Your Past Will Shape Your Future. But YOU Decide How.
If you are among the millions of people who consider Kevin Hart one of the funniest men alive today, you probably know his life has hardly been struggle-free.
A drug-addicted father. Devastating relationship challenges. He was even the last to know of his mother's terminal illness because she concealed it from him, fearing he’d give up opportunities to focus on her.
Why am I talking about Kevin Hart's painful past on the Get Out of the Truck blog?
Because Hart is a perfect example of how tightly our past and future are intertwined.
His is the kind of life story we imagine playing out over a dramatic, Oscar-worthy score. Or maybe it’s the devastating backstory of that friend who just can’t get ahead—the person we discuss in sympathetic tones, shaking our heads over his hard luck.
And yet, this guy has a net worth of $220 million. He’s doing what he loves without compromise every. single. day.
We might be inclined to say he “overcame” his past. But if you’ve seen his work, you know he didn’t exactly shove his personal history into a closet as if it never happened. He used his life story…
...without allowing his past to define him.
Now, Kevin Hart is an easy example to give because almost everyone knows who he is, and if you know who he is, you probably know where he comes from. But I guarantee you, every successful person you admire does exactly what he has done, whether they make their story public or not.
More to the point, every single one of us allows our past to influence our future in one way or another.
And if you don’t think you’re doing this, it means you haven't really looked behind the curtain in your mind. As with all things Mindset, what you don't observe and control... controls you.
Let's take a closer look.
Your Life Story is Undeniably Part of You
How do you know what your shortcomings are?
How do you know which business strategies will succeed and which will fail?
What do others think of your dreams? How do you know?
What do you think of millionaires? Billionaires? Minimum wage workers?
Are you a strong negotiator? Are you good at sales? Do people like you? Are you the type of person who has it easy or someone who has to struggle relentlessly just to take a small step forward?
If you breezed past those questions, go back and really think about each one. Notice where your answers come from.
They come from memories, right? I know this because that’s where all our beliefs come from. Maybe your beliefs about money come from the values your parents taught you. Maybe your beliefs about your skill set come from past successes, failures, and feedback.
Almost certainly your belief about what’s possible stems from your own experiences of trying to overcome something. How far did you get? How did that change the way you saw your own potential?
Or did you not even try because you inherited the belief that it wasn't worth trying?
We define ourselves according to our past. That’s the default reaction. We let old memories set limits on future possibilities.
And it’s such a waste! As I have mentioned many times before, our identities and capabilities are not carved in stone. Human beings were designed to grow, learn, and create.
Your next business idea won’t fail just because your last one did. Having been born into a struggling family does not mean you were born into an entire life of struggle. Growing up with a stutter does not mean you are doomed to live your life holding your ideas inside. I would know! That was me.
You control the role your history plays in your life. And the first step in claiming control is to release the limitations you have put on yourself because of where you’ve been.
The second step is to find the power hidden within your history.
The Power of Your Past
I grew up working my father’s farm in Israel. My family struggled with money throughout my entire childhood. As I mentioned, I had a stutter—an impediment that made it feel nearly impossible to be my true self anywhere, from school to social situations.
For a long time, I allowed these experiences to define me, the world, and even money.
I was supposed to spend my life struggling to get ahead. That's what you did if you were a hard worker and an honest man.
I could only be a leader from behind my office door, where I would strategize and leave it up to someone else to express my vision verbally. I had no business speaking in staff meetings, let alone addressing a convention full of franchisees.
I finally came to challenge these beliefs, and I’ve grown my business (and myself) because of it. And in the process of making this transformation, I had an incredible realization.
My past had given me priceless tools to create a business that is truly unique from the inside out.
A childhood on the farm taught me to think in the long term. What I plant today increases in strength and value over time as long as I nurture it.
My stutter taught me the importance of being able to express oneself, and as a result, I instinctively work extra hard to make sure my clients and employees feel heard. And overcoming my impediment showed me that our limitations come from the inside, an understanding that has informed the way I coach our franchise owners.
My once-complicated relationship with money has given me the understanding I needed to create Get Out of the Truck... to help you work through your own hang-ups and limiting beliefs.
I could go on all day about the lessons I learned from my less-than-ideal background, as well as the lessons I learned from my professional obstacles. The big picture here is that every single element of my past—both professional and personal—is usable as a stepping stone to greater success.
Our struggles make us stronger and wiser. Our experiences give us the perspective we need to create and problem solve in ways no one else can.
It’s true for me, it’s true for Kevin Hart, and it’s true for you.
Take some time for yourself this week. Choose one experience from your past that acts like quicksand, swallowing your hopes and expectations, dragging you down further the more you fight against it.
Ask yourself how you can transform this quicksand into solid stone—something that allows you to rise higher and feel solid ground beneath your feet. How are you better, stronger, wiser, or more equipped for success in your field because of where you have been?
Keep this perspective with you as you go through the next week. Look for opportunities to put those unique strengths and perspectives to work as you build your business. Then, once you’ve successfully built a positive relationship with that part of your history, repeat the process with another aspect of your past.
Little by little, you’ll see the truth:
Your life story is not a story of hardship, failure, and limitations. It is a launching pad for all you are about to become.