In principle, how we look back affects how we look forward. When we look back at things negatively – finding only faults and things gone wrong – we are apt to look forward with negativity. When we remind ourselves of things gone right we are more apt to look forward with optimism.
Practical Tip: Whenever you look back at a project, an event, or a span of time, keep a ledger column for plusses. Take stock of things gone well. With every evaluation, be sure to acknowledge and evaluate the good things that happened.
And there is no need to put a negative label on the other column. Call it Delta, the mathematical symbol for change. These are things that you would change if you could do it over, things you intend to improve in the future.
This two-column method of looking at the past, plus-delta, helps us learn from past mistakes yet carry optimism into the future.
– Craig Freshley