The Problem with Rearview Mirrors

I heard a speaker* say 2 different things tonight that I cannot shake.

  1. You can only get so far looking at the problem.

    There is so much truth in this statement. Years ago I was playing Donkey Kong Country on Nintendo, and occasionally I would hit a snag that I simply could not figure out. I really wanted to complete the game, but I really wanted to throw it out the window. I got mad and just went to sleep. There in my dreams, the answer would appear to work itself out, a place where I wasn’t stressing out while consciously looking at the problem. My mind looked past the hang up and toward the solution. I know this is a weird example, but seriously, how often do we finally, in frustration, just move onto something else only to have the solution “magically” appear before us? No matter how big or small the problem, staring at/focusing on it is doubtfully going to solve it.

  2. There is only so much information in the rearview mirror.

    This statement really got me because I am a visual thinker. I suddenly imagined driving a car while staring into the rearview mirror. It was terrifying. I saw myself ending up in all kinds of messes, the least of which involved smashing into the cars in front of me. We spend far too much time looking behind us, staring longingly or regrettably into the past. There is not enough information there to successfully drive us into the future. Yes there is some helpful information, when used as a tool to glance into while making the journey, but it is impossible to complete that journey if it is the only tool we use or even the one we use most. We must learn how to revere the past but move on from it, no matter how good or bad it was. The fact is “it was”, and it is not anymore. Look forward to the direction in which you hope to go, and that is where you will end up.

If you did not read the paragraphs, at least read the statements, and let them sink deep into you. Let them apply where they will. I guarantee they will speak deeply to you if you let them. If you did read my commentary, I thank you for spending your time with me. Either way, you are amazing just because you are you, and if everyone else forgets to remind you of that fact, I am here reminding you!

*The speaker is Rod Williams. I do not know if these are his original quotes, but he is the one I heard say them and deserves the credit as such.

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