I was inspired to write this post by the one and only line I can distinctly remember from a movie I watched as a kid called, The Gumball Rally, a comedy about an illegal coast to coast road race.
Raul Julia played an Italian race car driver. In this particular scene, as he is revving up his Ferrari and about to take off, he looks over to his passenger and says, “The first rule of Italian driving," pausing to yank off the rear view mirror and tossing it behind him. "What’s behind me, it's not important.”
Forty years later, I don’t remember much about the movie, but I’ve never forgotten that line. Little did I know then, those words would become the cornerstone of how I live my life and how I coach my clients.
If you really pay attention to the conversations you have with most people, they are talking about their past. Either it’s something that recently occurred that very morning, or the topic will shift to include past hurts and disappointments. Some perceived and others real.
One of the reasons I love coaching is because I enjoy helping people be forward-focused rather than dwelling on disappointments and obsessively trying to untangle the knots of their past.
Look around, the people who are enjoying their life the most are too busy with what’s currently going in their lives or they're putting their attention towards future goals. They don't carry the past with them - it's clunky and burdensome. They understand these events have long since receded into life's rear-view mirror.
Focusing solely on the now, while looking forward to the future takes practice, but it’s a great habit to develop that will have a huge impact on the quality of your life.
Don't get me wrong. I am in no way, shape or form minimizing what happened to you in the past. That awful event never should’ve occurred, we can agree on that, but sadly, it did.
So what do you do?
Well, you can spend the rest of your days lamenting about the injustice of it all or you can find a way to change the past.
Impossible, you say?!
Well, there is a way. You see, the past only exists in your memory. It’s a story you keep telling yourself and insist on carrying with you. That’s a lot of heavy baggage weighing down your heart, your soul, and your happiness. You deserve better! You know that, right?
To borrow a phrase from our fave Ice Queen Elsa:
Let. It. Go.
From this moment on, set an intention to focus on the here and now. When the ghosts of past hurts and disappointments start rattling their chains, and they will, be the victor and not the victim. This is your cue to tell yourself, “It’s okay. That was in the past, and right now I’m focused on what is going well in my life and bringing me joy."
If you must revisit the past, do so to see the lesson in the experience, but please don’t become a squatter there.
Remember, you’re the one behind the wheel on this crazy, wonderful ride called life.
So tilt that rear view mirror towards you, apply your favorite sexy lipstick, hit the gas, and don’t look back!