Resolve Unfinished Business

by Srinivas "Sage" Reddy | Join Sage on Google+ here

Resolve Unfinished Business image

I'm on a roll!

This is insight 3 of a series of lessons from my upcoming book. The 1st insight was Keep it simple stupid; the 2nd was Do it now or else.

You know what they say: the past is long gone, the future will never be here and the only thing eternal is the present.

But guess what? The past ain’t gone until you resolve it. If you haven’t made peace with your past, it will impinge on your present and destroy your future. To make sense of all this, let’s turn to your good ol’ kitchen sink.

Prior to implementing KSW (Kitchen Sink Wisdom)’s first insight, “keep it simple stupid” you loved to cook, but didn’t much care to clean up after yourself. All that has changed now. Besides, thanks to “do it now or else” you rarely procrastinate.

These days you really look forward to cooking. It’s mainly because you can always count on clean dishes. When it comes to your dishes, the past is always resolved and the future always looks bright.

Even so, the rest of your life has yet to catch up with your kitchen sink.

Your work life, for instance, is an endless mishmash of unfinished projects. You’re good at starting new projects—but not so good at finishing ‘em. Rather than summon the inspiration to finish your old projects, you go start new ones.

Which only keeps you trapped in a endless vicious cycle. Why do you do this?

It’s because new projects are more exciting and thrilling. Because they’re novel, unblemished, promising and clean. Old projects are just the opposite: old, tainted, boring, and dirty.

Much like those dirty dishes in your kitchen sink.

At least, that’s how it’s been so far in life. But since you’ve transformed your relationship with your kitchen sink, might this spill over into your work life?

Yet bet!

Clean out the old before ringing in the new

First thing you’re going change about how you work is you’re not going to launch any more new projects, no matter how promising and titillating they might seem. If you have new and exciting project ideas (and you always do), you’ll be sure to jot them down. But you won’t dive into them, not with all these unfinished projects. You’ll make an exception to this rule only for extremely urgent situations.

What you will do instead is resolve your old projects one by one. Picking up an old project is like doing your dishes: not terribly interesting. But once you get into it, it’s not so bad. And once you’ve cleaned it out, it’s like new again.

Which begs these questions: what do you do for a living? And what do your projects look like?

Answer: it doesn’t matter.

No matter where your entrepreneurial passions lie, you’re bound to have projects at various stages of completion. But for the sake of example, let’s say you’re an online entrepreneur/blogger and author. Which means, you’re always writing.

The bulk of your unfinished work projects are unfinished articles. You’re also a webmaster as you manage your own website. And God knows there are a million things you need to attend to on your site. Then there’s life and all the projects that come with having a life.

So over the next several weeks, you dust off your ol’ digital files and open them one at a time. As with the dirty dishes in your kitchen sink, your resistance to these ol’ projects vanishes once you get inside them.

Granted, your entrepreneurial future is still kind of foggy and unclear. Even so, this much is very clear: you want to resolve all your unfinished projects. It is a price you’re willing to pay in order to create lasting value in your online business.

“Finish or discard. Just don’t leave it hanging.” That’s your new motto.

Can you do it?

Yes.

Will it work?

Yes!

Why you should resolve old stuff

Because it’ll clear your mind and lift a heavy load off your chest. And it’ll make it much easier to be present. And being present is what it’s all about. Chronically successful people know how to be present. Because when you’re present you’ll see and seize opportunities as they arise; you’ll act when you should and refrain yourself when you shouldn’t.

Extraordinary intelligence is, simply put, an extraordinary ability to be present.

Your may be good at consciously putting unfinished business out of your mind. “Out of sight, out of mind,” your mind thinks. But that doesn’t fool your subconscious. Your subconscious knows. And it never forgets. It knows that you have unfinished business on hand. This will weigh on your mind and keep you from thinking clearly. It’ll keep you from being present.

Resolving old unfinished business is the fastest way to clear your mental cobwebs. Just by doing this you’ll achieve a mental focus you never thought was possible. So no need to spend money on expensive mind-training software or travel the globe looking for mystical teachers. Instead, simply do this:

Leave nothing unresolved from the past.

Nothing! This will clear your head for today and leave you with boundless hope for tomorrow.

The future’s bright when it’s tinged with hope. But hope doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Hope for the future is built on the bricks on past resolutions.

