[success]There is little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it is positive or negative. ~ W. Clement Stone[/success]

Moving forward, freeing yourself from past mistakes and messes is a critical part of being happy. Sometimes our very thoughts and habits of action are our biggest enemies, preventing us from ever moving out of our comfortable, if miserable, slot in life.

There might not be one clear path to happiness and success that fits all, but to head for new horizons means you have to be willing to stop selling yourself short and change the state of mind that’s keeping you where you are.

My greatest challenges in changing my state of mind over the years have been inconsistency and not having proper direction. Eventually I hunted out helpful teachings and sayings that I could apply to my life on a daily basis. Just to name a few…

Keep your eyes open

Many of us can speak eloquently of what we don’t want in life.  We’re directionless; stumbling around in the dark, only aware of what we’re afraid of and where we don’t want to go.

Don’t let that be good enough for you. Without a destination you’re lost or stuck where you are.

Become more aware of what’s taking place within. The words you speak to yourself, the mind chatter, the beliefs that you cherish and hold so tightly will all be reflected in your outer world.

The greater awareness you bring to the process of living, creates a space for more choices.  Being aware of who you are and how you operate in life gives you the freedom to respond or react to the circumstances of your life the best way you can.

Stop trying to do it all

It isn’t possible to be in control of every aspect of life. So stop trying. Be clear on the fundamental concepts that will have the greatest impact on your quality of life and begin to master them.

Ask yourself “Does what I’m doing right now resonate with me?” There’s little point in succeeding in the things that bring no value to you or those in your sphere.

Stick with the basics and one basic that was necessary in changing my mind set was…

The gratitude habit

Gratitude is a powerful tool for me. Even when everything is going to hell in a hand-basket there’s something to be thankful for.

I discovered that regardless of how horrible things seemed to be if I could still be aware of blessings in my life…I would actually be okay.

Gratitude isn’t simply about giving thanks because you just got what you wanted. It’s a daily practice where you consistently look for the good.

Begin today to bring gratitude into your life with your every day, normal, run of the mill experiences.  Don’t wait to get what you want before you feel grateful. Become a master of gratitude and enhance your life experience.

Don’t fear failure

Most of us learn to do something right by first getting it wrong.

You must use your failures and mistakes and messes to chart a new course, or tweak a good idea. Each failure or lesson learned are a necessary part of your growth, not an excuse to do nothing, to give up, or to stay stuck. That’s a route to regret.

Let nothing get in the way of your dreams. Don’t put them off because it isn’t easy, or something didn’t work out the way it was supposed to. Tomorrow never arrives.

Use each experience of joy or despair, of loves beginnings and endings as a means to tap the power within and keep moving forward.

Don’t allow adversity to define you

The greatest challenge in life is to be in command of our thinking process. One place where no-one else has any power. The way you think, the way you respond has a greater potential to wreck your life than any problem you might face.

Alter the judgements you make, the way you perceive experiences and how you decide upon the primary issues in life and you’ll be in a position to become more creative in managing the effects of your previous thinking. You’ll be better placed to generate improved ideas to problem solving.

You aren’t defined by the problems in your life, but how you handle them. Breathe a little. Relax a little. Fall asleep every night in the thought ‘something wonderful is happening for me now.’ 

And expect to see it. There’s a spiritual power within you that’s perfect.

In the comments below, I’d love to hear your thoughts about being free of past mistakes and how you handle sometimes being your own worst enemy.

Thank you for contributing to the conversation. Your wisdom and experience help us all to take action on the things that keep us stuck.

And I so appreciate you sharing these posts and would love to continue connecting with you. Join me on google+.

Encourage one another.

Love Elle


Elle Sommer is the author of 4 books and a workbook. Her latest publications are a series called The Power of Consciousness, and you will find all three books in this trilogy now available on Kindle. She shares quotes, inspiration and positive vibes on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. And her greatest desire is to encourage and inspire others to create not just a good life, but a phenomenal life.


  1. Hi Elle; I forget where i heard it first but one of my favorite new phrases is failing forward. It means just what it says since we ar all going to make mistakes and we all learn more from our failures than from our successes; so the point is to use the fall to get you closer to your goal. but you still have to have the courage to fail. unfortunately you also have to have the courage to succeed. thanks again for all your beautiful posts. Take care, max

  2. Hi Elle,

    Ah that big fear of failure. Today I was trying to help a client with that one. Right now he has two choices to make and you can “hear the fear” in him so to speak, because one choice is better but scarier, and the other is not as scary but he knows it’s the wrong choice.

    Gratitude is very powerful, indeed. It’s like the more grateful you are for things the better life becomes. While complaining does the same job the other way around.

