Personal Growth

5 Benefits of Looking Back and 5 Benefits of Looking Forward

October 11, 2012

When we look at our current situation, where we are and where we want to go, we must find a healthy balance between looking back for understanding and looking forward with vision and hope.

photo by Pete Prodoehl

There are times when we need to spend more time on one than the other. Both, however can help us create a better story for our lives.

About a year and a half ago I joined Free Agent Academy for knowledge and support. I wanted to start my own business and I knew they could guide me in a healthy direction.

My initial courses had me digging into my past and exploring my personality traits and strengths. At first, this was difficult for me as I like to think more about where I’m going. Plus, I wanted to get to the more exciting things like business ideas and marketing.

I now realize without that foundation, my chance of success would have been greatly reduced. Understanding my past and who I am as a person has given me great strength in the present. It has also given me the ability to look to the future with more clarity.

I now realize there are benefits to both looking to the past and looking to the future.

5 benefits of looking back with clarity

1. Looking back provides more clarity about the decisions we have made and whether they were wise decisions. Therefore, we can have more wisdom when making decisions in the future.

2. Looking back allows us to unearth hurts and baggage and find healing.

3. By looking back we gain insight into our personality and our strengths and weaknesses.

4. Looking back helps reveal what our true passions are and the areas where we really come alive.

5. Through looking back we are able to start linking all of our life’s experiences together and to begin seeing the story we have been creating with our lives.

5 benefits of looking forward with vision

1. Looking forward allows us to avoid complacency by having vision and working towards our dreams for the future.

2. Looking forward with vision creates hope because it gives us something tangible to work towards rather than just being blown about.

3. Looking forward allows you to begin with the end in mind.

4. Looking forward allows us to create goals and work towards achieving them.

5. Looking forward allows us to look outside ourselves. We are more prone to look for opportunities to help and serve people and make a difference in our world.

Question: What about you? Have there been times when you looked back in greater detail? What about looking forward?


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  • Reply Ann Musico October 11, 2012 at 5:29 am

    Great points, Michael, for both and as you said both are definitely necessary for balance.  If we don’t look back and understand, we are likely to continue making the same mistakes over and over.  I think as long as we are looking back for the right reasons and not just  wallowing in the past, it’s healthy and very necessary.  There have definitely been times when I’ve felt the need to do one more than the other.

    • Reply Michael Good October 11, 2012 at 10:50 am

      That’s a great way to put it, Ann. It’s about looking back with purpose.

  • Reply Kent Julian October 17, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    Look back to learn…look forward to live. That’s the message of “Live It Forward.” Great post!!!!

    • Reply Claudia Good October 20, 2012 at 12:31 pm

      Totally Kent! Thanks for your constant inspiration to do exactly that! 😉

  • Reply Michael Wright October 20, 2012 at 8:31 am

    Michael, I’ve spent the past year in FAA and in other things “looking back”.  After my weekend with some great Men at the Calling retreat, I got great confirmation that I need more of “move forward” in the areas of my specific calling.

    • Reply Michael Good October 23, 2012 at 3:08 pm

      Nice, Michael. I too have spent a good bit of time looking back with the folks at FAA. That’s not always something I have patience for, but it so good to do. Glad to hear you had a good time at the retreat!

  • Reply Things I Remembered: Looking Back with Some Creative Clarity | creativity in motion February 23, 2014 at 10:22 am

    […] You can learn more about the benefits of looking back (and going forward!) here. […]

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