By the way, resolving yesterday is not just about resolving old projects. It’s also about resolving your relationship stuff. Have you ever wronged anyone in life, wounded them, lied to them, deceived them, misled them, misrepresented them, or distorted facts?

It’s ok if you did. You can still makes amends for it. Whether you did it intentionally or unintentionally, it still weighs on you. The guilt you feel from wronging someone will dampen your mind and your soul. You need to be free of it if you want to achieve stellar success in whatever you do.

So forget morality. It’s simply smart to correct your past wrongs to another. It’ll clear your mind like nothing else will.

As well, you’ll find new reserves of energy inside you, energy you never knew you had. Keeping stuff unresolved with other people has been secretly sucking you of your energy. So call them, write them a letter, or email them. Even better, see them in person and apologize. Do whatever you need to do to resolve this people stuff.

Whatever you do, don’t be vague; be specific. Don’t explain. Don’t analyze. Don’t beat around the bush. Simple acknowledge your mistake, apologize and move on. Once you do, let it go. Whether they forgive you or not is not up to you. It is up to them. Once you’ve issued a sincere apology, your part is over. So do your part and let it go.

But what if it’s been too long and you can’t even get hold of the person you’ve wronged? Write it all up on a piece of paper. Then burn it in your fireplace! If you’re spiritually inclined, say a prayer, else visualize a resolution to your liking.

Likewise, have your ever made promises to another person that you haven’t kept? Think of your family and friends. Either acknowledge and apologize for failing to come through or do what it takes to deliver what you promised.

I wish you great success in resolving your past stuff. Once you do, you’re free to live in the infinite present. Here’s to you!

Image Source: franklypenn.com

This post was written by...

has written 23 posts on Ask Sage.

I'm the founder of AskSage.us. I'm a Life Coach, writer, philosopher, blogger, foodie, tinkerer, musician, wisefool and author of the new book Eat for Joy: the 4 golden rules of food.

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Abby Ang May 17, 2013 at 5:01 am

This is such a very nice article. Thank you very much for sharing this. Yes, I totally agree with you, resolving old unfinished business is the fastest way to clear your mental cobwebs.
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love April 23, 2013 at 3:11 pm

I really need to get over it and stop fearing and stop being bothered. I’m good when I’m busy but when am alone it gets over me again!

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love April 22, 2013 at 9:30 am

Hello sir,
I have a huge unresolved business and it weighs me down from time to time. To cut it short, I got cheated in a relationship and when I discovered some secrets about my ex he wanted revenge so he set me up and spread a word about me being an easy girl. When I learnt about it, I ran away from that situation and avoided him and his friends completely even when they tried to contact me. Since then, I’ve been meeting only such guys who want to take advantage of me. Infact even the guys who were good to me turned bad and I don’t know what happened to that situation after I avoided it. I know I made some wrong decisions too but now I simply want to resolve this business. There is no way I want to contact them because that would invite more trouble. Is there a way to let go of this energy so I don’t experience similar situations again? So I cn start meeting new people and stop being afraid of making new friends? Help appreciated

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Brian Couch March 21, 2013 at 3:15 pm

I really enjoyed this post. I have a habit of getting distracted that has really been a struggle my whole life. ADHD meds sucked but meditation has helped. I also tend to over complcate things. Thanks for the inspiration
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truckwomun February 9, 2013 at 9:42 am

Dear Sage,

I’m dealing with a very difficult situation from my recent past and i’m not sure what to do…The full story will take a very long time to write, so I will do my best to summarize:

For 2 years I was in an addictive relationship with a narcissistic man. He was abusive; emotionally, mentally, sexually, physically, verbally, you name it. He used meth amphetamine and crack-cocaine. He had very volatile mood swings and sometimes outbursts of rage. He was controlling and manipulative. He is a sex addict and cheated on me, with parking lot hookers.

He and I are both relationship addicts and both suffer from personality disorders. I became emotionally and financially dependent on this man (codependent) before he showed his true colors. I suppose to an extent I “counter-abused” him. Looking back it’s all very confusing. Bottom line, we were extremely dysfunctional together.

Of course it wasn’t all bad. There were many times when he treated me very well and we got along great. Sometimes we were best friends and other times we were worst enemies. I ended up developing “battered wife syndrome”. Regardless, the situation finally got to be too much for me. I got on my own 2 feet financially and decided to leave him.

