Thursday, December 4, 2008

No Regrets

The older I get, the more I hear people express regret for the way they’ve lived their lives.

Sometimes it traces back to what they have done. An action. A choice. A mistake in judgment. Perhaps a blatant, intentional decision fully knowing the negative consequences. One event that changed the course of their life, or a chosen course that slowly defined their life.

More often, though, the regret is for something left undone. Mark Twain put it this way. "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do." If you ask me, this one is tougher. But it hits home all the same. Call it comfort or complacency, fear or ignorance. No matter, we will always miss the shots we didn’t take.

“Do I regret how I have lived my life?” Actions taken or failures to take action. As I write, and as you read, the question must be asked. Someday we'll be called upon to give an account for our lives. Will we like the answer? I don’t think I’ll have regrets for missteps or mistakes. I believe my greatest disappointment will be the day I learn what could have been. My full, unrealized potential. When I learn all that I was capable of doing that I simply ran from, avoided, or just let linger without a response. Things I stepped around. Wherever I set the bar, the understanding that I set it too low.

We all have the same 24-hour day. We all have a dream, a passion, planted within us. We all have skills and talents that support that passion. We all have resources that support those skills and talents. No, we don’t all have the same talents, skills or resources. Sometimes it takes a stretch, some extra effort, to make something happen in the midst of our circumstances. Still, we all have the opportunity.

I believe the differences, though, are not the limiting factor. We are far more limited by our thinking. Our beliefs, our attitudes and our self talk. The information we have on hand, and the new information we pursue. The actions we choose to take based on that information.

Beliefs drive decisions. Decisions determine direction. And every direction has a well defined destination.

I believe that each and every one of us are called to greatness based on the unique talents and skills that have been planted in us. They were planted in us for a purpose. They were planted in us for our mission.

The beauty in all of this? No matter where you have been, and no matter where you are now, you can choose a different path. You can tap into your passions and pursue a life void of regret. You can maximize every moment, every day and every opportunity. If you don't like the direction your life is taking, and the associated destination, you can step back and address the beliefs and decisions that are driving you there. But you must take action.

You were meant for something great. Step out and chase a mission worth every breath you’ve been given. Armed with passion and determination, you will create a valuable, abundant life. Stretch yourself! Dream BIG! Leave it all on the battlefield, with no regrets.

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