Yesterday ended…last night

January 14, 2011 · 6 comments

Mike Stevens' Gutenblog - Yesterday Ended...Last Night

Once, early in my career, I stumbled upon a quote attributed to Paul, the apostle. It was one of those moments in life that sort of sneaks up on you and surprises you. Little did I know what a big impact Paul’s words would have on my success as a business owner and, really, on my whole life. I’m not trying to sound overly dramatic, but if you ask me to list the 10 most helpful lessons I’ve learned in my printing career, this would be one of them.

A couple of thousand years ago, Paul said: “I focus on this one thing; forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.” When I first read this, I thought it was a little odd, but I couldn’t get it out of my head. I kept thinking about why he said “forgetting the past.” I wondered what he really meant and whether or not it would be helpful if I applied his advice to my life.

Well, here’s what happened. As I thought about it, I began to realize that I had this bad habit of carrying the past into the present. In other words, I’d let what happened to me yesterday have too big of an impact on what was happening to me today. If something bad happened, I tended to hang onto it. I kept reliving it and thinking about it. I would let the bad stuff from yesterday keep filling my head with negative thoughts today. On the other hand, if something good happened, I had a tendency to keep thinking about that, too, and kept reliving the success I had accomplished yesterday, instead of moving forward and going on to something bigger and better today.

It finally dawned on me that thinking like that was a bad habit because, in either case, I was letting what happened to me yesterday hold me back from doing my best today. So the lesson I learned is this: When something negative, sad, unprofitable, or disappointing happened yesterday, the best thing to do is just forget about it and move on with your life. But please remember that the reverse is true, too. When something positive, happy, profitable, or successful happens in your life, the best thing you can do is just forget about that, too, and move on. Even the good stuff can hold you back when you spend too much time savoring it — at the expense of going forward. I came to the conclusion that whatever happened “yesterday” — good or bad — was a hindrance to me today if I kept focusing on it. Maybe you should consider this idea, too.

To remind myself of Paul’s great truth, I made a simple little sign and put it in a little picture frame in my office. It says, “Yesterday ended last night.” My little sign has helped me out hundreds of times over the 20 or so years I’ve had it, because it reminds me that last night — at midnight — yesterday ended. Today is a brand-new day, and the best thing I can do to help myself, my company, and my customers is start out fresh and do the very best I can… today.

I know in some ways this probably sounds a little simplistic, but I will honestly tell you this: If you’ll think about this truth and apply it to your life, it will help you on many days achieve much more than you might have otherwise.

And… I promise you you’ll be happier and more content along the way.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Karen D. January 17, 2011 at 5:06 pm

Mike,
Thank you so much for sharing this. I must say this was one of your very best so far. It was so meaningful that I printed it out and read it to both of my sons (15 & 20) and to some of my associates in my other business. We have been on a path the last year of personal development and your blog was awesome. I will continue to share it with those around me who can really benefit from this great advice.

Thanks again,
Karen

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Thom Gulyas January 17, 2011 at 5:04 pm

This could NOT have come at a better time Mike. I made up two of them. One for my house (which my wife immediately took!) and one for my office.

I love this. Excellent….excellent…..excellent.

Thank you my friend,

Thom

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Melissa Uber January 14, 2011 at 1:40 pm

Hi Mike,

I hope this gets to you.

First, I’d like to say thanks for being a valued vendor for many years with the Business Forum & Printers Press. It’s been a valued part of our marketing plan for years. No matter what the economy is doing, we never let up on our newsletter mailers.

Second, I’d like to say thanks for the PrintOwners. It’s a great resource.

Third, your crew and product are awesome for Websitesforprinters. From implementation a few years ago to the occasional tech support, it’s been a pleasant journey and another valued part of our marketing.

Finally, thanks for your blog. It’s refreshing to read thoughts that I know but haven’t thought of recently or give me the “ah hah”! May I use some of this one to go in with our monthly newsletter?

Thanks!
Melissa

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Mike Stevens January 14, 2011 at 1:53 pm

Hi Melissa, you asked “May I use some of this one (blog) to go in with our monthly newsletter?” Yes, please be my guest. Everything here is free and uncopyrighted for everyone to use. I hope I can help you sell more printing. Thank you for the kinds words too!
-mike

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Michael Farag January 14, 2011 at 12:53 pm

Love what you said there. God bless you sir.

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Bev Harmon January 14, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Thanks I needed that!!!!

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