One of the most crippling conditions in life, which we all suffer from, is RVMS—Rear View Mirror Syndrome. We go through our lives, our subconscious minds equipped with a rear view mirror, through which we continuously relive and recreate our past. We mistakenly believe that who we were is who we are, thus limiting our true potential in the present, based on the limitations of our past.
Statistics show that on any given day, the average person thinks somewhere between 50,000 and 60,000 thoughts. The problem is that ninety-five percent of our thoughts are the same as the ones we thought the day before, and the day before that, and the day before that, and so on. It’s no wonder most people go through life, day after day, month after month, and year after year, and the quality of their lives pretty much stays the same.
Like baggage that is old, worn out, useless and more trouble than it’s worth, we carry stress, fear, and worry from yesterday with us into today. When presented with opportunity, we quickly check our rear view mirror to assess our past capabilities. “No, I’ve never done anything like that before. I’ve never achieved at that level. In fact, I’ve failed, time and time again.”
When presented with adversity, we go back to our trusty rear view mirror for guidance on how to respond. “Yep, just my luck. This crap always happens to me. I’m just going to give up; that’s what I’ve always done when things get too difficult.”
If you are to move beyond your past and transcend your limitations, you must stop living out of your rear view mirror and start imagining a life of limitless possibilities. Accept the paradigm: my past does not equal my future. Talk to yourself in a way that inspires confidence that not only is anything possible, but that you are capable and committed to making it so.
Don’t place unnecessary limitations on what you want for your life. Think bigger than you’ve allowed yourself to think up until this point. Get clear on what you truly want, condition the belief that it’s possible by focusing on and affirming it everyday, and then consistently move in the direction of your vision until it becomes your reality. There is nothing to fear, because you cannot fail—only learn and grow.
Remember this truth: Where you are is a result of who you were, but where you go depends entirely on who you choose to be.
BONUS: Q&A From the Comments…
Joel Canfield Asked:
Hal, what’s one thing a person can do to break the cycle? How does a person dream up a new future that’s not some kind of reflection of the past?
Joel, I think the straight forward answer is that we have to condition our mind, through daily repetition, to think about and focus on what’s possible instead of what’s happened or who we’ve been, in the past.
How do you do that?
- Read self-help books daily
- Listen to positive, self-improvement audios every time you’re in the car
- Create a vision, in writing (an “affirmation), of what you want your life to be like and who you need to be to make it happen. Then read it everyday to program your subconscious mind.
- Take massive action in the direct of your vision. Falter and fail along the way, learn lessons, pick yourself up and keep going. Success is inevitable for those who keep moving in a particular direction UNTIL it’s reached.
I have done all 4 of these for the past few years and found that success rarely comes quickly, but it does come eventually. I think most people just aren’t willing to maintain the focus or discipline for long enough to finally realize it.
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