We all have dark spots on our past — mistakes, broken relationships, failures, whatever they may be. While some people allow their missteps to become roadblocks that prevent them from achieving success, “Chicken Soup for the Soul” co-creator Jack Canfield believes in adopting a very different perspective.
As he writes in his book, The Success Principles, your past has actually been “perfect,” because it has all led to this marked moment in your life, when you are on the verge of gaining more knowledge. As Canfield explains to Oprah in a conversation on “SuperSoul Sunday,” the concept of a “perfect” past applies to everyone — including you — because we’ve always done the best we could with what we knew at the time. Even when we’ve made mistakes.
“I believe that everything you’ve ever done … you were doing the best you could with the awareness, skills, tools and knowledge you had at the time,” Canfield says.
Everything you’ve done, good or bad, has been driven by your attempt to meet some basic need, he continues.
“Whether people cheated on their income taxes or some kid joined a gang or someone did something that we’d say is illegal, they were trying to meet some basic need — for approval, for connection, for belonging,” Canfield explains. “If they had better tools and awareness, they would have done better.”
Gaining new awareness, new skills and new knowledge isn’t just a part of moving toward a more successful life. In Canfield’s mind, it’s actually the answer to life’s big question: Why are we here?
“My belief is that the whole purpose of life is to gain mastery,” Canfield says. “Master our emotions, our finances, our relationships, our consciousness through meditation, things like that.”
And none of this has anything do with gaining material possessions, he clarifies.
“It’s not about the stuff. All the stuff can be taken away. People lose their fortunes. They lose their reputation. Beautiful spouses die or leave you. But who you became in the process can never be taken away. Never,” Canfield says. “You are mastering through the process of overcoming these obstacles that you face in life.”
“SuperSoul Sunday airs Sundays at 11 a.m. ET on OWN.
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