It’s often said that we can learn a lot from the past. But it’s important not to ‘stay’ there.
So what does this actually mean?
To learn from the past means to take the lessons that we have learnt, and apply them to our lives today. It’s about understanding why things happened in the way that they did, and using this knowledge to make better decisions in the present and future.
Whilst the past provides experience, insight and valuable reflection, it’s also important not to dwell on the past or dwell on negative experiences. Instead, learn from them and move forward. We all know those who have gotten stuck in the past and it never turns out well.
It can be difficult to accept that we made a mistake or that something bad happened, but it is important to remember that we all make mistakes. We all have tragedies and triumphs, upheavals and challenges in our past. We can choose to learn from these and become better people as a result. It is also important to forgive ourselves for our mistakes and move on.
Learn From The Past Quotes
The following collection of wise quotes and sayings highlight how important the past is for learning, reflecting and yet still leaving it where it belongs – in the past:
“I have great respect for the past. If you don’t know where you’ve come from, you don’t know where you’re going. I have respect for the past, but I’m a person of the moment. I’m here, and I do my best to be completely centered at the place I’m at, then I go forward to the next place.” Maya Angelou
“Study the past if you would define the future.” Confucius
“Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” George Santayana
“We cannot change our past. We cannot change the fact that people act in a certain way. We can not change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.” Charles R. Swindoll
“Learn from the past, set vivid, detailed goals for the future, and live in the only moment of time over which you have any control: now.” Denis Waitley
“Life is divided into three terms – that which was, which is, and which will be. Let us learn from the past to profit by the present, and from the present, to live better in the future.” William Wordsworth
“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” Buddha
“Don’t torture yourself over the past. Use it as a teacher. Whatever happened to you in the past, has only prepared you for now.” Robert Tew
“We have to do with the past only as we can make it useful to the present and the future.” Frederick Douglass
“Take care not to welcome today the terrors that will make yesterday’s demons look like angels.” Joyce Rachelle
“Whatever has happened to you in your past has no power over this present moment, because life is now.” Oprah Winfrey
“When you forgive, you in no way change the past – but you sure do change the future.” Bernard Meltzer
“The real enemies of our life are the ‘oughts’ and the ‘ifs.’ They pull us backward into the unalterable past and forward into the unpredictable future. But real life takes place in the here and now.” Henri Nouwen
“The past is a stepping stone, not a millstone.” Robert Plant
“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” Marcus Garvey
“I like to use the hard times in the past to motivate me today.” Dwayne Johnson
“One cannot and must not try to erase the past merely because it does not fit the present.” Golda Meir
“Everything you think you know or feel is based on an attachment to the past.” Akiroq Brost
“You know that old phrase ‘Those who don’t remember the past are condemned to repeat it’? Well, I think those who remember the past are even worse off.” Chuck Palahniuk
“Living is a process of developing oneself. Without experiencing pain from disconcerting periods of our lives, we would be different person, perhaps a lesser person.” Kilroy J. Oldster
“You couldn’t erase the past. You couldn’t even change it. But sometimes life offered you the opportunity to put it right.” Ann Brashares
“The past does not define me, it ignites me. The past is not a piece of me, it has placed me” Ricky Maye
“Without making mistakes, there won’t be lessons learned. Without getting hurt, there won’t be knowledge gained. The only way we grow is by learning from the past. Always be willing to learn and grow daily. It’s how we come to know who we are and what we are made of.” Kemi Sogunle
“Learn from the past and let it go. Live in today.” Louise Hay
“If only. Those must be the two saddest words in the world.” Mercedes Lackey
“Don’t regret the past, just learn from it.” Ben Ipock
“Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future. If we can acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now we are okay. Right now, today, we are still alive, and our bodies are working marvelously. Our eyes can still see the beautiful sky. Our ears can still hear the voices of our loved ones.” Thich Nhat Hanh
“You learn a great deal from pain than you will ever learn from pleasures.” Amit Kalantri
“Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it.” George Santayana
“The present changes the past. Looking back, you do not find what you left behind.” Kiran Desai
“Learn from the past, but don’t live in the past.” Steve Maraboli
“Yesterday’s the past, tomorrow’s the future, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.” Bil Keane
For more inspirational quotes and interesting words about the past and moving on, be sure to check out: