We all have a past full of happy and good things, but also of bad things and difficulties that affect us more than they should in our immediate present. Not letting go of the past is something that is keeping you from moving ahead in life. It blocks you and in many occasions paralyzes you. Therefore, we must learn to look at our past as a learning opportunity. Sometimes we look at our past as something hateful, something we would want to change, or something we would give anything to go back and relive. Sometimes we experience low self-esteem and are so sad that we cannot change it. But the first step is to accept that it is what it is! There is no way to go back. Accept it! Changing the past is impossible.
In order to gain value and insight from the past, reflection is a necessary first step. When we are unwilling to, afraid to, or too "busy" to look back, none of the value available to us can be found. The past begins to open its insight to us when we actually stop and look back at what has already occurred. This could be how a meeting went earlier in the day, or how we reacted to an event that happened 20 years ago. Your future is like a blank sheet of paper; you do not know what will happen, but what is certain is that what you do today is what will mark it. Just as your past has marked your present, your future will be marked by the here and now. Take the opportunity to learn from your past, be a better person now and redirect your future. Do not allow yourself to continue carrying your frustrations and the things you should have left behind in the past, you don’t deserve it!
Consider this: Who will you be? What are you going to do? Deciding how you want to be in your future is in your hands, however you want it to be.The future is yours and no one else’s. So start today by walking the path that will lead you to that future you so desire. It is very important for you to visualize that, despite the difficulties and negative things that can happen, to keep going further without deviating off your path. All of the reflection, study, replay, generalization and more is of only intellectual (or perhaps emotional) value until you do something with the lessons. In the end, the way to "productively learn" from the past is to put those lessons into practice now and in the future. In the words of Peter Drucker "The best way to predict the future is to create it."