We Can’t Go Back. Eliminate that Four Letter Word.

It’s just four letters but it has powerful effects.

Everyone uses this word, but rarely thinks about the implications.

In this post, you will learn how it works and why you need to eliminate the word, specifically the verb, “back” immediately.

Murfield Coaching works with leaders and entrepreneurs in sales, Real Estate, and business by thinking bigger and reaching higher than they thought possible. One of the ways we help achieve those audacious results is by examining common language for its emotional power to create or destroy. They aren’t just words. They give or take away our energy to seize great opportunities.

CAUTION: By writing this post, I’m not glossing over the horrible results of this pandemic. At this writing, 525,000+ U.S. citizens and 2.6 million in the world have lost their lives. Meanwhile 117 million have suffered from the virus. Social distancing has separated loved ones and caused tremendous emotional trauma. Those results are atrocious. We all know that losing loved ones is traumatic. I know because I’ve lost a son, my father-in-law, and my parents over the last 15 years. The only hope is to look forward. It’s not disrespectful but healthy. We can honor and respect them by moving into our next normal. We can’t go back.

The Verb “BACK”

As the world gets vaccinated and as we grow even more frustrated with the social distancing, masks, and other restrictions, many say, “I can get wait to get back to normal.”

Problem #1: We can’t “go back.”

The verb “back” is often used to reflect something previous that is behind or in the rear. It implies the opposite of going forward. It also implies a choice

We never can. Yesterday is gone. We cannot go back to last year, last week, or even a minute ago. Instead, the only choice we have is to go forward.

I know, that sounds obvious. Please indulge me for a minute.

Many would like to go back to the way it used to be. Some pine for nostalgic days that were simpler and free of the current problems. I get that. I am almost finished writing my autobiography and enjoyed the walk down memory lane. I had some fun times. But, no matter what I do, I cannot go back there. That world has changed. The buildings, cars, and people have all changed. Maybe most important, I have changed. The quote from the Thomas Wolfe novel rings true, “You can never go home again.”

So as we pine for the world we knew prior to March, 2020, recognize that so much has changed.

  • You have changed.
  • The world has changed.
  • The people around you have changed.

Problem #2: Back is a Purposeful Choice

To go back is a choice a person makes to avoid the present. It is also a choice to avoid the future. “Going back” is a choice to seek safety instead of tackling the risk. It assumes that what we had before is ultimately better than what we have now or what we will have in the future.

We don’t have a choice about going forward. We might think we can choose to step off the time treadmill but we are only fooling ourselves. The world moves on whether we join the progress or not.

By choosing to go back, we forfeit the incredible opportunities in the present and the future.

Problem #3: Going Back is an Action

To go back is a purposeful action, choosing to step back from the current situation and return to a safer place.

Going back is rarely strategic. It is usually reactionary, but occasionally a retreat to regroup. Either way, going back is the opposite of progress unless it is part of the best plan to seize future opportunities.

Problem #4: It is Going the Wrong Way

Opportunities don’t exist in the past.

We can’t go back and seize them.

Instead, the future is where our opportunities lie. .

Problem #5: Going Back has Consequences.

Forfeiting opportunities leaves us with very few choices. Even if things are going well today, will those markets survive as the world changes?

The pandemic has dealt a death blow to the old normal. Yes, there are some things that we miss but the pandemic has also forced us to see more opportunities. Here are a few things that made a difference.

  • We now feel comfortable working virtually.
  • Commute times have drastically diminished.
  • Many employees have saved considerable money that was used for commuting.
  • Most of us have more time with our immediate families.
  • We’ve learned new hobbies, such as baking bread, gardening, or playing a musical instrument.
  • We’ve learned to shift and adapt. We’ve explored areas of our lives that we didn’t think we ever would.

Most of us would prefer to avoid significant change. However, when change is forced upon us, the best thing we can do is make the best of it.

Your Takeaway

Whenever possible, resist the urge to say, “Let’s get back to normal” or “Let’s get back to where we were.” Don’t be legalistic, but as a guiding principle, always look to the future and where you want to go.




Loren Murfield, PhD

I work with leaders and entrepreneurs in small business, sales and Real Estate to think bigger and reach higher to find their breakthrough success. Contact me to begin thinking bigger.

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