Here we are in the woods. In the background you see my hammock. I spent a glorious night last night. I tell you what… I love hammock camping. If you've never tried it, you should. It's incredible. Best night sleep I've had in a long time even though I've got a great bed! But anyway, waking up with the morning here… in the woods.

There's nothing like experiences like this. That, at least for me, has helped me to remember to appreciate the moment. Now, how many times have you heard a success guru tell you that you need to appreciate the gratitude is the key, right? That you need to appreciate every moment?

Well, I don't know about you. In fact, I can predict you're like me, in many ways, and that is that one of the ways is that we often times are in moments that are unappreciable...  Is that the word? We just have to ask ourselves, you know, we were reflexively questioning why is this happening to me?

Now, you could say that about the worst things that happened to you in life. And you could say that about the best things that happened in life. Why is this happening to me?

Well, I have learned, and I share this with my clients all the time when they're going through tough circumstances, I've learned that life can only be lived forward. And mostly, only understood backward.

In other words, and we know this logically right, you can't relive a past moment. There's no such thing as do overs really. Time passes. And the only direction we can go in life is forward. That's the only choice.

And, understanding it though, is often upon reflection, is often upon completion of or movement past those moments in time… good or bad, where there were opportunities for reflection. Opportunities for realization, new perspective, events, circumstances, situations that challenged us to think differently, to bring out a new part of ourselves.

And when you take the time to look back at all  the situations good and bad, all the circumstances, all the moments that you've had, as you've lived life forward… you take the time to look back and ask yourself now what have I learned? What do I understand now that I didn't understand before? Then, suddenly, those moments, those precious moments day to day, they continue to tick by. They have meaning, have significance in a richer way, so that we can appreciate it.

how to understand life's circumstances

Life is Lived Forward, But Only Understood Backwards

So, I have an exercise for you here. 

Reflect back on your last year, the last 12 months and think about and make a list of the 10 things that come to mind that were absolutely extraordinary. The things that you absolutely would love to relive again, to experience again. They were rich, they were powerful, they were meaningful. The “Top 10” we'll call it, events in the last 12 months. 

And then make another list of the 10 things that surprised you, that disappointed you, that crushed you, that caused you to question and doubt. Even things or situations that might have been regretful. Make a list of those things… Times when you embarrassed yourself, times when things didn't work out like you planned, times when you get disappointed.

Go ahead and make the list of the Top 10.

better things will turn out

We Can Choose to Appreciate Upon Reflection - What Did I Learn?

But now, I want you to take both of those lists and just start writing, start riffing on what did you learn? What was the appreciable asset of that particular moment, that circumstance, that situation… the good ones and the bad ones both.

You see life has lived forward and understood backwards that we don't take the time to understand what we're experiencing. Then we're making two missteps. One is we're not appreciating. We're not being we're not expressing gratitude for every moment that God's gifted us. And the other thing is we're missing huge opportunity to learn what God is putting in front of us to learn from.

Life is lived forward, but only understood backward.

Make a list of all the great things and all the crappy things. And what did you learn? What did you appreciate? What was golden about each and every one of those things?

And I predict that will help you have an extraordinary moment, the next moment, an extraordinary day, the next day, extraordinary week, the next week, an extraordinary 12 months ahead.

Life is lived forward, but only understood backwards.