In Never Go Back, bestselling author Dr. Henry Cloud shares ten doorways to success. The 10 principles of never going back includes never:
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 diligenc e
9. Fail to ask why you are where you are
10. Forget that your inner life produces your outer success
Theme – Never Go Back
There are certain awakenings that people have—in life and in business—that once they have them, they never go back to the old way of doing things. And when that happens, they are never the same. In short, they got it .
Once we intellectually understand what we should never do again, how do we actually change? It’s one thing to “understand”; it’s quite another to live out that understanding. Unfortunately, we humans often repeat the same mistakes over and over again.
When we go through certain doorways of understanding, we never go back to our old way of seeing things
It is about certain realizations that successful people have in life, and once they ‘get it,’ they never go back to seeing or doing things the old way. A shift occurs in them that leads to lasting change in key areas of life, such as happiness, relationships, and business.
It as a kind of ‘mental puberty.’ In physical puberty your body changes and you go through doorways never to come back. There is a permanent shift in body and mind. The pubescent youth literally changes.
The same is true with our psychological, personal, and business growth. When we go through certain doorways of understanding, we never go back to our old way of seeing things,” I said. “People who are happy, successful, and have good relationships have gone through certain common awakenings. Once they get it, they are done with the old way and never go back.
PRINCIPLE 1: Never go back to what hasn’t worked.
“If you go backward, you are going backward.”
If redemption is to occur, something must be different . A second chance is not a repeat of the first chance. A second chance is a moving forward to something new . There must be something new and different in order to move forward rather than backward. If everything’s the same, you are repeating what already has been, and there is no reason to think the outcome will be different.
Remember: There is a reason it did not work. If you are going back, make very, very sure that reason is no longer there . You need to see more than just a “sorry” or a commitment to make it work “this time.” You need to see a real, verifiable change.
People do change, and people do learn. Situations change; dynamics that were once present and making something not work can be different now. People build skills, learn new things, develop new capacities, etc. That is what life is about, and all of our lives hopefully are in a direction of getting better, not worse. Just make sure that is the case before you “go back” to anything.
PRINCIPLE 2: Never go back to doing something that requires you to be somebody else.
Trying to be someone else simply will not work longer than a little while. The real you will come out in various ways, fighting on the outside—actively or passively—or dragging you down from within. Personhood—as God has designed it—is something to be fed, nurtured, matured, grown, and expressed. If it isn’t, it ends up expressing itself in negative ways.
So before you invest yourself in a person, a relationship, a team, a company, a career, a church, or anything that you will become a “part of” in a meaningful way, ask yourself this question: Can I do this and still be me ?
In my experience, people who do well never go back to thinking they can be someone else in order to get something they want. They are honest about who they are or who they truly want to be, and they pursue being that person.
PRINCIPLE 3: Never go back to thinking you can change someone.
We can never take over another person’s freedom to choose. Once we understand this, we never go back to thinking we can. We get in touch with the way God has designed the universe. People are not robots; they are free to choose what they want and what they will do and what they won’t do.
When we realize that, we stop trying to do what will never work, which is trying to change people into something they do not want to be or convince them to do something they do not want to do. It never works. While we can influence them, ultimately we cannot change them.
When you realize that you cannot force someone into doing something, you give him or her freedom and allow them to experience it. In doing so, you find your own freedom as well.
PRINCIPLE 4: Never go back to trying to please other people.
Certainly, if you are human, you care whether people like you or not. It matters to anyone who has a heart. Only the most emotionally and relationally cut off people have zero interest in whether others like them or feel positively toward them. We all have a human need to be loved by others, and we all enjoy positive appraisals.
Our entire beings are wired that way from infancy on. Smile at a baby, and you will get a different response than if you frown at him. But that does not mean that everyone who frowns at you for the rest of your life should all of a sudden become your master.
Once you get that it truly is impossible to please everyone, you begin to live purposefully. You begin to play offense. You start spending your time and energy on things that bring meaningful results, rather than on the impossible goal of making everyone else happy.
PRINCIPLE 5: Never go back to avoiding short-term pain when it leads to long-term benefits.
A moment of pain can lead to a long time of relief, if we are willing to go through what successful people go through all the time—face a season of pain, disruption, discomfort, effort, or something that hurts a bit. Then we can have what we want .
