“This is how I am. This is how I've always been and this is how I am always going to be.” I would listen to my mom say that phrase over and over again for years. And if she wasn't the subject, then she would replace herself with another person, or her job, or her situation and sometimes even me. As a young boy I always thought my mom was stupid for thinking such thoughts, let alone saying them out loud. For the life of me, I couldn't comprehend why a person would even consider living their life by such a conviction. When I was younger I couldn't empathize with what my mom, or any human being with the same kind of thought process.
But now I can. I still believe it’s a lie we can tell ourselves, but now I can relate to what my mom and many other people out there are going through. In some ways, it’s a very rational thought process. Like the old quote says, "If you keep on doing what you've always done, you'll keep on getting what you've always got". Makes sense. If I've been a certain way my whole life, chances are I’ll be that way for the rest of my life right? Wrong.
This lie is a dangerous lie because it prevents us from changing. Change is a necessity of life and it’s a good thing as well. If you had a baby that stayed the same size year after year, you’d be concerned right? You want your baby to change and grow, but when you continue to be the same person year after year, you of course start feeling bad and defeated. Sometimes to make sense of our feelings of defeat we start to believe that change is not possible. But that is only true if you allow it to true.
The past doesn't predict the future because the past doesn't take into account the present. There are so many things you can in the present, even today, that will change what will take place in the future. Remember, “IF you do what you've always done..” The key word is “if”. You don’t have to continue to do the same things you've been doing. Just because something didn't work out in the past doesn't mean that something else won’t work out in the future. You can decide to be different right now.
I know what you’re thinking: “How do I be different? Or how do I do things differently?” Recently I was counseling a group of young men between the ages of 18-22. A few of the young men recently decided to move out there parents’ house for the first time and get a place together. However, after the first few months, they all started to struggle with paying the rent. Month after month they were either late or unable to pay their rent. Even the ones who were getting help from their parents still had trouble paying the bills. They soon realized that something was not right and they if they didn't change something they would soon be out of a place to stay, but like most of us, they all asked the same question, “How do I change?” When I got together with these young men, I explained to them that you can’t live like boys and expect to reap the fruits of men. Basically, if you continue to live like you’re at home with your parents, then eventually you will be back at home with your parents. The solution was they had to get out of their comfort zones and do some things they had never done before. Even if it is as simple as going to a temp agency or filling out job applications, they needed to get out of their comfort zone.
So the same is true for you and me if we don’t want to fall victims to the lies. We must think creatively and step outside our comfort zone and do something that we've never done before, otherwise we’ll get the same results we always do. I know it’s uncomfortable but unless you want to live in the past for the rest of your life, then you can't let the past predict the future.