Getting Prolific, Day 4: Using The Past To Change The Future

How do you translate great ideas into decisive action?

Experience builds confidence, confidence enables action, and action increases momentum.

If you want to continue pushing the edges of your work even further, take a moment to reflect on your past experiences. Consider the small conquests you’ve recently made.

After all, life is nothing but an endless series of choices, so why not celebrate the good ones already under your belt? Why not remind yourself of your own relatively good fortune?

Sometimes when I’m struggling to write a new song, my musical confidence will suddenly plummet. Creative momentum will simply wane for no apparent reason.

But instead of moaning about how I’ll never write another song again, I go for a short walk around the neighborhood, and listen to the last five songs I just wrote.

Because each completed project is another artifact of my past good decisions. It might not be the next number one chart topping hit single, but nobody can take away the fact that it’s done, it’s mine, and it’s real.

This quickly proves my own efficacy to myself, generating the spark of vigor to get back to work.

What if you reminded yourself of your good decisions more frequently? Might that give you the confidence to take action and build momentum?

Think of it as hooking and reeling your heart by a line cast from the shores of memory.

You know, it’s interesting how everyone seems to complain about how you can’t change the past. Because that doesn’t mean you can’t use the past to change your future.

Our history doesn’t have to drag behind us like an anchor, we can raid our past for raw material, keep the pieces that serve us well, and disregard of the rest.

Hyde wrote a playful and inspiring book on forgetfulness, exploring the healing effect it can have on the human psyche. My favorite passage goes like this:

Every night we travel through the underworld, and in the morning we will have to see what has been discarded and what preserved from the day just passed, which dreams are remembered and which forgotten, and what training there is for those who wish to take the path of artful sorting, forgetting, and remembering in a useful way.

Ultimately, each human mind is a museum of artifacts of past decisions. Not all of them are good decisions, necessarily, but the ones that stand out as intelligent, honest and useful are worth a second, third and fourth listen.

Play those albums on repeat. Remind yourself that you’re the kind of person whose past efforts and intentions have translated into great ideas and decisive action.

And watch your confidence and momentum grow.

How might you gain greater leverage from your conscious decisions?

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Author. Speaker. Songwriter. Filmmaker. Inventor. CEO/Founder of getprolific.io. Pioneer of Personal Creativity Management (PCM). I also wear a nametag 24/7.