What’s Better: Moving Forward or Regretting Your Mistakes?

Humans make mistakes. It’s in our nature; we are imperfect creatures, which indirectly means we are bound to make errors.

You will always have two options: either dwell on the past or focus on improving your future. While the former will be a constant reminder of how you could have worked harder or perform better, the latter pushes you to not regret. You have a choice to make; you have to decide whether you want to allow the “what ifs” to take over your life or if you prefer pushing as hard as you can to avoid them at all cost. It’s a constant battle in between what you did, what you do and what you want… and you can only pick one.

Where does this comes from?

One of my favourite gymnast has gradually become Aly Raisman, to whom I always go back to whenever I have mental blocks or start to doubt myself. I know this sounds weird, but that girl is my motivation. There is something she said once in an interview that has stuck with me ever since, which I apply to my gymnastics, conditioning (looking at you treadmill) and most importantly my studies:

“Especially in gymnastics, people don’t understand how mental it is and how hard it can get; because there are times when you feel like you physically can’t do it anymore. But your coach is telling you to do two more routines, and you want to do it, because you don’t want him to say later down the road “well, if you tried harder, then maybe you would have made the team.”” – Aly Raisman

This quote really speaks to me because that “if” creeps in my mind at least twice a day. What if I had known what I wanted to do in life early enough? What if I actually had control over my productivity? What if I had picked the right program in CEGEP from the start?

There are so many “ifs” in life. It is much easier to think about what happened on a certain day, to blame yourself for your failures and regret for making such bad choices instead of focusing on the “now” and on what you can do to improve your current situation.

If you’ve read my first post, you know that my curriculum is full of mistakes. It took me hours of research to discover that it really was possible for someone like me to get into medical school. I went from reading about the impossibility of even attempting to succeed if you didn’t have a perfect curriculum to discovering it was possible to erase your CEGEP scores through a bachelor; finding out it would take me 10 years just to be able to complete my doctorate – don’t forget to add my specialization in cardio thoracic surgery to that.

There is a reason why I chose to stick my rewritten biology notes on my wall. There is a reason why I got the red cross tattooed on my wrist when am advisor told me I couldn’t just do what I planned. There is a reason why I chose to baptize my gigantic bear as my “study buddy”. Maybe my homemade support system won’t work for you – and it most likely won’t. You might have friends to talk to when you’re down and doubting yourself, but I don’t. So I found a way to get around it – because God knows I need that support.

How are you supposed to forget about the past and move towards your goal?

That, my friend, is the million dollar question. You see, the thing is that it is so easy to simply say “forget about your past and move forward”, but the reality of it is that your mistakes will literally haunt you even when you’re trying to ignore them.

The simple answer is to catch yourself thinking about those mistakes. Then, you need to immediately modify your thought to something positive.

The long answer is to figure out what is more important to you: be miserable living in the past or attempt to better your future by sacrificing your “now”. It is to decide whether you want to have that nagging feeling that everything would’ve worked your way had you pushed a little bit more or if you prefer knowing you tried your very best regarding of the outcome.

You will sometimes feel like your challenge is impossible to accomplish, like you’ve made too many mistakes to even try to keep pushing forward. That’s why it’s important to have a way to snap back into reality and be able to get back to doing what you need to do to get to where you want to be.

What is your favourite way to make sure you stay dedicated to your studies?


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