“Less past, more future.” Great thought. Powerful phrase! To me it means focusing on creating a meaningful future, with less energy spent on regret or inventing excuses about why our pasts are holding us back.

I cannot change the past, it is a door that is irrevocably closed. What I CAN change is my interpretation of my past experiences, the story I tell myself about what they mean. I can “re-frame” my past in ways that will move me forward.

I like to think of myself as someone who is a forward-focused, success-oriented (however you choose to define success) man, with a strong bias toward seeing the best in every situation and everyone. But I still choose to carry some issues forward from my childhood into my present. Decades and decades have passed, and I’m still carrying them!

Maybe authority figures did not have it all together, maybe things happened that should not have happened, maybe not everything was fair or right. But that was then. Now is now. Those people and situations are in the past. I’m the one making the free choice to carry them forward into the present. I can and will choose differently.

Awareness of this tendency and acknowledgment that it is a choice are the first steps to freeing myself. I think of the memories and experiences (and the interpretations I’ve made of them) as little sub-programs that are running in my mental operating system. Like an unwanted computer virus, these sub-programs often operate below the surface of my awareness, holding me back and slowing me down in subtle but significant ways.

My task is to become aware of them one by one and then remove them, much like a gardener looks for weeds, pulling them firmly up by their roots. Got to do a through job, because leaving the roots intact insures a quick return.

Embedding powerful phrases such as “Less past, more future” in my mind is an excellent way to keep the awareness of my freedom of choice front and center, and helps insure that I consistently do as well as I know.