History used to be my favorite subject at school. However, I never really understood the relevance of it. One fine day, I finally mustered enough courage to ask my teacher, “Ma’am, why do we study history?” She stopped and stared at me for a minute in disbelief. She said, “Well, because it is the past that defines the future.” Presuming, that she had answered my juvenile question, she resumed her lecture.
However, that is still a question I have been constantly seeking an answer to.
Is past really all that important?
If you have been reading my articles, you probably know of me as a content writer. Do you know, or would you care to know what I used to do prior to this? Of course, the articles may be of more use to you than knowing who has written them. Let me ask you something that may be of some interest to you.
Do you happen to know of Steve Jobs, Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Robert De Niro or any other such person? Can you answer this question without fumbling at once? Do we know them because of who they were, or do we know them because of what they did? Does an exemplary present make an amazing future? And the past remains in the past?
There are hundreds of past records broken everyday. No one remembers the telephones created by Graham Bell, people now use the smartphones – they are the creation of the present. They know they will be of better use in the future.
Look around – from computers to laptops, from a flat screen TV to an LED – this goes with almost everything that is around us. I am not saying that we should forget the past, or consistently harp on it. However, we should credit the past for being a part of our stories and let our stories evolve. Beautifully, exceptionally, magically.
Why am I writing this post?
You know how writers are. We have this inherent habit of expressing ourselves in different, evolved ways. Some people also say that writers tend to think ahead of people their age.
Friedrich Nietzsche said, “A good writer possesses not only his own spirit but also the spirit of his friends.” This makes us a natural choice for people to consult us on personal or professional issues in their life. Along with my natural instincts, I also try to put my little legal knowledge to use, which might prove to be beneficial to them.
I come across at least one or two readers who are going through depression. Some of it stems from frustration about a failed relationship, some stem from lack of progress in their career. Performance issues at work is another major trigger.
I decided to write for all of them, today. This article is for everyone who has ever faced or maybe is still facing an issue because of a haunting past. Even if you are not from legal field, I think this article will help you a little. Or at least, I will try my best to do that.
Why are we so hung up with the past?
I have heard so many people say, “I have had a beautiful past”. Or, “My past has scarred me for life.” I am never able to understand how? Why do we have to compare our present with our past? Is it because, our past is a metric to compare our present with, or is it because we are deliberately opting to feel miserable about ourselves in the first place? Is it going to benefit us in any way, or will it add on to the suffering that we presumably have right now?
Have you had instances in life which are unprecedented? Which have never happened before? It can be anything. A first win, first time you were appreciated. Maybe your first kiss or the very first heartbreak? Have you ever thought why they left an impact? It is because you have never experienced those feelings before.
If you are served with an exquisite dish for the first time, won’t you be excited to have it? You will savour it (as long as it tastes delicious). However, if this very dish becomes a part of your daily lunch routine, you will soon get bored of it.
Why can’t every special or not so special moment be a first, every time it happens?
We are sometimes so hung up in the past. I am not doubting for a second that it is the past and the experiences we have had that shape us. But, what are these experiences for? It is for the present. It is for today. It is for right now!
Due to my job, I meet a lot of people. I am located in Goa. Travellers from all over the world come here. During my time here, I’ve met some interesting individuals. I’ve come to realise that the most evolved of these people are those who live in the present – who have let go of their pasts, and are happy today.
There are innumerable centres in Goa for the various schools of yoga. I didn’t know yoga could be so diverse. These yoga, meditation and concentration centres are based on the idea of peace in the form of stress release, letting go by relaxing the body and the mind.
Don’t you think all of us have dwelled too much on our history, our regrets, our mistakes, our failures, our achievements, our heartbreaks? What are we becoming in the process? What if we let go of our history, and think about living peacefully today – don’t you think we will be better off?
