It’s that time of year when that furry little prognosticator of winter, the groundhog, pops his head out of his cozy winter home to predict whether winter will soon come to an end or not. For a few moments we pay attention to some guys in top hats and a groundhog to determine what our weather future looks like.
You know the drill:
If he sees his shadow, we get the Groundhog Day blues at the prospect of six more weeks of winter. If not, we begin thinking about ditching our boots and coats for warmer weather clothing.
When I think of Groundhog Day, the 1993 movie of the same name starring Bill Murray comes to mind. That was the movie that gave the phrase “Groundhog Day” a whole new meaning.
In case you haven’t seen it…
In the movie, Phil, a self-centered meteorologist, repeats his day over and over and over until he finally gets it right so he can – yes you guessed it – get the girl. In other words, he practices getting better at a better life.
Only 2 outcomes
When it comes to groundhog day – the one on the calendar – there are only two outcomes with the groundhog’s weather prediction – spring or six more weeks of winter.
Life is like that too. You can tackle it in one of two ways and get one of two outcomes:
keep doing the same thing over and over and over and keep getting the same results
make your do-overs count towards making your life better
We get so many opportunities to learn from our mistakes but we often don’t stop and take the time to lock in the lesson. We stick our heads back in our groundhog hole and think somehow next time everything will be different. The funny thing is we keep expecting those different results even though we keep doing the same thing.
That’s our first problem.
The other important thing to remember is that Punxsutawney Phil or his Canadian counterpart Wiarton Willie are simply making a prediction that may or may not come true.
We make predictions all the time.
Meteorologists tell us if we need our umbrellas or snow shovels.
Banks and Wall Street thrive on predictions.
People predict the outcome of sporting events and award shows.
And yes whether a furry rodent will get spooked by his shadow.
All of these predictions are just best guesses given the current information. Sometimes we are right and sometimes we are wrong.
So what do predictions have to do with your life?
Mark Twain once said:
The best predictor of the future is past behavior.
If you don’t do anything different than you have always done.
That’s a big if.
It’s easy to let our past dictate what we think we can have in the future. We become a prisoner of the story we have written so far. We buy into the philosophy of “that’s the way it always has been.”
Partly that’s because we don’t use the lessons we learn in life to create something different going forward. We learn a lesson and then we quickly forget it. We go back to doing whatever we were doing before. We are just like Phil in the movie only in this case we don’t end up with the SPOILER ALERT romantic ending.
Eventually we begin to believe that the past – or what we’ve always done – is what the future holds for us.
I think the best predictor of the future is what you are doing right NOW regardless of what you might have done in the past.The best predictor of the future is what you are doing right NOW regardless of what you might have done in the past. Click To Tweet
Here’s the truth:
Today is a far better predictor of the future than the past ever was.
I’ll agree that our past helps shape us. I just don’t subscribe to the idea that it defines a particular path in the future. Your conscious and intentional choices today predict more accurately what tomorrow and the next day will look like.
So next time you find yourself with a personal Groundhog Day moment, stop and ask yourself:
- How can I make this do-over count?
- What do I need to start or stop doing to get the results I want?
If you start doing that, it becomes a lot easier to predict what life will look like.
Look ahead and ask yourself:
- What do I want to create going forward?
Then make choices today that move you closer to that vision. If you do that, then the past becomes just the past.
On this Groundhog Day, and every other day, you get to decide if you want six more weeks of the same old thing.