’t be afraid to fail.  Ignore those who doubt you.  Work your butt off.  And be sure to give something back before you’re done.  Read The Art of Non-Conformity.
  9. “I can’t.” – Nobody is going to blindside you and hit you as hard as life will.  Sometimes life will beat you to the ground, and keep you there if you let it.  But it’s not about how hard life can hit you; it’s about how hard you can be hit while continuing to move forward.  That’s what true strength is.  And that’s what winning the game of life is all about.
  10. “This situation couldn’t get any worse.” – Nothing is good or bad, as thinking makes it so.  Be determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation you may find yourself.  For you will eventually learn that the greater part of your happiness or unhappiness is determined not by your specific circumstances, but by your disposition and perspective.

Photo by: J.T. Noriega

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37 Comments

  • Thank you.

  • The bad news and good news for me. Bad news: I recognize myself in some of these. Good news: I do have some awareness of what I am doing and continue to work on improving myself.

    Thanks for another insightful post.

  • Great post guys. It’s hard to argue with any of theses great nuggets. When it comes to approaching a new day I try to remember that “If I have one foot in yesterday and another in tomorrow I crap all over today” and the TODAY is all that matters. The past is history and the future a mystery so all we have is now (do your best).

  • Love, love, love your blogs — #2 is so perfectly worded. Thanks for always choosing the right words to capture what I feel in my heart.

  • Yes, thank you. :)

  • It is true that life is difficult, and though it is hard we have to accept it. Marc, your posts make my day and give me strength to struggle more positively :) Today I learned to say “I will” instead of “I wish.” I never thought like that.
    Bless you :)

  • All the barriers to our happiness are first set in our minds. Only when we get clarity an rid ourselves of these negative thoughts, we can truly be happy. This post was again bang on!

  • I love your blog! It brightens up my day! Thank you for sharing your insights with us!

  • Thank you, I am having my finals and this really helped.

  • I found your site about six months ago and well, you amaze me everyday! The wisdom so simply put and the open space you allow readers to find their own answers is such a gift to all of us regardless of where we are in our lives. I have gained so much from your articles. Thank you.

  • I love these posts! Number 5 is my favorite; how easy is it to get sucked into that trap time and time again. Good reminder, thanks.

  • I’ll agree to disagree with point number 2. I believe life can be easier than we often make it, but we ‘humans’ make it difficult. If everyone would pursue their dreams without asking people , especially family members, “What do you think about (fill in the blank)? Should I pursue this or that?” earth would be a much better place to live.

    Please stop asking others for permission and do what you want to do! Yes, you may face obstacles along the way, but you can ‘easily’ get around them with the right attitude. Life doesn’t have to be an uphill battle.

  • Good list. I would also add: Thinking you know everything you need to know. By all means you should be willing to learn new things every day.

  • Loved section 4 - “The Sky Is Falling”. It’s so true that when everything seems like it’s falling apart, really it’s just falling into place for something even better :)

  • Love it! Reading your material is a wonderful way to start my day :)

  • I’m always a little happier after I read one of your articles. Thanks for making a difference.

  • Dear Marc, I think you might want to include overthinking. Sometimes, I just don’t do what I feel like doing cause I think its gonna give a wrong impression to the other person. For eg, if I think someone looks good , I don’t go up and tell them since I feel they might think I’m in love with them (which I’m not). I just like the way they look. Also, I feel this awkwardness sometimes because I overthink and anticipate from before what everyone expects from me. How do I stop overthinking?

  • Life can be easy. As mentioned later in the article, “nothing is good or bad, as thinking makes it so… determind not by your specific circumstances, but by your disposition and perspective.” It’s your view and perspective that makes it easy or difficult - not saying there won’t be challeges along the way or that there won’t be some hard work, but once you accept life as is (not as difficult), it can be easy.

  • M&A,

    thanks for setting up the weekend on a high note. I promise not to be “realistic”

  • Wow, what a phenomenal post. I was happy to see that most of these are beliefs I already have.

    I often get frustrated when people say the lines above. Anyone can make their life better. An old girlfriend often said #1. It frustrated me because I knew she did have a choice.

  • I completely agree with “stop saying “I wish,” and start saying “I will,” and then actually go do something about it.

    Thinking produced more thinking until thinking is converted to action and produces results.

    “I wish” must become “I will” to bring about a change and transformation in one’s life.

    Thank you for reminding me of it!

  • I agree with amandah and Kate - life is not difficult unless you think it is. It’s all about perspective. Life simply IS.

  • Good stuff as usual. :)

  • #2 and #5 are my lessons to learn!

  • This really hit home with me, excellent work. One of your best yet.

  • As usual a very inspiring post. “I wish” is really a common expression where a majority of us think we can’t do it or achieve something in life.

    As Luke says, it should be always be “I will” - that gives us a renewed hope to move ahead in life.

  • I think these things, and I believe them… and I tell them to people, but I must say that right now am going through a rough patch and I wonder…

    So thank you for giving me some positive reinforcement.

  • Great post ! Number 3 is really what I needed to hear (read) today.

  • I do have a choice, and it’s not too late, and I will!
    Thanks! ^_^

  • For a person who can sometimes be a hardcore pessimist, this one hit me the most! Great post!

  • Love u guys. You’re always an inspiration,when I’m feeling down.

  • Nice words. Right on time

  • This article is very, very good. And it makes me think about the important things in life.
    Thank you for sharing.

  • Great article; packed with motivation!

  • This inspired me. Thank you.

  • I must admit that this post has actually motivated me so much.
    I read your posts everyday and I get so inspired and encouraged.

    Thank you Marc and Angel.

  • Pessimism masquerading as realism makes many things impossible, impractical and discourages action, risk taking and taking bold steps in right direction. I love unrealistic dreams, extraordinary plans, big, hairy audacious goals.

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