Dealing with the Past


Sometimes I struggle with the mistakes of my past, and let my failures get to me.

Truth is, I am more critical of myself than anyone else, which I think of for the most part as a good thing.

And I believe in extreme ownership as one of my core values, which means if anything goes wrong, it’s my fault.

But sometimes I also have to remind myself about another leadership principle we teach at Krav Maga Martial Arts– the circles of concern and control.

That is, we all have a circle of concern that represents everything that we care about.

And we all have a circle of control that represents everything we can do something about.

And it’s our job to invest time and energy where those two circles intersect.

Other than learning from it, the past is outside of our control, and therefore not where we should focus our energy.

So today I’, grateful to live in the present and focus my thoughts and actions in the direction of the future I want.


That’s what we can control.


Prepare To Live; Empower To Lead!

Grand Master Stephen J. Del Castillo
Founding Master Instructor, Krav Maga Martial Arts


p.s. here’s an excerpt from my book that you may also enjoy about dealing with our past.



I have a lot to say about the first foundational Superpower, Focus.
But before you can step into the present to create the future, you have
something important to do. You must put away the past. Each and all
of us have some parts of our past that we are not proud of, not happy
about or are even resentful for. But our first Focus in developing this
superpower is to move on. So read this first and when you’ve done the
exercise at the end, continue.

1.1 The Past
A past is like an opinion- we all have one. Some memories are
pleasant and some are not. Some memories are victories, and some are
defeats. Some events built us and others almost broke us. Some of us got
bitter and some of us got better. Some repress it, some regret it and some
forget it. Some have moved on and some are still living there. The one
commonality about everyone’s past is that your past got you where you
are today. No matter how good, how bad, how happy or how sad, the
sum total of events, experiences and lessons that form our past also work
together to form the person that we are today. Rather we accept this as
true or not, it is. The key is to embrace whatever has happened as useful,
to grow in and emulate the good and to learn from and diminish the
curses of the past. By embracing the realities of our past, we can stand
on the foundation built by it as we navigate our present to create our

Psychologists tell us that our most formative years are from early
childhood and through adolescence into early adulthood. There is no
denying that the events of our young lives help create who we will be as
adults. This is why parenting is so important; there is no denying that as
parents we have a huge responsibility to raise a child that the world wants
to live with, and a child that wants to live in the world. Having said this,
however, I decided to start with our own past- that of you and I, the adult
audience of this book. I have noticed in my years of teaching that many
of us have not fully resolved issues of our own childhood. I have noticed
this in others and I have noticed it in myself. I am working on each; my
own issues and those of my students. It is from and because of this that I
chose to write about this phenomenon in the first few pages of this book.
One of the most common pieces of baggage we often carry from
childhood is that of not being good enough. This is where the man or
woman in question was never good enough for mom or for dad and,
rather they know it or rather only subconsciously, that feeling has
followed him or her well into adult life. Even if the person does not
realize this, they may subconsciously avoid situations, challenges and/or
even opportunities because they don’t want to experience the agony of
defeat. Truth is, with or without the excuse of an overly demanding
parent, many people fail to realize their full potential for the fear of
failure. It will be one of the enemies we will more thoroughly investigate
and plan to defeat a little later. Suffice it now to say that fear of failure is
insidious and will keep you from being the best you that you are meant
to be!

Of course, the opposite extreme holds some adults back as well. A
child who knows no real standards, structure or discipline may also grow
up unable to best negotiate the demands of adult life, especially as
pertains to work and other adult responsibilities. In either, or any other,
case the first step towards creating the future we want is to come to terms
with our past. The relevance of knowing what happened and what it did
to us is really only to accept that condition and then deal with it. We
should do this in the quickest and most efficient manner possible. If you have it in you, quit cold turkey! That is, accept that the past is the past
and the only value for the future is to learn from it. If this is not in you,
you may need to get help. It is paramount you deal with your past
effectively and sooner rather than later, one way or the other.

