We may think the past is past and so is gone and yet we are ultimately products of the past. Our habits are memories of past experiences, our schedules are past commitments over our time, our thought patterns are ways of thinking from the past.

The past is thus only truly past when we set it down. The question for you is what might you be carrying from the past that might be weighing you down?

In ways we may still be trying to satisfy dead parents, live once imagined futures that have lost their meaning or still be held by traumas. All these weigh us down, sap our energy and prevent us from building the lives and businesses that truly excite us and give us joy. That is why the final question in the image is so important:

Am I truly creating a new future or just replaying the past?

The invitation is to sit with this question. What does it bring up?

To explore this theme in more depth, listen to Episode 11 of my Time Academy Podcast.

Questions in the Image:

  • How is past experience affecting me?
  • What am I carrying from the past that might be weighing me down?
  • In fact, am I truly creating a new future or just replaying the past?

Want to Read More Around This Topic?

The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk (link to Amazon.co.uk). This book is an absolute classic and explores how past trauma affects both mind and body. It provides insights into how we can heal from traumatic experiences.

Nurturing Curiosity – Daily Practice: This is part of the Nurturing Curiosity series of tools, insights and questions designed to help nurture curiosity as part of our daily practice. In point of fact, every interaction we have is an opportunity to question what we are observing and how we and others are seeing the world. Also remember that questions come in many forms throughout our day – a photo of my dead parents brings up these questions: What would they think of me now? Would they be proud? These are natural questions to hold because we will always be their children so in ways still turn to them as parents, still look for acceptance and validation – even in death. And yet, that time has passed. Their job is done. More helpful questions might be: What do I think of me now? Am I proud of myself? What does that even mean?

About Tom O’Leary

My mission is to help others think differently – meaning more broadly and deeply – and thereby make better decisions. The key to thinking differently lies in our curiosity.

The more we question, the more possible answers we uncover, and the more we expand what we thought possible. Life has taught me that possibility lies not so much in seeking answers but in learning to ask better questions – the ones that help prioritise what is truly essential.

And yet, in a culture obsessed with efficiency and productivity, the paradox is that much energy and resources are wasted by a bias towards action over contemplation. If you are answering the wrong question, it doesn’t matter how ‘hard’ you work, you are still answering the wrong question.

That is why I am a big advocate of nurturing curiosity and innovative thinking at all ages, particularly amongst leaders because of the impact they have on us all. In my vision, leaders aren’t boxed in by traditional thinking or established playbooks. They are curious, open to fresh ideas and diverse perspectives, fostering a culture of exploration and learning.

How Might Tom Help?

  1. My first invitation is to take maximum advantage of the free content on this site.
  2. I also endeavour to answer every email so if you have any queries do reach out – you will find my address if you are curious. Your future self will thank you!
  3. If you would benefit from a face-to-face conversation, consider signing up for a Decision Coaching package (initial call plus follow up call).
  4. If you feel you would benefit from a chat without having to sign up for decision coaching, click on the button below to join the waiting list for the opportunity to speak face-to-face. No charge! You just need to make a case as to why we should speak.