One of my traveling destinations is Cambodia. Many Asian countries are just now opening up to tourism (in the past 20 years). A number of these countries are Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, and Cambodia.
One of the habits I picked up over the years is to (1) learn the cultural history of the place I’m visiting and (2) ask a cab driver to take us to all the great spots and pay him for a full day of work.
I love to hear how the locals talk about their country and found that cab drivers are in the habit of opening up and chatting for hours, if you give them the chance.
The country of Cambodia is a rare example of a place that must go beyond the pain of its past and look to its future. To me, the hard collective decisions, which the Cambodian people must make, encapsulates the essence of a daily decision we must all make, if we ever hope to reach our goals.
A Clean Slate Strategy is one of the hardest goals to fully accomplish. I’ve rarely met people, who have truly mastered it fully, but the benefits of improving our ability to execute, if we master this strategy, could be priceless.
I coined the term Clean Slate Strategy in order to clearly define the state of mind needed for goal-setters like us to keep our minds sharp, despite mistakes, which we’ll make on the journey to success.
The past tends to haunt us, sometimes we never quite get over it, and we use it as a baseball club and keep reliving it. It can drain us of our essential energies, throw us into wild mood swings, curtail our enthusiasm to go on, and fill us with rage and the feeling of: Why Me?
This question, posed by anyone at some point over the course of life, Why Me?, is unproductive, since it relates to the past.
Victims focus on placing blame, on filling up with a state of mind of helplessness and a general negative vibe, which leads to making mistakes. Victors focus on taking responsibility, on filling up with a state of mind of creativity and confidence, while maintaining optimism and faith.
This leads to success.
I’ve made costly mistakes over the years and found out that EVERYONE else has too. There’s not a single person, alive or dead, who has been immune to error. The difference is only how strong you are in wiping your past experiences, which are somehow holding you back, by deploying the Clean Slate Strategy.
Squash the past. One way I do this, is talking about the mistake I made with a friend in order to see how people react. It’s shocking to me, sometimes, to see how subjective all of our experiences are.
Once I shared with a friend how another friend of mine vanished with $50,000 that I borrowed from my brother, when I was just 19. He, in return, shared with me that his father lost $2.5M in a deal, because a person his father knew for 20 years, embezzled company funds.
Cambodia, in her own journey, went through one of the darkest periods in human history between 1975 and 1979, as an estimated 1.7 million people tragically died at the hands of the revolutionary government, led by Pol Pot – a quarter of the population was gone.
Life is full of these unjust, unwarranted, and unbelievable stories of cruelty, sabotage, and pain. It helps no one to keep dwelling on it, but helps all of us to learn from it and cherish the memory of people we lost by not wasting the time we are blessed with.
All of us have the opportunity to clean the slate, stop feeling animosity towards people, who have done wrong by us, hold no grudges, and have closure with our past.
No amount of money or luxuries will ever come close to filling the hole we can inflict on our heart by clinging to our personal tragedies. The ultimate cure is to understand this fact of life, come to terms with it, and carry on.
One of the ways I do this is by teaching my own child (and soon children) the lessons of my own life. For now, my daughter is only 18-months old, so I’ve been keeping a journal, which I’ll share with her, as she grows older.
The world keeps ticking forward and we can’t arrest the flow and drama created by 8 billion living souls, all searching for betterment. We can, though, find our place within this great whole and live life to the fullest by focusing on what’s in front of us, right now and where we want to be in the future.
Bury the past or derive value from it, but don’t let it take you down with it.