The reality is that the people who make the choices that lead to long-term benefit have become the kind of people who know that taking painful steps to get where you want to go is a necessary part of anything good . They have learned never to go back to thinking that pain and discomfort can be avoided in the pursuit of long-term benefit.
PRINCIPLE 6: Never go back to being taken in by someone or something that looks perfect.
No one and no thing is without flaw. When we realize that, we will be much less vulnerable to being seduced by people and situations that appear perfect—with no faults or side effects whatsoever. When we are deceived by the portrayal of perfection, we set ourselves up for a great fall.
Continue to be on the lookout for goodness, but make sure that goodness is coupled with its sister and driving engine—humility. People who have healthy humility are not self-deprecating and don’t put themselves down in order to appear non-arrogant. The opposite is true: They know their strengths and how to articulate them.
PRINCIPLE 7: Never go back to losing the big picture.
The brain is wired with the capacity to live out the big picture and to manage the little pictures along the way. The little pictures are meant to serve the big picture, never the other way around. Everything we do is part of the bigger story of our lives. Our lives are going somewhere, and the end really does matter.
When we adjust the big picture in reaction to one scene, we lose control of our lives and the story we are building. One market crash, and someone abandons investing and becomes a hoarder. One relationship crash, and someone gives up on love for a lifetime.
PRINCIPLE 8: Never go back to taking the easy path and failing to do due diligence
Said simply, in business, due diligence is the practice of confirming that what you are getting is what you think you are getting. Consider the words, “due,” and “diligence.” When something is due, it should be forthcoming now . It is owed to someone. It is a right , an obligation , a fee . And it is of a proper quality , such as “parenting with due care.” When someone is diligent, they exert careful work or effort.
When someone desperately needs a relationship or needs a business deal to go through or needs something else in life, they can color what they see and talk themselves into thinking, for example, that their shining knight on a white horse has shown up. They see what they want to see because they need it to be true.
PRINCIPLE 9: Never go back to ignoring the part you play in being where you are.
One of the biggest differences between successful people and others is that in love and in life, in relationships and in business, successful people always ask themselves, what part am I playing in this situation? Said another way, they do not see themselves only as victims, even when they are. They also ask if there is something to be learned about themselves so they can either turn the situation around or make sure they never find themselves in it ever again. They say something like this: “I have contributed to this in some way. What do I need to learn?”
“These people realize that wherever we find ourselves in life, we are not only acted upon , but we are also actors . We play a part in where we are, and when we learn what that part is and what we are contributing to being there, new doors and new paths begin to open up.
“I have contributed to this in some way. What do I need to learn?”
PRINCIPLE 10: Never go back to forgetting that life is lived inside out.
When we understand that good lives are not found or lost only due to circumstances, we learn to contribute to the production of “the good life” all around us, no matter what situation we find ourselves in. We find that two things are true: First, the good life sometimes has little to do with outside circumstances. We are happy and fulfilled mostly by who we are on the inside. Research validates that. Second, our internal lives largely contribute to producing many of our external circumstances—in a good sense.
Only 10 percent of our happiness comes from the circumstantial, or external. Our thinking often goes like this: “If I just had more money, or that particular job, or that relationship, or that house, or were married, or were single, or lived in that neighborhood, or could retire, or, or, or, or—then I would be happy .” But research reveals that circumstances contribute only about 10 percent to our happiness and well-being!
The remaining 90 percent of happiness comes from two places. The first chunk comes from your basic temperament, constitutional makeup, etc. It is a combination of biology and a bunch of other developmental realities. Go into a nursery and observe the newborns; you will see that some of them are already smiling and happy with the world, and others are not so happy. Babies are born with a tendency toward happiness or unhappiness—but that tendency amounts to only part of their future happiness.
The rest of your happiness comes not from circumstances or biology, but from a set of life practices, attitudes, and behaviors. In other words, much of your happiness comes from who you choose to develop on the inside. The real you.
We all have a lot of “issues” in life. We may have dysfunctional relationships, floundering careers, burnout, stress, lost dreams, debt, and more. But the truth is that many of those issues come as a result of whether or not we are tending to and guarding our “inside life,” our heart, mind, soul, and strength.
All the Best in your quest to get Better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.