Maybe it’s the change of seasons, or the rapidly approaching law school exam period, but I’ve found myself having some variant of this conversation over and over again in the last few weeks:
“Wow, I can’t believe how much time I’ve wasted so far in law school. I really wish I’d met you months ago, before I screwed all this stuff up.”
While this is flattering, and I totally get it, I’m not sure it’s all that helpful in the end.
Mistake, or Learning Opportunity?
While it’s normal to feel regret about things you did in the past that maybe didn’t work out so well, it’s not productive to spend lots of time dwelling on mistakes made! We all mess things up — that’s how we learn.
So, if you’re feeling bummed about steps not taken, or time that wasn’t used productively in the past, give yourself a break.
Sure, you want to evaluate what didn’t work so well and use that information to make changes going forward (hooray for learning!). But just sitting around being bummed out can be paralyzing…which definitely isn’t going to lead to the future improvements you’re looking for.
In the end, the past is the past. Like it or not, you can’t change it. But you can change things going forward, by learning from the past.
With that, I leave you with a quote I came across when trying to decide if I was going to spend time and money planting a sidewalk garden, back in the depths of the recession. It’s applicable to way more than trees!
When is the best time to plant a tree? Twenty years ago.
The second best time? Today.
After reflecting on this idea for a few days, I got to work (and my now five-year-old olive tree is starting to fill out nicely).
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