Never be a prisoner of your past. It was just a lesson, not a life sentence.

Never be a prisoner of your past. It was just a lesson, not a life sentence.

Have you made mistakes in your past? We all have. Have you made some really big ones? I certainly have!

Did you punish yourself continuously for having done so? I most certainly did. Until perhaps I made the next giant mistake and then I started punishing myself for that one too.

So when is it OK to accept the mistake as having been made and learn from it and move on? 

The determination as to when it is appropriate to put it behind you, strikes me as more of a personal choice than one that is predetermined. That said, the things that seem to be catalytic in regards to one’s ability to put something of this magnitude behind oneself stems from first recognizing that the mistake was made, second, owning the mistake as yours and third, recognizing the lesson that was waiting for you in having made that mistake and genuinely learning the lesson. These combination of variables are the catalytic elements that drive us from feelings of penance to feelings of deeper understanding and resolution.

When we are truly able to accept complete responsibility for the choices that we have made and we are steadfast and determined in our resolution to learn from them and not make the mistake again, only then are we able to level up and head into new, uncharted waters.

Venturing into new territory, we are quick to recognize that with new territory comes new opportunity to make equally large, if not larger, mistakes. Hopefully, our instincts are sharper and our ability to spot such a mistake in advance is more likely.

My mistakes are most likely to happen in moments in which I feel aggrieved (which makes me angry). At that moment, I am much more likely to say what is honestly on my mind and that is not usually the tactful way to achieve what I am setting out to achieve.

The reality for me was a recognition that in moments like that, I had to learn to shut my big mouth. I had to learn that just because I want to say something, no matter how correct whatever it is I am about to say is, it is not the fastest method of achieving what I wish to achieve. Over my lifetime, it has become very clear to me that being candid and completely honest is not always the winning combination. In fact, sometimes honesty is the surefire way to make sure you do not get what you really want. You get a brief moment of being honest with someone and then, if you have muddied the waters, achieving what you set out to achieve is infinitely more difficult and considerably less likely to occur.

Tact and diplomacy reign supreme. There is no substitute. Learning that keeping your mouth closed when every ounce of your being is screaming in opposition, is a delicate art that is a learned by some of us over the course of having made improper statements to the contrary.

If you are feeling imprisoned by your past, I invite you here and now to forgive yourself for whatever mistake you have made, large or small. Do everything you can to make up for that mistake and then move forward with your life. Learn the lesson, accept that you are human and allow yourself the room to properly mature from the experience. Spending the rest of your life in a state of regret and disappointment gets you nowhere and life is such a precious and incredibly interesting experience, why would you ever waste yours living in the past? 

Happy Monday!

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Written by Brian Weiner
When I was 5 years old, I discovered that the lemon tree in the backyard + dixie cups + water and sugar and I was in business. I have been hooked on that ever since. In 1979, I borrowed $14,000 to create a brand new product... photographic greeting cards with no text on the inside, called Paradise Photography. That was the start of The Illusion Factory. Since then, The Illusion Factory has been entrusted by all of the major studios and broadcasters with the advertising and marketing of over $7 billion in filmed, live, broadcast, gaming, AR, VR and regulated gaming forms of entertainment, generating more than $100 Billion in revenue and 265 awards for creativity and technology for our clients. When I took a break from film school at UCLA to move to Hawaii, my mother did not lecture me. Instead, she took 150 of her favorite aphorisms and in her beautiful calligraphy, wrote them artistically throughout a blank journal. That is the origin of the Lessons from the Mountain series. Since then, on my journeys to the top of a mountain to watch the sunrise, I have spent countless hours contemplating words of wisdom from the sages of all races, genders and political persuasions, constantly accumulating the thoughts to guide me on my life path. I hope you enjoy my books. Please let me know your thoughts, as I highly value your feedback!