“I can’t believe he did that to me. He let me down. I was wronged. Yes, I deserve better. I worked so hard for him and did all he asked of me. Sacrificing so much. Putting off my family to grow a career. I travelled at the drop of a hat for him. And all I got was gray hair and he got a sweet deal.”, a voice inside my head repeated over and over as I ran ever faster on the treadmill in the hotel gym yesterday morning.
I couldn’t believe it. Inadvertantly, somewhere in the recesses of my mind, thoughts of an old boss surfaced as I exercised on the treadmill. Every step I took on that machine became hard and more purposeful, as if I was punishing him by running faster.
I ran faster, feeling upset and plain old mad. The feeling was so intense. At some point, my legs couldn’t go much faster and along with the beads of sweat, I felt something fall from my eye and it wasn’t sweat.
It was probably the best workout of my life. But more importantly, I had this realization:
We carry around so much baggage without realizing it.
It affects us deeply. Intensely. Weighing us down from pursuing our goals in life. Leaving emotional scars that surface years later on a treadmill in some hotel gym.
And often, it holds us back from moving forward in life, in a career or a relationship. We can’t seem to let go of the past and move on.
We over think, over analyze and at times, find ourselves having a conversation out loud with someone who’s not even there.
I hadn’t realized how much this unwritten agreement I had with my old boss was still walking around with me in my head until it appeared seemingly out of no where. Maybe it’s my mind telling me something…(hint: Let it go).
After 30 intense minutes on the treadmill, I stepped off and realized that I was carrying around old baggage containing conversation that never took place. I felt as though I had so much left to say to him and now that he was living in retirement, I didn’t get a chance to say it. The essence was that I felt somehow he let me down unable to honor an unwritten commitment he made to me. To promote me, to help me move up the ladder…to help guide me into a stellar career. But he didn’t. He left.
We all have this mental map of the way things ought to be…and I realized that for me, this expectation that I had of my boss some years ago, was paralyzing me. It was holding me back in someway because I was stuck on an old idea that was completely irrelevant.
You can’t have two minds, one looking back, over thinking about the past. And the other trying to figure out which way to move forward in life. Two minds don’t move. They freeze in chaos. Two minds get paralyzed because they conflict. The way it was, could have been, should have been, supposed to be and how it will be tomorrow.
I believe that our narrative of expectations of the way things ought to be often adds weight to the suitcase that we carry with us, sometimes totally unaware. No amount of logic or reason can convince the mind to move on from the past…to move forward in life. You just have to move on. It’s not easy by any means. But you can’t talk yourself out of it…because its emotional, not logical.
Letting go of the past agreements, past experiences, past ways of doing things and the way it was like ‘back then’ is difficult to do but we must do it in order to live a life moving forward. Letting go of the way things ‘ought to be’ is one of the most powerful ways to adapt in an age of uncertainty, unpredictability, complexity and speed. Not having preconceived notions of someone’s personality or the way a job or a career is supposed to be, is one of the best ways to move forward in life because you’re not always disappointed.
Let It Go. Accept. Don’t Over Think. Move On. Take Action Now.
There is no easy, full proof way of way of letting go of the past except for one: to just move forward. Put purpose to work by developing your craft, looking at the task you need to do and just do it with full force, to pick a path and travel on it, to allow something so difficult in the present moment to consume your entire being, to lift your face to the sky and take a deep breath and believe that the future has more in store for you than the past and that it begins today by moving forward in life by embracing the chaos!
Embrace the Chaos! | Bob Miglani