How Your Focus is Screwing Up Your Future

The following is a guest post from Lea Bullen.


My aunt doesn’t drive. She never learned. Well, actually kind of she did.

After buying a new car and having a couple of children, my uncle thought it would be a good idea for his wife to learn to drive. She had never gotten behind the wheel before but things were changing and it’s a useful skill.

Her being able to drive would be great. She and the kids wouldn’t have to wait for him or be limited to the schedule of public transportation. They could just hop in the car sitting right outside and be on their merry way.

One evening after work he decided he would begin giving her lessons. He got into the passenger seat, she was behind the wheel and their oldest child tagged along in the back.

Everything seemed to be going fine. She did a couple laps around the block when they decided to call it quits for the night before it became too dark.

As she attempted to parallel park on the street for the first time she made a simple mistake. My aunt had been fine with the pedals all evening, but at that moment she gave the car too much gas ended up driving on to the sidewalk.

She didn’t park the car there. She didn’t drive into anyone’s living room. No one was even in the vicinity, let alone on that part of the sidewalk. Regardless, it had lasting effects.

She never drove again.

When Giving Up Is The Easy Option

She completely gave up. My aunt never expressed any type of interest in driving. And if my uncle ever brought it up again, oh boy!

Initially I didn’t get it. I mean I backed into our garage door trying to park when I was sixteen. Even though our situations were similar, she had an entirely different perspective.

I looked at it as going too far or not using my mirrors properly. She viewed it as the end.

She thought that if she attempted to drive again it would keep happening, but worse. Maybe next time she would end up hitting someone or causing some other accident.

Because she couldn’t let go of the negative possibilities she didn’t allow anyone to teach her how to park on the street correctly. She sabotaged herself. She’s been literally stuck in that same place for decades.

Today, she’s a widowed senior citizen that depends on family and cabs to run errands, and she’s not too thrilled about it. If she hadn’t focused so much on the one thing she messed up on in the past, she’d be more independent now.

In order to effective move forward you have to let go of some things and get positive. It’s important for your success and growth.

Just use my aunt as an example, one negative event shaped what turned out to be her entire future.

Driving didn’t seem that important to her at the time, she lived in the city and her husband drove her around. But over the years they moved to the ‘burbs, where public transportation isn’t as plentiful.

When you’re a kid driving may not seem like it will play a big part in your life but as it progresses it probably will.

You can downplay it now, but the time will soon come when you really need it and these irrational fears can spill into other areas of your life.

You Become a Scaredy Cat

Fears are typically developed from previous experiences. As you read, my aunt developed a fear of driving.

Tim’s Note: We are only born with two hard-wired fears, those of falling and loud noises, the rest we acquire through life experiences.

When I was a child I used to be afraid of dogs. My first encounter with one I was eye-to-eye with a Rottweiler. Okay, I probably wasn’t really eye-to-eye but it seemed like it, especially when he started to chase me.

At the time, I didn’t know he was running after me because he wanted to play. All I knew was he was as tall as I was and had thoughts of him overpowering me. But when I stopped running so did he.

There I was standing looking at him. He had the opportunity to bite me, but he didn’t. I was confused.

I kind of liked dogs but my fear wouldn’t allow me near them. Now, I’m no longer afraid and even own two large dogs.

If I hadn’t have reflected on my experience and gained a better understanding of the animal, today I’d be a grown woman still afraid of dogs, all dogs.

You’re Resentful

When someone has wronged you it can be very painful and seem impossible to get over. Some people even make the extra effort not to let it go.

Bearing grudges takes you out of the present and never lets you enter the future. You spend so much time reliving your past feelings and experiences that you can’t appreciate the moment.

You can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel because you’d rather stay in the dark.

Negative feelings are normal reactions to certain situations. Although, forgiveness doesn’t just benefit the party that hurt you, it helps you as well. It’s a win-win!

You don’t have to completely forget what happened, just allow yourself to move on. It’s part of the healing process and helps you move forward while being aware but not bias.

You’re Filled with Regret

If all you can do is look to your past you leave little time to work on your future.

Time will continue to tick on and then boom, one day it will hit you.

Instead of focusing on what you didn’t want, you should have done something else. In lieu of memories of happy times you could’ve had, all you’ll have to recall is the time you wasted. The time you could’ve used to live your life.

As this emotion takes over you’ll just be repeating the same history you’re regretting, focusing on the past and screwing up your future.

Unbeknownst to you, the cycle just continues on.

You’re Love Life is Loveless

Most of us have been there at some point in our lives. Been in love, or what you thought was love, and got your heart broken.

Just because you gave you’re all in this relationship and it didn’t pan out doesn’t mean you can’t ever have a successful one. And that doesn’t mean you should be less involved in the next.

Relationships with different people are not alike and shouldn’t be handled as such.

When you enter another relationship you shouldn’t be accusing your new mate of the same things your ex did. You shouldn’t go in with the mindset that they’re all the same and it will end similarly.

You shouldn’t even be comparing the two. If you do you’ll exactly what you’re focusing on, the straw that broke the camel’s back. Your relationship will be over soon.

Being protective and trying to prevent history from repeating itself are normal reactions to dealing with pain, but you cannot continue to hold someone accountable for someone else’s actions.

They don’t know and didn’t cause what happened to you in the past, so what would make you think they would want to relive the worst of it with you.

You’ll be sabotaging every potential relationship. You could scare off the one. Yes, you can. The one isn’t going to sit around and put up with that crap. At that point they don’t even know you so why would they bother.

Do You Want a Feline Future?

Essentially, your fate is rewritten and now 10 cats will become your soul mates.

Take the opportunity to learn from your past relationship without letting the experience hamper your beliefs on love.

You see the common thread, you have to move on in order to have better experiences, or any at all.

Even though you may have a seemly legitimate reason to throw your hands in the air and walk away for good, don’t. It may seem like an isolated event that you don’t have to worry about again but what about your pattern of behavior.

You can’t treat everything like this and expect to get somewhere. Imagine never learning to ride a bike, drive a car, algebra or writing.

When you burn your hand on the stove, you don’t vow to never cook again. No, next time you remember to make sure the burner is off.

A Gatekeeper Skill

Sometimes it’s not about the specific thing but what you stand to gain from it. It’s a gatekeeper skill.

You don’t learn to read and write because you want to an author. You’re taught it because it impacts many different parts of your life.

I guess you can consider this to be a gatekeeper behavior. How you handle negative experiences shapes your future.

You can either let them take over or you can learn a lesson to be better the next time around.

Choose to focus on something useful in a bad situation and you can make sure it never happens again. You can get on with your life and do something great with it.

What have you focused on from you past has affected your future? Are you like my aunt? Did something happen to you in the past that has prevented you from moving forward with it? How do you sum up the courage to trek on?


Lea is a certified life coach, foodie and lifehack obsessed. Focus on how great your future can be when you’re living it the way you want to. Head over to her personal development site now to take the eye-opening Redesign Your Life course to do just that! Connect with Lea on Google+.