“Every past experience is preparation for some future opportunity. God doesn’t just redeem our souls. He also redeems our experiences. And not just the good ones. He redeems the bad ones too—especially the bad ones. How? By cultivating character, developing gifts, and teaching lessons that cannot be learned any other way.”
It was ironic that I spent so much time as a kid at a 7-Eleven playing pinball with my friends. Careening though life, bouncing from one stimulus and response to another, like the metal ball in the games I stood in front of, couldn’t have been a better metaphor for my life during my first 18 years.
I made most of my own decisions and they were largely poor. But that all ended when I went to college. I went to the kind of environment that allowed me to rebel the opposite way than most. I walked into the light from the darkness, instead of the other way around.
College was all about the discovery and deep immersion into a faith system. Everything that was wrong suddenly became right. In one powerful decision, everyday I had lived from the first to the last, was whitewashed and made new. Almost as if all of that ping-ponging around had never really happened. Who I was and where I had come from no longer held any sway over the life I would live.
I couldn’t have been anymore wrong.
We are all a product of the story we have lived. We view everything we experience through the interpretive lens of the experiences we have had. When you meet a person, you meet the cumulative effect of every day they have lived prior. It all matters, all shapes, and all defines. Without understanding the past, you will never really understand the present.
One of the more decorated commercials from last year was from a small writing school in Chicago called Clark Street Bridge. In this powerfully evocative ad, they talk about how “home”, the place we came from, still defines us in many ways. Just like the NASA cameras did in this commercial, it is helpful to turn around and take an honest look at the past.
Interpreting the story you or your company emerged from, may be the most powerful, clarifying, and informative thing you will experience.
That is why it is part of every Lifeplan we do and every corporate team experience we conduct. Taking an honest look at where you came from tells us a lot about what the future could best look like. We mine if for key learnings that shape the way things are interpreted and help light a path to the best expression of your life or company in the years to come.
Turns out that where things come from are determinant but not definitional. They provide understanding, but with proper distance and applied perspective, they don’t have to define the life you live going forward. They can actually be used to inform, but not be allowed to inexplicably control our present or future.
One of the beautiful paradoxes of the gospel is the power of the redemptive process. The things that shouldn’t have done or had happen to us in our past are not to our disqualification, but as redeemed, to our qualification. Looking back can help us look forward better.
“Those who cannot remember the past are
condemned to repeat it.”
Turns out that all that careening around, as interpreted and understood, is powerfully informing and shaping my future. The stumbling block it once was, has largely been removed.
It can be the same for you or your company. All you need to do is look back.
- Do understand how determinant your past is?
- Do you know that understanding someone else’s story is the key to understanding, motivating, and inspiring the best in them as well?
- Do you know how powerfully your company’s story affects the way you operate and your prospects for the future?