“Looking back isn’t necessarily a bad thing as long as you know how to swim over it” – just me.
I am not a very religious person but I always believe there is a bigger power outside ourselves. You can call it The Universe, God, or Karma – whatever you want, really. It usually has a name based on what you believe in.
This bigger power is the one that can see the bigger picture. Imagine you just learn how to drive in a long, nice road. Road seems clear and you are driving within the speed limit. Out of sudden, your teacher breaks the car. Why? More likely because he/she sees what you don’t see. Say it can be someone about to cross the street and you don’t see it or a parked car wants to join the crowd and you don’t notice it. This power has similar eyes the way your driving teacher does
I also believe this power helps us to make a decision that is the best for us. We might not be able to see it at that very moment but if we take our time to look back, we may be able to understand things better. I’ve contemplated things that happened to me and I can see how everything that happened to me brings me to where I am now.
Obviously, this is a retrospective activity and we can’t change the. However, looking back helps me understand myself. What I did good, what I can improve, and how far I am for where I want to be. This gives me an understanding of my strengths and weaknesses in general and in professional life. I learnt what my triggers or what stuffs caused me sorrow.
As an example, after years of denial, I finally admit financial incentive was my main trigger in doing things when I was younger. I chose what I did based on how much money I could get. This trigger has shifted a little bit in the last few years as I started to understand which industry I like and dislike or which type of works gives me more joy. However, I know that financial incentive is a big driver in my professional life. This realisation is very useful when I need to decide what my next role will be.
Looking back also helped me to accept things I did not want to accept when that happened in the first place. Why? Because only by looking back, I see that one thing happened after another and it’s all an action-reaction chain. It may look like an independent thing in your life but if you look closer, you will see how every single thing is actually connected to each other.
I really wanted to be a doctor when I grew up but ended up being an electrical engineer. Quite a different field, eh? Yep! And that was because I wasn’t accepted in the state medical school and the private one was really expensive. Then because of this, I could choose the university closer to my house. Somehow, I got a job close to the university and because of this job, I could skip all the unnecessary tortured from my seniors – focus only on 2 things: my job and my study. This led me to be the best graduates in my year. Then, this led me to get an academic excellence scholarship and it brought me to The Netherlands. If only I went to medical school, I may not get the scholarship and have a different life now. Who knows? If only I could A/B test my life then I’d know what would happen in the parallel universe. However, I know that somehow that small thing led to another thing that allowed me to get what I wanted: move overseas.
Last but not least, looking back helped me to believe that everything happened for a good reason. When you can connect things in your life, and you realise that you are still alive at the moment, you will understand that things happened for a reason. Most of the time, it happens for a good reason. It’s as if when we choose something, we are guided to choose the things that are best for us as an overall.
Does this mean choice is only an illusion and we are actually presented with a fixed choice after all? Or maybe, as a human we always learn how to make it the best out of things? Maybe. After all, it’s either we survive or we die, isn’t it?