Never Go Back
People think of “repentance” as having to do with a parent, preacher, nun, or teacher scolding them and saying, “Don’t ever do that again!” It is a religious term with a lot of cultural baggage. It feels like a parent or authority figure telling you to stop doing something, and then you feel like you just have to do it.
BY: Dr. Henry Cloud
People think of “repentance” as having to do with a parent, preacher, nun, or teacher scolding them and saying, “Don’t ever do that again!” It is a religious term with a lot of cultural baggage. It feels like a parent or authority figure telling you to stop doing something, and then you feel like you just have to do it. That is a problem.
The reason is this: whenever we get our backs up at a message that says we should not do something again, it shows that we are out of touch with life’s realities. Picture a parent telling a toddler to “repent” from running into the busy street. The toddler just looks at the parent as if the message or the messenger is the problem, sets his face in determination, and says, “Just watch me.” Dangerous indeed.
Such is the nature of the word “repentance.” Repentance is the adult equivalent of stopping at the curb and making sure no cars are coming before you cross the street—especially an adult who has experienced the reality of being hit by a car once before because she didn’t look. It is the realization that she does not want to do that again. It is not going to feel good. It felt really bad last time and it will feel bad again. And the realization of and commitment to that reality are stronger than the need, desire, or impulse to do it; so we are forever changed. We are no longer people who run into the street or hire the wrong person when we knew better—losing a lot of money, time, and energy in the process. We have repented, or literally “changed our mind and turned away” from that way of doing life. That is what the word actually means. In another word, we experience growth. Or maturity. Or better yet, wisdom.
I would love to see myself and the people I care about and work with have realizations every day and begin saying, “I repent! I will never do that again!” and mean it. That would indicate that we see the word as the positive force it truly is: a gift from God.
But, human as we are, I won’t try to force the word “repent” on you. You can call it something else if you want. What I will try to do is to help you to see the power of “getting it,” which means really, really, really changing your mind about some key realities that are keeping you from what you want out of life—personally or professionally—and turning from them. Whatever you call it is okay with me. I think “repent” is cool, but “never go back” is okay, too.
So in the first part of my new book, we explore ten key realizations about behaviors and thought patterns that hold us back and keep us from our goals. When you actually “get” the principles in the first part of the book, and then implement the helps you’ll find in the second part, you will never want to go back to your old ways—you will be forever different. You will never again . . .
1. Return to what hasn’t worked
2. Do anything that requires you to be someone else
3. Try to change another person
4. Believe that you can please everyone
5. Choose short-term comfort over long-term benefit
6. Trust someone or something flawless
7. Take your eyes off the big picture
8. Neglect to do due diligence
9. Fail to ask why you are where you are
10. Forget that your inner life produces your outer success
The above are realizations that successful people live by. And successful people all got where they are the same way. In every area of life, successful people change and grow into success via a predictable path that both experience and research document, and that the Bible describes and commands. They understand the very real consequences of doing things in an unproductive way; they “get it” in a way that transforms them, and they never go back to doing it the old way. The key realizations for success in all areas of life and the pathway to implementing those realizations are what you will learn about in Never Go Back.