Why You Can’t Stay Focused On The Past

As unmanly as it is to say, I actually like The Lion King. I know. I know. I can hear all of you saying, “But Chris, you’re so studly! How could you possibly?” So go ahead … tell me how studly I am………………(crickets).

I like it because it’s a great story, and it has some really classic scenes. One of the best is when the hyenas are gathered in a circle, and they keep chanting the great lion Mufasa’s name.

1st hyena: Mufasa!

2nd hyena: Ewwww. I hear that name and I shudder… Do it again.


That’s just good quality stuff right there. But my favorite part is when the lion cub Simba has run away from everyone because he thinks he is responsible for Mufasa’s death. Rafiki finds him in hiding and tells him that he needs to come home.

Adult Simba: I know what I have to do. But going back will mean facing my past. I’ve been running from it for so long.

[Rafiki hits Simba on the head with his stick]

Adult Simba: Ow! Jeez, what was that for?

Rafiki: It doesn’t matter. It’s in the past. [Laughs]

Adult Simba: Yeah, but it still hurts.

Rafiki: Oh yes, the past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it or … learn from it.

[Swings his stick again at Simba who ducks out of the way]

Rafiki: Ha. You See? So what are you going to do?

Adult Simba: First, I’m gonna take your stick.

The truth is that the past does hurt. We’ve all made some serious mistakes that we’re not proud of. (If you haven’t, it’s coming. Sorry.) And because of it, we have a tendency to run from the future. That’s right, we will keep ourselves from doing something that God has ordained because we’ve made a mess of something before. We become afraid of how bad we might screw up again. But you need to know that the past is the past! That’s why they call it that! It’s over, gone, done and done! We need to move on and not allow our past failures to control our future. Every great leader has quotes on how much you must fail to succeed. If they know it, why don’t we?

And God doesn’t want to leave you there in the past and taunt you about it day after day. One of the greatest examples of someone who messed up, but God redeemed, is Paul. Paul was Saul, a guy who used to kill Christians. We believe that it was he who held the coats of those who stoned Stephen. And yet, God turned him into the greatest evangelist. You never read that God was there every day saying, “Hey, don’t forget you used to be a murderer. That’s really kind of bad in my book.” Instead, He used him to help me to know about my place in Heaven.

The next time you allow the mistakes of the past to ruin your day, stop and think about Paul and how some of his days went. It’ll change the way you feel. As a leader, you need to be keenly aware of where your people struggle in the area of making mistakes. If it’s from the past, you won’t get them to take many risks for the future.

 Question: How have you gotten over past mistakes? (No mistake details needed. :-))

Feel free to forward this to your friends and family.



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Meet Chris LoCurto


Chris has a heart for changing lives by helping people discover the life and business they really want.

Decades of personal and leadership development experience, as well as running multi-million dollar businesses, has made him an expert in life and business coaching. personality types, and communication styles.

Growing up in a small logging town near Lake Tahoe, California, Chris learned a strong work ethic at home from his full-time working mom. He began his leadership and training career in the corporate world, starting but at E'TRADE.

26 thoughts on “Why You Can’t Stay Focused On The Past”

  1. I hate making mistakes because of the way it makes me feel. That feeling is part of my accountability system that leads me to quickly learn from the mistake and move on. If the mistake hung someone out to dry, I apologize and commit to them it won’t happen again. Just doing that increases the chances it won’t. If the mistake only impacted me, I promise myself I won’t repeat it and some times, I tell someone else I won’t repeat the mistake because that ups the accountability, too. I’ve tried all of these and they work.

  2. I really needed to read this today!!! Thank you!!! I think that when it comes to the past, I’m the one carrying the stick and I’m besting myself up with it.

    I started a new job 3 months ago which, in many ways, is perfect for me. It has definitely allowed me to see how part of my journey has prepared me for this position, but has also shown me how fear from past experiences has weighed me down. Some amazing opportunities/ work perks have made me feel very liberated from some of these fears/ burdens. To say that the past few months have been eye opening is a huge understatement!

  3. Chris, once again you’ve hit the spot. I am going to share this with my youngest. He has an addiction problem and can’t seem to break the cycle. He has gotten himself into some very serious trouble and with a lot of prayers and hard work, he may learn from it and move on to a productive life. He does beat himself up over his past mistakes and that hasn’t helped a bit. In fact, it makes his problems worse. I’m going to print this out for him and mail it to the jail so he can read it. He grew up during the Lion King movie sequence and watched it repeatedly, The lesson should be memorable and hopefully stick this time as we wait for the decision of the court to send him back to rehab or not.Thanks again.

    1. Greg, I’m so sorry! As someone with a family member who has been in the same situation, I can tell you that getting over the past was one of the main motivators for him. Please let me know if there’s anything I can do to help.

      1. THanks for your kind words. Someone sent a facebook quote that was wonderful. Regret is looking back, Worry is looking forward, Hope is looking up. We’ve already gotten clearance from Narconon for a placement, just waiting for the court. Needless to say the prosecutor is not being too flexible at this point. If you would ask the team to pray, that would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. If you have any suggestions I could find a way we could connect off line.

  4. This is a good reminder for us. Our pasts are just mile markers to learn from. The good thing is that we can use our past mistakes to help someone else in the future. If we can help someone from making the same mistakes that we did then we can call that a success. I’ve also learned that my greatest ministry is often born out of my past mistakes.

  5. Matthew 6:34 asserts “…. do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” — I think we can apply the same principle for yesterdays in our life.

    Life is too short. So, let us not waste our life by worrying about either past or future.

  6. Chris – the Apostle Paul has helped me greatly in my struggle to keep the past – in the past. I have thought often of just what you wrote – how Paul must have had times where the past haunted him. But Paul must have been the master of taking control of his thoughts and bringing them captive to the obedience of Christ (“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ)

    When those thoughts would come, I believe that is when he was “forgetting what lies behind and pressing on toward what lies ahead…” and when the deceiver would whisper to him about his past, I believe Paul was speak out loud about his future – that he was being “transformed by a renewing of his mind…”

    Paul much about our thoughts and our ability to control our thoughts – I’m glad! (And no mistake “details” will be given here!)

  7. I’m glad I am good at moving on from mistakes. Like Joel said, learn from it and get on with your day. This really helps keep the productivity up, not spending the rest of the day worrying about something you can’t change.

  8. About a year and a half ago I started running (I’m an outdoor, midwest, year-around, never indoor runner) At first I became addicted to it because it physically embodied running away from my problems. Outside of commitments I did nothing else, but run…..away. My husband called me out on it. And I attempted to balance my life. Those problems are still there. But I no longer run from them. Running for me has transformed. It has become the the physical embodiment of overcoming the obstacles. Instead of escaping, now when I run, I feel like I’m meeting challenges head-on and believe that I can do it every where else in my life. God has used running to illustrate transformation in my life.

  9. To figure out where i’m going in life, i like to look back at the past, i love to see where i have come from, unfortunantely that implies looking at mistakes as well as successes. Thank you for the reminder that i should focus on the good and not the mistakes.Off course i need to ensure though that i don’t get stuck on that and just need to keep focusing on the present and the future.

      1. As i read your response, it brought to mind what the best teams do at relays races. The receiving guy never looks back, just takes off as he receives the baton knowing the past is over and he just needs to focus on the future.

        And i love that you love Lion King..one of my all time favourite movies….!!!!

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