Two words of power, two words that trap.
A young man sought out an aged mentor after a series of disastrous setbacks. After he, with great discouragement and at great length, related his tales of woe with all the ins and outs and what fors and what ifs, his mentor leaned back and eyed him contemplatively. Finally, the old man spoke.
“The root of your problem, my son, lies in just two words.”
The younger man believed his problems were complex and had sought an audience with this man because of his well-earned reputation for excellence in the young man’s field of endeavor. The youth was not sure what he was expecting, but he was hoping for some technological insight, some referral to a key industrial expert, something concrete. But two words? What could two words do?
“Two words, sir? How can two words help? What two words?”
“Over and over you have said, ‘If only.’ ‘If only I’d done that, if only I’d done this.’ Change those two words to ‘next time’ and eventually you will succeed. Your mistakes will have served you well if you have learned from them. Continue. Persevere. Keep your head high and your spirits higher, and you will prevail.”
Learn from the past, focus on the future. Failure is never final, experience is valuable. Mistakes can be incredibly powerful motivators and great teachers if used properly. Refuse to be a prisoner of your past. Be careful to learn only the right lessons, the lessons that empower you and sweep you forward.
Less past, more future: If ever beset by setbacks and seemingly excessive “learning opportunities,” always let your rallying cry be “next time”!