Balancing Positive Expectation with Past Experience

We all make decisions based on past experience. When faced with a choice, our mind examines the data from our past to determine the optimal path. Unfortunately, the mind’s opinion about the optimal path is not always the best choice from a personal development perspective.

Our mind – specifically the ego component – makes decisions based on what will keep us safe not what will allow us to grow.

Obviously it would be very difficult to erase our past, or all memories of the past. Nor would that be very helpful. The lessons we have learned from past experience do save us a lot of time and discomfort.

How then, do we find the balance between past experience and positive expectation?

I was given the opportunity to explore this balance when my Sister’s family flew out from the East Coast to spend a few days at Lake Tahoe with us.

Squaw Valley, Tahoe June 07

When Saturday came and we were discussing what time we would leave on Sunday, I found myself in the position of being the voice of past experience. The other adults, and, obviously, the kids, all wanted to hang out at the lake for most of the day before heading back to the Bay Area.

Staying at the lake sounded wonderful to me also. And, at the same time, I also felt myself being pulled into the memory of our trip, two-years earlier – our bear-track trip – when we left the lake late in the day on a Sunday and sat in traffic for hours.

On that trip, as we sat in traffic with an often crying daughter in the back-seat, I distinctly remember Melissa and I agreeing that we would never return from Tahoe late on a Summer Sunday. (So much for hot-in-the-moment declarations!)

So I became the “rain on everybody else’s parade” guy.

Now here’s where the balance point comes in. If I had been content to just speak my concern and let it go, that would have been fine.

But, because I felt their resistance to my input – they didn’t want their parade rained on, and who would? – I became a bit defensive and dug my heels into my position. The memory of our drive home two years earlier and the accompanying thought of being stuck in traffic with a 3-year old a 7-year old and a 10-year old was definitely not appealing to me.

Now obviously, from a Law of Attraction perspective, the more I dug my heels in, the more I activated the possibility of attracting a big traffic jam and having multiple kid meltdowns on the drive.

Not good!

So the question became how to balance the “reality” of our past experience with the positive expectations of our present situation?

For me, the answer was to walk away from the conversation. I needed to remove myself from the environment that was triggering my ego and find a way to get some perspective.

Clearly I had fallen into the trap of wanting to be right more than happy! Not good.

Fortunately we were up in Tahoe, and a short drive down to the lake and a walk on the beach as the full moon rose over the East Shore quickly brought me back into balance.

I didn’t need to be “right.” It would be wonderful to spend another day at the lake. And if there was a lot of traffic, we would stop and find something fun to do along the way.

As it turned out, we spent a fun day at the lake and left at 2:00 for a smooth, traffic-free drive home!

Positive Expectations 1: Past Experience 0

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      6 Responses to “Balancing Positive Expectation with Past Experience”

      1. Aaron M. Potts on July 17th, 2007 8:51 am

        Nice one, Ed!

        I suffer from these situations frequently because I am a very logical, reasonable person, e.g. – the one who rains on parades! 😉

        I have also found that just walking away from the situation is the absolute best solution.

        Don’t walk away with the attitude “don’t say I didn’t tell you so,” but rather with the attitude “oh well, life is fun no matter where we are, so it’s all good.”

        Your story demonstrates that when you handle that type of situation the right way, things tend to either work out for the best, or at the very least, you are more prepared.

        Thanks for sharing!

      2. Steve on July 17th, 2007 12:40 pm

        Ed – It’s nice to hear that there are others who suffer from ‘Rightness’ or ‘Righteousness’ or ‘Being Right’ or whatever you want to call it. It’s honorable of you to admit that you were being right!

        I’ve been caught in those moments when talking to my dad. It’s funny because I’ll look over at my wife and she’ll be giving me these funny looks like, “Give it up!” Then I realized how I’m being and give it up. Not always, but most of the time 🙂

        I enjoyed your story,

        Stephen Martile
        Personal Development with NLP
        http://www.stephenmartile.com

      3. Edward Mills on July 19th, 2007 12:30 pm

        Aaron: I’ve also spent much of my life being the analytical type, the one who always knows how to figure out the most efficient way to do something. So it’s been difficult for me to step out of that role. But you’re absolutely right that when you can let go of the need to figure it out and do it “efficiently” things tend to work out great!

      4. Edward Mills on July 19th, 2007 12:31 pm

        Hi Steve. Welcome to ET! I know that look. I get it from my wife all the time! Like you i “usually” get it. But sometimes I don’t.

      5. Self Improvement and Law of Attraction Link Love, Volume 23 | Today is that Day on July 21st, 2007 6:14 am

        […] Evolving Times – Edward Mills details a situation that many of you will recognize in his post Balancing Positive Expectation with Past Experience. In a nutshell, it explains that sometimes just walking away with good expectations is better than […]

      6. David / Homeopathy Zone on July 29th, 2007 8:06 am

        Hello, Ed!

        The problem I always face is that I keep wondering whether the negative thoughts are not in fact correct appraisals of my inability to overcome a problem. In other words, perhaps such thoughts are a useful message saying “Don’t waste your time on something that will not yield any results.”

        I realize that from the perspective of the Law of Attraction this is incorrect thinking, because ability is not a product of one’s invariant nature but of one’s past thoughts which are amenable to change.

        But this hesitation, a tendency that is lodged very deeply into our nature, makes it difficult for me to believe that I can accomplish anything outside of my present range of ability. This hesitation infects my thinking even when I decide to put aside the negative thought: my positive thought becomes diluted with my hesitation and thereby nullified.

        Any suggestions about how to get rid of this hesitation?

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