To make a long story short, I ended up having him arrested and filing a restraining order against him. I am actively participating in a recovery program for relationship addicts and doing well without this person, but i still think about him a lot and i know he thinks about me too. I have very mixed emotions about him as I’m sure he does me as well. It’s been several months since we’ve had any direct contact.

When I ended the relationship, i decided to beat him at his own game once and for all, so i could walk away with some pride and dignity left intact. I had to get the last laugh. I think of all the rotten things he did to me when he had the upper hand and how he could con his way out of it and turn it all around on me and make me feel guilty and I want to puke!

I’m torn between feelings of anger, disgust, and guilt, to name but a small few. I imagine he feels the same way. I could never tell what was genuine and what was fake with him, so i don’t really know. The whole situation still has me in a state of confusion that i can’t seem to move beyond. No one has ever messed with my mind the way this person did. I had 2 nervous break downs and 1 suicide attempt while i was with him. He used my weaknesses to gratify his own ego.

I want to forgive him, I want him to forgive me, but contacting him is not a good idea. I don’t trust him and doing that could set me up for disaster. I’m still very vulnerable to him, though I wont let it show. He still has an impact on my emotions. How can I lay this situation to rest in my own mind?

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Srinivas "Sage" Reddy February 16, 2013 at 5:00 am

You don’t need to contact him in order to forgive him. Forgiveness is entirely within yourself. As you learn to forgive, you’ll do well to change your center of reference as well — from people out there to your inner Self. Meditation is a great tool for this. Examine (and release) all the stuff that keeps you from liking yourself and loving yourself “as is.”

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Heather January 18, 2013 at 6:56 am

This makes sense. But what if your issue is someone who hurt you horribly in your childhood, and you haven’t spoken in years? We spent the last two years of high school avoiding each other. It literally caused me pain to meet his eyes. Now he’s across the country, and will probably think I’m some sort of nutcase if I write to him asking for explainations or explaining feelings. By now he’s probably got his own life. I want to resolve things. I had no satisfying end. No explaination of why he was so cruel, or what he really thought of me all of those years. Yet I run a good deal of risk talking to him again. He could grind me into dust emotionally, pretend not to know me, pretend that he doesn’t remember our five years of friendship, not respond, or worst of all he could return my former feelings. What do I do?

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Srinivas "Sage" Reddy February 16, 2013 at 4:49 am

Heather, to resolve the past with someone who has hurt you you must forgive them. Not easy, but well worth it.

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Rick Lelchuk April 9, 2012 at 1:21 pm

Sage,

Enjoyed your post. It’s a matter of completion, putting things to rest that take up desk space, mind space and time. The unresolved weigh on us whether we realize it or not. All you have to do is think of the feeling you get when you complete something unfinished. There is a sense of accomplishment and relief. What could be better?

RICK
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Bea April 8, 2012 at 1:02 am

Thank you Sage for this excellent article. this is one of the things I have been working on with trying to get my business up and going. it seems like whenever I try to start something, there is always something left over from what I did before.

Sometimes that works out OK but most of the time like you are saying, I just wind up with a big pile of dirty dishes in the sink. And then pretty soon if I don’t keep up with cleaning the dishes I don’t have anyway to eat any more dinners until I clean some up.

Much better to get the dishes all cleaned up before I move onto another project. :-)
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Hezi March 20, 2012 at 2:29 pm

It took me a while to figure out the way that I work: I can manage 5 things that are happening simultaneously, but when I add one more little task, I lose control. Only when I focus and clear my “past” projects I can continue to move forward.
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JosephJYoung March 19, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Hi Sage,
well written my friend! The word that comes to mind is fulfillment. We get fulfillment when we tend to the undone in our lives because it does weigh us down in our subconscious. When there is something not done it makes us feel incomplete and undone. Good words. Forgiveness is a powerful lesson here too. I would like to add that, as you said, sometimes we cannot make amends. If we have made right with God let us make right with ourselves and forgive ourselves and move on. If God can forget our transgressions no need in us constantly reminding ourselves of them.

Cheers,
Joe
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Jayne Kopp March 15, 2012 at 4:54 am

Hi Sage, so true. I may have mentioned this to you already, but I am reading (or have read) the Slight Edge … and his writing is so common sense just like your post.

I was almost going to ‘say’ out loud as I read… things left undone are ‘energy sucking’… in the next paragraph you said the same thing.

Boy are they ever… and I have been working very hard lately to clean up some piles that I started but didn’t finish.

