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How To Change The Past Without a Time Machine

The Power Is Real

Mandy Chew
Aug 8, 2017 · 5 min read
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We’ve been told it over and over again:

You can’t change the past.

But in a way, that’s a big fat lie…

You can change the past.

…And I’m not talking about time travel…

“The present changes the past. Looking back you do not find what you left behind.” — Kiran Desai

Why The Past Matters

When I was younger, I remember learning about the Declaration of Independence in school.

I was fascinated by the concept of simply claiming, by way of a statement and signature, that things were no longer to be a certain way.

I drafted up my own Declaration of Democratic Independence and turned it into my teacher, telling her I no longer needed History class.

Not surprisingly I got a visit from the principal the next day. He looked me straight in the eye and asked,

“Why do you think we need History?”

I don’t remember what I said (I think a lot of uhhhs and mmms were involved) but I do remember the response he chimed in with,

“When we drive a car, we use a rear view mirror to move forward. History allows us to do the exact same thing. We move forward with the help of the past…”

Change The Past. Change History.

I always find it interesting to watch shows and movies that take place in a time of History that is not our own. I often wonder if the characters would really be like that or if they are simply projections of our current worldviews

I don’t know for certain. But I think it might be extra satisfying to watch something that rights the wrongs of History and spices up a story with modern ideals.

When you think about it, we actually do this exact same thing with our own mind and memories every day as well…

Memories Are Lies. And Truths. Kind of.

Philip Zimbardo and John Boyd wrote an interesting book called The Time Paradox.

In it, they explain that memories don’t play out the exact same way every time we bring them up. Memories are reconstructions of the past based on our current understandings of the world. Memories change, little by little. They fluctuate. They are filtered.

So, the way we remember something when we are 5 is very different than how we remember it at age 50. We see the world differently at different stages in our life.

“the paradox of time perspective, is something that influences every decision you make, you’re totally unaware of” — Philip Zimbardo

In his book Thinking, Fast and Slow Daniel Kahneman talks about how our minds don’t experience things in a straightforward manner at all. In our brains we have different selves. We have a memory self, a remembering self, and a experience self

They categorize things differently, asking questions like,

How was this event as a whole


How does it feel now?”

As a result of this, our selves are in conflict. Our memories can become faulty or mixed.

The Past IS Today

The mind gives meaning, definition, and reality to our memories in a very powerful way. So much so, that we should be utilizing every opportunity we have to make sure our brain is functioning at peak positivity levels.

The way we view our past very literally determines how we live today.

People who view the past in a positive way (even if that means exaggerating circumstances or ignoring pieces and parts of it) are more inclined to be happier, healthier, and more successful.

People who view the past negatively tend to have more anger, anxiety/depression, and low self-esteem.

Want to know the good news?

We can change the past simply by changing the way we feel about it!

“While no one can change events that occurred in the past, everyone can change attitudes and beliefs about them.” ― The Time Paradox

New Meanings. New Insights.

It’s not about delusion. It’s not about pretending. We simply can change the past simply by giving it new definitions and filters.

“Out of your deepest pain will come your greatest gifts, but this can only happen when you take control of the meaning.” — Tony Robbins

When we give positive meaning to events in the past, we get more positivity back, today!

“There is no good or bad without us, there is only perception. There is the event itself and the story we tell ourselves about what it means.” -Ryan Holiday

Call To Action

The mind is an incredible tool…

It’s a time machine.

It’s a film screen.

It’s a History book.

And it has the power to change the world. It has the power to change the past.

Next time you recall a bad event or memory from life, try to look at it through rose-tinted glasses. Ask yourself questions like,

What did I learn?

What am I grateful for because this happened?

And so on…

Then watch the past become something different than it was before…

Because when we see the world positively, we change it.

The Future. The Past. The Present.

They are all what we make them to be…

Want more? Join our readers and get The Positopian, a bi-weekly dose of positive fiction, resources & insights. We’ll also send you awe-inspiring Positopian “artifacts” and giveaways — escape into worlds that will help you to become a better person today! Get it here.

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Mandy Chew

Written by

I am a woman on a mission to seize life by the toes and always "Chews" Joy in life! You can follow more of my musings at or @mandydchew

A network of business & tech podcasts designed to accelerate learning. Selected as “Best of 2018” by Apple.

Mandy Chew

Written by

I am a woman on a mission to seize life by the toes and always "Chews" Joy in life! You can follow more of my musings at or @mandydchew

A network of business & tech podcasts designed to accelerate learning. Selected as “Best of 2018” by Apple.

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