Want A Bright Future? Forget The Past…Selectively

Facing Setbacks

Let’s face it, we’ve all experienced various setbacks in our lives. Sometimes setbacks are a direct result of our own actions and choices. Other times we simply face circumstances outside of our own control. But remember, our futures are more dependent on how we handle and process these situations than the situations themselves. 

One Thing

Now whether or not you and I hold the same biblical beliefs, I trust you’ll see the truth and value in the words below from the Apostle Paul.

I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize… (Excerpt from Philippians 3:13-14 NIV)

Paul had a crystal clear goal… along with a regretful past. Yet to reach his goal, he knew this ‘one thing’. That to achieve this goal he must forget the past, and strain towards the future. 

You can’t worry about the past and move forward in the same moment. It’s just not possible. We are simply unidirectional as it relates to our thoughts. We are either moving forward or we are effectively shrinking back. 

The Principle of Moments

Consider moments… Any given moment is all we’ll ever have. We cannot take hold of 5 minutes ago, nor 2 minutes from now. We may only seek to make the most of each as it occurs. Each moment as it perishes simply sets the stage for the moment ahead.

As we focus on our goals and selectively embrace our strengths and victories we choose to build on a solid foundation. And when we fail, we must learn from those failures, throw them off, and continue to move forward.

Clarity and Confidence

Considering the fleeting nature of moments and our unidirectional capacity for thought, let’s discuss the key benefits of exercising a selective memory.


Let me ask this… Why wouldn’t you believe in yourself? Because of your past failures and regrets? I can assure you, your past performance and circumstances have far less to do with your future than the work you are prepared to put in today towards a set of clearly defined goals.

Belief in yourself is an essential ingredient for success… but how do you build self-belief? Setting short term incremental goals is a proven method for building confidence. As you achieve these smaller incremental goals, celebrate them, hold them in your memory, and allow them to act as catalyst propelling you forward towards your larger goals.


As referenced previously, you cannot view both your past and future simultaneously. To achieve your goals, you must choose to look forward and process each moment through the lens of your future hopes and dreams. To experience clarity in this area, we must clear the smudges of the past and continue moving forward.


Understanding your future is more important than understanding your past. Forget what’s behind and strain toward what’s ahead.

The author provides the following image credit: ‘fake is the new real’/Flickr.
Greg Palmer
About the author: 

Based in Orlando, Florida, Greg Palmer is Vice President – Client Services, Sales and Support at GolfNow.  Previously, Mr. Palmer held executive assignments in New Media Ventures, Integrated Product Sales, Regional Management and Travel/Tourism with GolfNow and Golf Channel (NBC).  Follow Greg on Twitter.