Thanks for the empowerment.

Jayne
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Catarina March 14, 2012 at 12:50 pm

True. The reason some people avoid sorting out unfinished business is mainly because it’s painful – or pure laziness. But it should be done regardless since it may block your development.

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Tosin March 13, 2012 at 9:23 pm

Hi buddy,

LOve it! Sometimes we just take quotes as they appear with no thoughts to what would actually make them work. This is an example.

It’s absolutely critical that we resolve the things that hold us back and allow them into the future.

There is something about resolving things before moving to the nest one, it manes you feel at rest and not allow the subconsciuos play unconsciuosly about the things that need to be done, thus making you feel uneasy.

Thanks for sharing your insights.
Tosin
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Lilach Bullock March 13, 2012 at 5:55 pm

Fabulous post as always Srinivas:) It’s very logical and makes sense… but sometimes revisiting unfinished business can be painful but I think in the long term it definitely makes sense to do this approach:)
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Lou Barba from shortstorykitchen.com March 13, 2012 at 3:07 pm

Hi Srinivas,

I think I understand what you mean. And yet, I can’t help but keep some things from the past from kicking around in my brain. I remember telling someone the other day when we were talking about a person who has burned me about a dozen times, “When God forgets, it’s forgotten. My brain is only a piece of meat, it remembers.

Lou
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Rebecca Reddy March 12, 2012 at 10:18 am

Sage,
 I never could understand the reason I felt stuck in the mud until I resolved what had been started. It makes perfect sense that I would feel this way because my subconscious is using a portion of my energy to attend the task. My stubborn. Personality runs so deeply that I simply can’t move on without resolving what I have started. When I  resolve it or discard it, I do get a renewed surgeof fresh energy!
To resolution!
~Becca

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Srinivas "Sage" Reddy March 13, 2012 at 9:55 am

Indeed Becks! I know you love to resolve old stuff and I appreciate you for that.

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Nick Broutin March 10, 2012 at 8:16 pm

I need to read this I get caught up in so much I just need to slow down and maybe take a break or two.

Thanks!
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Srinivas "Sage" Reddy March 13, 2012 at 9:53 am

We all need to slow down, Nick.

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David Sharp March 9, 2012 at 4:41 pm

Great post Srinivas, so we get everything done today and not let it bother us again. This is so simple yet so powerful because those things we did not do are always there niggling at us.

Dave
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Srinivas "Sage" Reddy March 13, 2012 at 9:49 am

Indeed, Dave. Unresolved stuff from the past keeps us from being really FREE.

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Terry Petrovick March 9, 2012 at 2:58 pm

I really agree with you on this. I teach a course called “Personal Foundation”. One of the classes is on “Zapping Tolerations”.

Those little things that get under our skin and drain our energy. Once they are zapped, you feel stronger and more complete. It is a beautiful thing!
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Srinivas "Sage" Reddy March 13, 2012 at 9:48 am

Thanks for sharing that, Terry. I bet a lot of people find your class “Zapping Tolerations” really useful.

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Val Heisey March 9, 2012 at 1:38 pm

Sage, this post spells it out. I like the KISS principle and try hard, but often fall short of applying it to what I do. I think my over complicating stuff turns easy tasks into major projects – it’s the leftover perfectionism in me!
Val
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Srinivas "Sage" Reddy March 13, 2012 at 9:46 am

Thanks for your candor, Val. I’ve no doubt you’ll release that leftover perfectionist in you in time.

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John Moussan March 9, 2012 at 2:37 am

Old energies can be resolved to clear the way for the future!
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Srinivas "Sage" Reddy March 13, 2012 at 9:43 am

Well said, John!

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Radu March 8, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Hello Srinivas,

Clever post! The past has power over you as long as you identify with it and keep fueling with energy. Finishing the thing removes your focus from the past to present and sets you free.

Also, leting go the things that didn’t work, the expectations you had will bring freedom into your life experience. I admit, I have few things started but didn’t finished..I seek to be at peace with everything that happened just by declaring it done within.Btw, I did the papaer burning exercise with people and it worked :)

Thanks for sharing this reminder. The initial impulse was to reject the info in your posts on the reason that “I’m right with my own way” :) Yet, I accept it with an open heart.
All the best,
Radu
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Srinivas "Sage" Reddy March 13, 2012 at 9:43 am

Thanks for sharing that, Radu. You’re a wise man, but you already know that. :)

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