So far we have only explored the past of our childhood, by the way;
of course there is also the past that occurred more recently. Was it
betrayal by a friend or family member, financial failure, business
mistakes, death of a loved one or some other catastrophe that is holding
you back? Whatever it is, you may feel alone or that nobody else
understands. Even more harmful, you may still be blaming others for
whatever happened and wherever you are in your life. The first step
towards any real and meaningful progress is to accept full and utter
responsibility for your life from this moment forward! Hey, I said this
book would be helpful, not easy. I am not preaching anything that I don’t
practice. I have messed up relationships, screwed up business and dorked
up finances as much as anyone I know. In every case, it was my fault.
Others may have enticed, aided and abetted or even led but nobody is in
charge of my action or my choices. Wrong or right, dark or bright, I have
been where I have been because I allowed me to go there! The misguided
reader would think this a self-bashing; it is not, but rather empowering!
When we accept full responsibility for ALL of our actions and decisions,
regardless of any circumstances or excuses, we are in control! Do it now
if you never have before! Realize that you and you alone are the author
of your story. It is empowering!

There are of course many philosophical, psychological and even
theological arguments that we can make on this matter. As a young
philosophy major in college I would have wanted to spend time on these;
but this is a book about action. While these are my “meditations” on
mastery, this book is really meant to be more of a blueprint for mastering
your own life and helping others master theirs. Therefore, though we
could argue nature versus nurture, destiny versus free will and even what
Freud may say about the effects of our childhood on our current actions,
these will not help us as much as this- do it now! Learn from the past, live in the present and create the future. The first step is to proclaim that
you can and will do it. Take a moment to reflect upon the things of your
past that you may still be carrying with you. Ask yourself these three key

  1. What am I carrying that is hurting me? Make a conscious
    decision to drop these. Pray about it and release it. If it is not
    adding but subtracting, let it go!
    2. What am I carrying that is helping me? It is also important to
    realize those past events that have contributed to who we are
    and/or are still serving us well and hold onto these. In the case
    of some, they may even be useful to pass on to our children.
    3. What can I learn? The best and highest use of our past is to learn
    for the future. What mistakes have I made that I don’t want to
    make again? What specific lessons learned could I derive from
    these mistakes and apply to my future life. I can honestly tell you
    that I have invested and learned more from the hard earned
    lessons of my life than from my MBA. Go learn from yours too!
    4. Are you ready to focus on your future? Then let’s start with





About Grandmaster Stephen J. Del Castillo: Grandmaster Del Castillo is the founding Master Instructor of Krav Maga Martial Arts and has been empowering lives in Pasco and Hillsborough Counties since October of 2000. He is a 7th degree Blackbelt, MBA, author, mentor and success coach, a US Army Veteran and a proud father and grandfather. He is married to Ms. Barbara Del Castillo who helps him run the school. Grand Master Del Castillo began his training in the early 80’s and has high level blackbelts in Tae Kwon Do, Karate, Premier Martial Arts and Krav Maga Martial Arts as well as experience in kickboxing, Jeet Kune Do and Jiujitsu. He has high level instructor certifications from BBSI, IKMF, and KMG and has been featured in numerous Martial Arts publications and also Success magazine. He was a competitive sport karate and American Kickboxing instructor until he enlisted in the US Army where he served in the 82nd Airborne Division, where he won an Army Green to Gold scholarship and proceeded to ROTC and the University of Tampa. He was commisioned in 1992 and went on to serve in Germany with the 3rd Infantry Division and then in several other posts in the US until he left military service to pursue his dream of creating KMMA in 2000.

The Krav MagaMartial Arts Headquarters is in Lutz, FL at 1900 Land O’ Lakes Blvd., 33549. Krav Maga Martial Arts serves Lutz, Land O’ Lakes, Wesley Chapel, and surrounding areas.

See for more information and to order my book, Developing Your Superpower, Meditations on Mastery, Volume 1.

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