How important is analyzing our past to achieving success in our present and/or future?

How important is analyzing our past to achieving success in our present and/or future?


It is difficult to foresee the future regarding the future life, occupation, and type of friends. Psychologically, a person can envision his or her future through past life experiences. Memories can be relied on to determine the future life.Every person has a history that is either appealing or unappealing. Through these past experiences, it becomes easy and relevant to understand the distant life but difficult to ascertain how the future will be.

Additionally, being familiar with the past experiences helps to predict unfamiliar life unfolding. In this context, therefore I endeavor to discuss the significance of analyzing our past to shape our future success using the work of Martha Stout. In the text ‘When I Woke Up Tuesday Morning, it was Friday,’ she questions the bounds by which reality and past memories affect the dissociative states in trauma survivors. In the text, she analyses and points out the experiences of trauma victims who have talked to her. One particular point she notes is that all the victims are affected greatly by the past experiences. It’s due to their past experiences that they are traumatized and dissociated. In the text, she also points outs the differences between dissociation and distraction. Hence in the text am going to explain the importance of analyzing past experiences and their contribution in the present and future life.

Most people face a dilemma when it gets to the point of deciding on whether to analyze their past experiences or not. It’s because going to dig out on the past events would affect one’s assumed peaceful life. As a result, they fear that the past will ruin the [present and future conditions which they assume to be smooth. Human life is always built and characterized by past events. Hence it’s important to analyze and understand past events as they certainly affect the present and future of one’s life. Humans are hence trapped in a situation of dilemma where they are torn between going to review the past and moving on with the present conditions. People suffering from trauma are the most affected because they are locked in their mindsets. They fear to affect their present environment which they consider as calm. According to Stout, “the person suffering from trauma disorder must decide between surviving in a sublethal misery of numbness and frustration and taking a chance that may bring them a better life” (656). It implies that people faced with trauma are mostly dissociated from the normal livelihoods as they are largely affected by the past. In the text, Stout talks about Beverly who is affected adversely by her childhood experience. She had witnessed her sibling die in a road accident, and the memories still affect her normal activities. She acts different and behaves in an abnormal manner since she has trauma. The past experiences she faced have affected her entire being and present life. However “most of us don’t notice these experiences very much. They are more or less visible to us as we go about daily life” (658).  As a result, people don’t realize how much time of the daily life is spent on past experiences.

From the text, we also learn about the stories of quite a number of victims such as Julia and Seth. Julia’s story is quite striking and vividly shows how largely a person can be negatively affected by the past. Julia is a successful woman and is smart as well as respected in her society. It’s because she is an amazing producer of good films. Her life is fabulous from a normal person’s point of view. She leads what seems to be a normal life and does her work perfectly well (659-661). Julia had tried to commit suicide a couple of times. In the text, she narrates saying that she attempted to commit suicide at the isolated Massachusetts beach and was rescued by drunken college students (660). Her life was certainly affected by her past experiences as a child because she didn’t remember being a child. As a normal person one should remember childhood, teachers, friends and where they lived. In the text, the author says “I asked Julia about her teachers, and she could not remember a single one of them. She could not remember whether or not she had gone to high school prom or her high school graduation”. She had experienced abuse as a child, and she had always learned to dissociate it. She had chosen to live a life different from seeing herself as a child. She forgot to grow and operate like other children. As a result, she couldn’t remember about her schooling and most important life aspects since she didn’t take them into consideration. As a child, she had chosen on what was important and what she considered less important and thus had dissociated herself from childhood.

Julia’s trauma had disrupted her memory and thus separated her mind into two beings. She was torn between the past experiences and the present. Her memory had been affected and seemed even to affect her present career life. In the text, she announced to the author saying “when I woke up Tuesday morning it was Friday” (667). Her memories had been glued on Monday’s events, and all she remembered was going to sleep on Monday. So on waking up, she knew it was Tuesday. However, she had attended her daily chores and work on all days to Friday. As she woke up on Friday, she thought it was Tuesday because she had no memories of Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Her mind was still on Monday’s events as they were the only ones she could remember.  It shows that human memory is always affected by the past traumatic events that need to be analyzed. In the case of Julia, she had been used to setting aside things she see didn’t matter to her aside. Hence she chose to reason and think about a few things she considered worth. She did so in her childhood years so as to separate her true life from affecting her childhood. So she mentally lived a separate world far from childhood so as to coexist in the environment she was in.

According to the text, both Julia and Seth are affected by their past events in the present lives. Hence their present and future lives are meant to follow the same course of action from their childhood experiences. Traumatic events have affected them both in a manner that makes them dissociate from normal livelihood. Their lives seem to be controlled by their past. Hence they cannot be able to live in the present setting because they haven’t been detached from the past. They exist in worlds set by the past and would remain to live so until they decide to analyze their past and decide to live. Taking consideration of Seth’s inner life, it is evident that traumatized people are unable to connect to others even if they are friends or spouse (673).  From the above cases, we can see the importance of analyzing the past in order to achieve success in the present and the future. It’s evident that Julia and Seth were not able to connect with the present environment as they were still glued to their past. Hence the lives they decided to live were characterized by their past. In other words, we can say they had not started living since they had not left their past. In their minds, they were in the past phase and had feared to move on.

Traumatized individuals exist in their own world surrounded by bonds that they need to break in order to be free. They are left in a dilemma as to whether to risk and try to move out of their cocoon or to remain in their considered safer situation that they are used to. It is important to analyze our past so as not to remain glued on past events. Consequently, we cannot be able to move forward if we are still stuck in the past. It’s like trying to get up into the next floor with your leg still in the basement. There will be no progress if one cannot lift the leg out of the basement and move forward. It shows that for all individuals whether traumatized by the past or not, one has to find peace within themselves in order to progress. Finding peace involves analyzing and tackling the past so that it will not affect the present and the future.


Human life is not decided by the past, but it’s affected by them. Hence people should not ignore the past since its holds power within individuals’ lives. Some people fear to contact their past and seek freedom as they fear that it’s not achievable. However, it’s evident that freedom from the past is achievable. It’s also desirable to analyze the past as it will aid you in understanding important aspects. It will manage to give you freedom from past events that may be affecting the present condition. Therefore it’s considered wise and necessary to analyze our past so as to achieve success in the present or future endeavors.

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