Old nonsense

It’s that time of the year again. Many of us have spent time reflecting on 2012 – its highs and lows, our progress and achievements. Some of us may have been thinking about what didn’t work out the way we’d hoped for or what disappointed us.

As a coach, I’m a great believer in the power of reflection. Whilst ‘past performance is no guarantee of future results’ (to quote the financial sector), reviewing last year can help us plan for this year. In reviewing events, how we feel about them, what we would do if the same thing happened again, we can make the most of what we have learnt.

However, as we review the past, we must make sure that we don’t allow ourselves to get stuck there. Whilst Paul McCartney may long for yesterday, dwelling on the stupid thing we did or said yesterday rather than planning how to avoid it happening again just leaves us mired in the past rather than moving on. If all we do is re-play the unsuccessful interview, re-run our mental movie of the break-up conversation or re-read the goals we didn’t achieve, we’re still there in that moment.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said

‘Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and some absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense. This day is all that is good and fair. It is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on the yesterdays.’

Over the Christmas holidays, I like to choose a word which I hope will characterize the upcoming year. This year’s word is ‘present’. I like its multiple meanings:

pres·ent, pre·sent  

/’prezənt/, /pri’zent/


(of a person) In a particular place


  1. The period of time now occurring.
  2. A thing given to someone as a gift: “a Christmas present”.


Give something to (someone) formally or ceremonially.

I want to notice this present moment – I want to be fully engaged with where I am and with what I am doing, rather than dwelling in the past, wishing I was somewhere else, or day-dreaming of the future.

Whilst I know it might sound naff, I want to notice the gifts each day offers me: the chance to work with a great team; the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone; a sunny day after what seems like weeks of rain.

Lastly, I want to give to others: to recognise their friendship or my appreciation of their contribution; to encourage or simply cheer them up and to share what I’ve been given.

This week’s pebble for your consideration: how will you leave behind the ‘old nonsense’ and begin your day well?

What do you think?


PS: if you would like some help with taking your reflections on the past and turning them into a plan for the future, why not email me to see how we could work together?

Turning over pebbles is the blog of Thinking Space Coaching. 

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5 Responses to Old nonsense

  1. Deborah says:

    I love the quote by Emerson: the idea of each day being an opportunity to start again without the weight of New Year resolutions. Thank you for such a positive start to the day!

  2. Pingback: Creating yourself … the continuing story | Turning over pebbles

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