Who cares if Padmavati existed or not? Can we not enjoy a movie without dwelling into where it might have come from? Why does it matter if your ex left you and moved on? Often, such experiences happen. The best you can do is learn from it, take the positives and live in today and make it better.
All of us have a habit of playing our bygones over and over again in our heads, like an annoying song on a loop. This is exactly where we are missing out on an enchanting melody our life’s playlist has next.
It doesn’t matter if your boss shouted at you yesterday. Or the judge did not listen to the argument that you have been preparing for days. Or your research paper on a certain issue was thrown in the dustbin. It happens. It doesn’t matter if you did not secure good grades in the past. Try and work on it and get better grades today.
I will try to break this down further for you. Deal with me, if you think I am getting a bit offensive, unreasonable, eutopic or insensitive.
If you are facing a heartbreak
This is one of the most common issues that most of the people come up with, irrespective of age. This might not even be the correct platform to discuss this. However, come to think of it: Why not? Lawyers are human too.
It is great that you met a person who you fell for. It is absolutely fantastic that you have spent some quality time with them. It is marvellous that the person made you feel the way they did. But it is equally okay if it did not work out.
Does this make you any lesser? Does this take away the fact that you had a good time while it lasted? Does this necessarily mean that nothing better is in store for you? Does one failed relationship decide your future?
Everything happens for a reason. There must be a certain reason that your love interest has moved on. This is probably life’s way of telling you how you need to work on yourself in that specific area which led to the breakup. It can be anything. If it is because you are not doing well professionally, you might want to start taking your career seriously.
There are people who do not care about academics in college and then their work and eventually suffer later in life. You might want to start working hard and get into a stable position. If you are still in college or struggling with your job, work out on your knowledge by taking up courses like these as per your area of interest.
There can be a bunch of other reasons, like your partner being attracted to someone else, or interpersonal reasons which can be possessiveness leading to suffocation. These are issues which only a person who was non-compatible with you from the beginning will have. It is better to let go.
However, trust me when I say this, someone who knows what to do with life, has already been through such experiences and learnt from it, is often very stable. If you reach that stage, heartbreaks for you should not be of any worry.
If you are facing professional/ academic stress
In my post “Walk that extra mile,” published here, I have mentioned about the kind of struggle a laid back person has to go through to make a place for himself in a company that primarily runs on only quality of work produced.
As per a report by Washington Post, three reports have revealed that the law firm associates who manage to hold on to their six figure paychecks are unhappy. The same article reveals that job satisfaction of the mid level attorneys have dipped at its lowest point in the last 6 years. It’s not just about the job alone.
If you have lived in a hostel while in law school, you would know how frustrated everyone is. You can hear incessant rants about never ending syllabus, verbose case laws, lengthy bare acts, issues with administration, moot court performance, not getting an internship, yada yada yada.
Let’s take a breather for a minute.
Let’s try to make it a thing of the past.
Frustration can be two-fold. One, where you are facing issues with your own performance. Two, when the atmosphere at work is hostile. In either cases, you will have to bring about a change in yourself. You cannot expect a company which has been running for years to change. The policies remain the same for all employees, the work culture is same for all. Thus, it is extremely important that you bring about a change in yourself.
None of it will frustrate you if you are good with what you do. If you are efficient and know your work. If the company is getting enough returns based on your performance, there is hardly a chance for hostility. In fact, it is very likely they would incentivise you or ensure everything possible to retain you in the organization. You need to be extremely honest with yourself. You need to analyze, how much do you know or how productive are you being.
If you don’t know much about your subject: Read. Learn. Explore. Take up courses like these which can give you enough insights to make your way to the top. Remember, rewards are likely to replace frustration. Try not to be a product of what you have already written for yourself. Decide who do you want to be, and keep moving.
You need to live every moment, believing that it’s the most beautiful moment ever. And if it is beautiful, how can you let go of it?
For once, believe, “My story just cannot be about my past, for I am in the process of becoming.” You will know, how powerful you can be.