How your past can affect your future with the decisions you make today

How your past can affect your future with the decisions you make today

Learning & Development

Roshan Dsouza

Roshan Dsouza

267 week ago — 7 min read

Background: Further to his article on deconstructing decision making, Roshan Dsouza explores the ‘choices’ that leads us to where we want to go in life. As entrepreneurs, the choices you make every day can have enormous impact on the lives of numerous people. And the good and bad choices will determine your success as an entrepreneur.


Making decisions is an essential part of our lives, but more than that, it is the consequences of those decisions that shape an entrepreneur. There are companies that have closed operations because of bad decisions and corporations who have grown because of good decisions.

The choice a single person or a group makes is significant in the path that is chosen as a decision. If it goes sour, the person taking the decision will be held responsible and if it goes great, again the person will be held responsible but will also get the accolades for standing up to the pressure of making the decision.

Only when we reflect on an event from our lives in the past which affects our decision making capabilities in the present, can we understand it from a fresh perspective.


In this article we look at the choices we make based on our experiences and the forecast we do because of our mental conditioning.

The choicesGood or bad?

Options that are available to make a decision are often not laden with all the information needed to make a good choice, sometimes we have to trust our gut.

Our gut has developed a conditioning over a period of time based on our habits and rituals we follow, to react in a certain way to an event or choice. This gut feeling sometimes could be wrong and if we do listen to our gut we can be making a fatal error of judgement.

To help us through this process we have to understand ourselves better, what made us who we are and how we use our past experiences for the judgement of the future choices we will make.

Did we have a challenging childhood, were we duped by individuals on a transaction of exchange, was there a heartbreak that made us stay away from the opportunity of a relationship, were we treated badly in a job and thereby made a choice to be independent in business and not be in comfortable job. The variables are many and we can take a few as an example to determine the cause of our decision making abilities.

I do suggest to individuals who are entrepreneurs or employees of companies to list down the negative events that moulded their lives. Make a chart like the following (you can make one of your own if you feel it could be better)

Write down the summary of the event so that you can reflect on it and see it from a third person’s view.

Events that shape us

Only when we reflect on an event from our lives in the past which affects our decision making capabilities in the present, can we understand it from a fresh perspective.


The event occurred in the past, the maturity level then was lesser than today (I am guessing that is the case). The overlooking of the event today with the increased maturity gives us a platonic perspective to the whole occurrence and we can understand how to mould our decisions away from this experience.

For example, you went to an ice cream parlour when you were young and a few peers from school bullied you while you were eating ice-cream. The association of the ice cream to the event was so strong that you stopped having ice creams from there on and thereby you choose not to enjoy a desert because of this occurrence.

Because of this a mental stigma is created in being cool and you avoid being the centre of attraction in a room, thereby foregoing opportunities to be respected for your efforts.

While the example is a simple one that many may not face, you can substitute it for the time when you were in a bad situation and the decision you made from there on resulted in you not living up to your potential. There is always a way to cure this process but the first step is into realisation that there is a reason why it occurred in the first place and what made us react to it in a negative manner that affected the rest of our lives.

The realisation and rectifying the past

The first step is hard and very stressful, because you are reliving a memory that is not pleasant and was shut off from your conscience mind for a reason. When you relive it, you may or may not have bad thoughts of it happening. Keep reliving the thoughts, and as you live through the thoughts and watch it as a third person you realise the event could have been put off if you had reacted in an alternate manner and the outcome would have been different. What happens in these instances is that you realise your own potential and make a choice to make better decisions in your present so that your future can be brighter.

On the other hand, let’s not forget the good decisions you made in the past, while we like to be all gloom and doom on our past lives, we should also take into consideration the times when we made good decisions and we were praised for it. Use the sample chart shared above to list them down too.

What you will see is a pattern of making good decisions and the mental conditioning that you need to be in when making a good decision. This pattern when understood by the self of the self, you create a strong and confident personality. It develops into a better decision making process and you get to see a better side of you.

Some need help with the reliving of the past. Counselling sessions with a therapist always helps in getting the bad memory out and teaches you to deal with such situations. The point is to let yourself be vulnerable but making yourself stronger with the vulnerability of the making the right decision!


Interested in reading similar articles? Check out some of our articles here:

Curiosity makes a good entrepreneur great!

5 business lessons you can learn from celebrity entrepreneurs

Timeless advice for young entrepreneurs


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