    For 10 years of my life, I didn’t own my thoughts, and when I said enough and changed my life, like taking a 180 degree turn, it’s felt so good. I am in a good place now to the point that I can help others, and I wasn’t in that place less than 10 years ago. So, change for the best is possible for all.

    • Elle

      Hi Sylviane Nuccio, your words ring so true to me. How wonderful that through the changes you were willing to make you’re now in a position to support others do the same. It’s always so much easier if someone who’s gone before reaches out their hand. What a blessing. 🙂

  3. Even though I have been through some tough times in my life, much like everyone, I choose to not let adversity define but instead i positively choose to define myself in terms of my successes.

    Its a lot more fun, feels better and makes each day something to look forward to instead of dread.

    • Elle

      You are so right Stephen. Welcome to the conversation. No doubt that having fun needs to be a priority in our life…we tend to take everything so flipping seriously and miss a truly joyous component in living. Fun! 🙂

      • We do make things so serious, and truly some things are that way, but most are not. It just takes a bit of adjustment in our viewpoint.

        • Elle

          Hi Stephen and it’s so true, if we would inject a little more fun into our days we’d find they’d flow so much smoother. How kind of you to stop by and join in the conversation. 🙂

  4. So true Elle. “You aren’t defined by the problems in your life, but how you handle them.” Great advice and I love the clear advice you give in your article. I always feel uplifted here 😉

    • Elle

      Hi Melissa, so glad you’re enjoying the posts and if you feel uplifted then my mission is complete. Encouragement is my desire. 🙂

  5. I am really bad about being my own worst enemy and being so hard on myself. I try to lighten up and realize that not everything I do will be perfect. I try to express gratitude, as you mention, for all of the wonderful things that have happened to me!

    • Elle

      Hi Cher, being the wonderfully gifted creator of beautiful things that you are I think I’d be pretty pleased with myself if I were you. Funny how we often don’t see the gifts that we are in this world. And you are a huge gift dear Cher.

  6. Hi Elle,
    Terrific post again.I’m deeply impressed with your consistency in coming out with excellent insights.My takeaways today are:-

    1.”You aren’t defined by the problems in your life, but how you handle them”

    2.”Gratitude isn’t simply about giving thanks because you just got what you wanted. It’s a daily practice where you consistently look for the good.”

    —-I actually noted them in my diary before proceeding further.

    Speaking about our weaknesses my and destructive tendencies;my best belief is to outperform yourself .Because You are under no compulsion to remain stuck in one incident memory.Connect with your past positively. Always.
    You must motivate yourself to outperform yourself.give yourself incentives to outperform yourself.
    Ever wonder why people go to coaches and mentors to get motivated?Why can people not motivate themselves?Why wait for people to do it to you?


    • Elle

      Thanks Mona for your lovely words. I appreciate you. Super thoughts on outperforming yourself. I think I read a quote somewhere about not being better than someone else, just being better than you were yesterday. I like that a lot. 🙂

  7. I see it too Elle. People talk so much about what they don’t want. It becomes their main focus without giving thought to what they do. I feel like the focus should then be put on the opposite.

    When I start to get down on myself I just try to change my view or meditate to clear my mind of it. It can be tough sometimes though.


    • Elle

      Interesting Lea how easily we can focus on the things we don’t want. Heck sometimes many of us don’t have a clue what we do want because we haven’t given it any thought. I hear what you say about it being tough sometimes to get out of a downward spiral, which is why we need persistence. And some days a lot of it! 🙂

  8. Wow! I enjoyed this post! I think having courage is key for me. It takes courage to believe that I am good enough…as a writer, a mother, a human being. From that, I am able to escape the threat of being my own worst enemy.

    • Elle

      Amazing Jessica. You are indeed amazing. As I said recently in another comment, it’s astonishing how hard it can be to look at ourselves and see that brilliance. And yes, I think it does take courage to rise above all the negative self-talk we’ve picked up along the way. One thing I know, I definitely believe in you. 🙂

  9. The lightness that follows letting go is joyful. It is the letting go that is the problem usually. Letting go of fears, perceived shortcomings, worrying about what other will think if we act in a certain way – all that holds us back and sometimes chains us forever.
    One question that has helped me overcome being prisoned by my past is “How does it help me define myself today?” If it is useful, it stays. If not, it receives a swift kick in the derriere. I tackle the easy things first just to gain the momentum and then a slightly steeper step becomes easier to approach.

    I loved your “Stop trying to do it all’ and “gratitude” points 😀
    Love, Vidya

    • Elle

      Dearest Vidya, you have such a down to earth way of putting things and I love that about you. Giving what doesn’t take you to where you want to be a swift kick in the backside is just great. Plus it adds lightness to the situation. Sometimes I think we take it all sooooo seriously that having a bit of fun with life is a good way to go. 🙂

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