The way you see

This 2007 addition to the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto gives us a stark reminder of the difference between past and future.  May 2009

This 2007 addition to the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto
gives us a stark reminder of how different past and future can be. May 2009

“Your past is important because it brought you to where you are, but as important as your past is, it is not nearly as important as the way you see your future.”
Tony Campolo

Some of us are fascinated with history, seeing many lessons in the past, and finding much to like there.  Others of us see history as irrelevant, and take no time or thought about what has gone before.  Campolo’s quote emphasizes that the past could never be irrelevant, since it made things what they are today.  At the same time, he wisely reminds us that our real business in the present will be determined to a greater extent by how we see the future.

Depending on how you grew up, you may want to get as far away as possible from your past, or you might want a very similar life to continue for you, albeit with a few modern updates.  How might either view affect your present life?  Can an overly close attachment to your past make you reluctant to embrace the changes that time inevitably brings?  Or can a strong desire to leave (maybe even flee or escape) the past lead to reckless decisions or foolish bridge-burning?

Campolo seems to suggest here that we should give the future, rather than the past, more influence on our daily lives.  We cannot undo or re-live the past, but we can substantially improve our own futures if we live in optimism that is unconstrained by baggage from earlier times.  Whether we are saddled with overly high expectations from having enjoyed more freedom or riches than we now have, or burdened with bad memories of unhappiness we endured long ago that makes us dread the coming years, we need the clarity that comes from seeing that the future can be as different from the past as we care to make it.

How do your ideas about the past and the future influence your behavior each day?  Do you look forward with more anticipation than dread?  Which attitude is most likely to make for a happy, productive day today?

One year ago today:

Don’t forget the present

This post was first published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.

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