Written by 4:37 am Growth Mindset, Life English • 37 Comments

Abandon Your Past for Good

Life and Work is filled with dramatic ups and downs. When you are experienced enough in a competition, you can notice that whatever position you used to take, they are just positions no more and less. You might see them as outfits you bought in your life. They might bring you pride, happiness, and even power, but outfits will be worn out over time. One day, you found that the outfits are totally,  worn out or old-fashioned and need throwing or leaving behind. As a human, you cannot stop the feeling of regret and you, to some extent, cannot stop yourself looking longingly to the past. That discomfort gradually builds an against-the-future barrier and fiercely pulls you back.

A life filled with nostalgia for old and beautiful days can be seen as a sugary trap of life.

“Nostalgia is the aching realization that you can’t go back again. The longing, no matter how intense, can never be met.” – R. C. SPROUL. JR

The Triangular Relationship among Pride, Nostalgia, and Abandonment 

It is said that the stronger your pride in the past was, the weaker your abandonment at the moment will be. In other words, you are struggling to leave your pride in the past behind.

It is quite easy to explain in some ways below:

  • You might be dangerously obsessed with your great achievements in the past
  • You might not accept the present results in life or at work
  • You might lose your direction for the future

In the diagram above, you might see the tight correlation among the three factors including (1) PRIDE (2) NOSTALGIA, and (3) ABANDONMENT.

  • Pride is proportional to Nostalgia (+)
  • Pride is inversely proportional to Abandonment (-)
  • Nostalgia is inversely proportional to Abandonment  (-)

The model shows us why people cannot abandon their past success or pride. It is quite normal and explainable. You shouldn’t deny that fact because of that guilty feeling. Humans are imperfect and have the right to do it at some point in their lives.  However, you are encouraged to get over it by deeply understanding the traps pulling you back and keeping you locked up with negative thoughts.

Here are some examples for you to figure out the aforementioned trap


When you have been working for years in one or some industries and have been assigned many positions, I bet you cannot forget the glory you’ve had at work. However, have you wondered where the power comes from?

I was very surprised when my teacher told me that many people are obsessed with the power they are granted and their positions. What is remarkable is that the power they have might not be their power indeed. To make it easier to understand, there are five bases of power identified by John French and Bertram Raven in the early 1960s. They are categorized into 2 groups: Formal and Personal Power.

The first category is conveyed through the fear of losing one’s job, rewarding individuals for compliance with one’s wishes, and the authority of an individual in an organization. It means that your employees are afraid of you because of the power of the position instead of you.  There is a vast majority of people on earth misunderstanding this fact. It is quite easy to understand that many individuals do their best to keep their powerful positions by any means;  In some worse cases,  they dare to commit a crime, break rules or regulations, or lose their work ethic. It is the reason why people cannot give up on their power. They are ready to say no to ABANDONMENT and keep chewing on their glorious past. As time goes on, these will isolate themselves from innovation, advancements, and the future.

TIP: Instead of seeing your past glory as your asset or pride, make it your sweet memory no more and less. 



The second category focuses more on “YOURSELF”.  It means EXPERTISE and TRUST.

  • Expert Power: Individuals who gain expert power are normally experienced ones in their industries. They have worked so hard,  had so many hands-on experiences, accumulated precious knowledge, and acquired ultimate skills. They became thought leaders in their areas. Obviously, with expertise, people will respect them, follow them, and believe in their directions leading to prosperity.
  • Referent Power: Individuals who gain referent power are normally trusted and respected by others because of the ways they handle situations coming up at work or in life.

Learn to be Transformational first and then genuinely Develop

To be a Transformational individual at work, you are supposed to always leave the past behind, treasure the present, and then head toward the future. Being transformational is a long-term process in which you need to create new ideas and new paths of prosperity and development.

To make it come true, it requires much effort from doers. If you are a group leader, you cannot carry past success like a burden on your shoulders all the time. Leave it behind, approach something new in your area, and then create new values for you and your team.  What you should keep in mind is to enrich your Expert and Referent Power instead of solely relying on the other power in the first category.

According to an Analysis of the Transformational Leadership Theory (Moradi Korejan and Shahbazi 2016), you are suggested to deliver the impacts below

  • Inspirational Innovation is conveyed through clear perspectives to achieve goals by increasing efficiency at work.
  • Individualized Consideration is conveyed through healthy relationships with others by providing new learning opportunities based on your members’ interests and skills.
  • Intellectual Stimulation is conveyed through offering a free flow of ideas and imagination to reach new techniques and approaches.
  • Idealized Influence is conveyed through the leader’s role model.

The impacts once again emphasize the importance of your Expert and Referent power. Instead of focusing on the veneer of power, let’s reverse your attention and consolidate the real power you should have.

If you get stuck with the past, please strictly follow the steps below:

  1. Stop thinking about the past, change it into a sweet memory that you used to have.
  2. Remind yourself of your current objectives.
  3. Link your objectives with the Expert and Referent Power.
  4. Apply the theory of Transformational Leadership to help yourself on track.

The past is just the past. It just owns the reference value, but the orientation value.

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