How To Use The Concept Of Time To Heal From Failure

26 Sep 2019

How To Use The Concept Of Time To Heal From Failure

‘Time is a great healer.’ 

Or so we’re told. It seems we mostly accept it as true, without really thinking through what it means. 


Even physicists don’t really understand time.They’ll say that time is an illusion. And it’s true

There is no time!

Time is merely a made-up concept to measure change

I say the concept of time because in reality there is only the present moment, followed by another present moment, then another etc. The idea many of us have about time, though is that somehow it exists. It exists only in our minds. You can’t point to, or touch a past or future experience.   

That doesn’t mean to say that our concept of time isn’t useful. I want to show you a way of using the concept of time to heal from a failure

Try this out!

Here’s a quick exercise that will give you an experience of how you think about time, as well as an initial insight into how you might deal with failure.

Think about something small you’ve done or said that you’ve then regretted 

Find something in the last two or three weeks if you can. Got something? OK Now, in your mind, imagine that you’re before that event that you regret. So you’re before the event and looking at it in your thoughts. As you do this, notice where the regret is now. That’s right, it’s gone hasn’t it? Isn’t that interesting? There can’t be any regret, because you can’t regret things that haven’t happened yet. So when you examine an event from before it happened (hypothetically) the regret can’t be there.

But what if you look at an incident from after it happened?

Let’s look at a different situation and use the concept of time to help change your thoughts and feelings around this as well.

Think about an event, incident or other situation that you believe was a failure. You can use the process that I gave in my post called 7 Courageous Steps To Handling Failure if you would like to glean all the learning out of it first. 

Imagine moving to your future

In your mind, imagine going out 3 months into your future. Look back on the event that you deem a failure. See if there’s anything to learn with the distance that time can create.

Again, in your mind, imagine yourself six months in the future, looking back on that failure event. What can you learn having had a six-month interval?

Notice how you feel now.

Now imagine a year from now where you’re looking back and seeing that failure.

Photo by Madhav Rajesh on Unsplash

Anything new to learn?

Does it seem less significant now?

Now go out ten years from now. As you look at that event from the perspective of ten years hence, how important does it seem now? What else could you learn?

OK, now go fifty years into the future

You may be in your old age, or you might have even passed over. Is there something you could learn that you can use to prevent a similar situation? How important does that failure seem looking back on it from fifty years in the future?

If the first event doesn’t seem pretty insignificant by this stage, please feel free to carry on! Try 100 years, 1000 years, 10,000 years and 1 million years in the future.

Still concerned?

If you’re still concerned about a past failure after completing this exercise, ponder this quotation from Eckhart Tolle;

“Time isn’t precious at all because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious, indeed. The more you are focused on time—past and future—the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.” 

― From, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

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