Past Performance Does Not Guarantee Future Results
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. ~Albert Einstein
When I initially read the prospectus for my mutual fund, it reported historically high rates of return. I was a touch disappointed when I encountered the disclaimer past performance does not guarantee future results. I like guarantees. I want all of the benefits and none of the risk. My mutual fund had an annual rate of return of 22% when I invested in it back in the mid-90’s and I really wanted that same rate of return or higher from that day forward, but I knew it would fluctuate, even fall, but I took the risk anyway. In 2008 it’s rate of return was -37%. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Boo. However, my fund has since bounced back nicely since then and made more money for me over the years than if I had not invested in it. Yay.
But what if we’re not talking about a mutual fund? What if we’re talking about you, specifically, your challenges—the ones you’ve struggled with for a long time, maybe your whole life? Now how does that phrase sound to you? Past performance does not guarantee future results. I can’t lose weight. Are you sure? Well, I won’t be able to keep it off once I lose it. Really? I’ll never find a suitable job or straighten out my romantic relationship situation. Is that right? I’ll never have enough money. How can you know that?
Don’t fall into the trap of believing that your past outcomes dictate your future outcomes. If you’re going to look back, then recall a time when you improved some skill or situation (no matter how slight). You probably took some risks, did something differently and then got a different result. If you don’t like your past performance, find out what you can do differently right now to alter the trajectory of your outcome. The smallest change can make a big difference.