…And you’re gonna hear me roar! Yes, I did just quote Katy Perry. I’ve got no regrets about that. Speaking of regrets, something you always hear when others are doling out advice about how we should be living, is to live a life of “no regrets”. Do you want to make that decision now, or live with regret later on, always wondering “what could have been”? The problem is that most of us already have regrets in life, and hearing that type of advice always seems to stir them back up. I think making decisions to avoid any type of regret is the wrong way to go about it.
I’ve gone through some things in the past few years that have really made me look at the path I’m on, and how far that path is from where I want it to go. There’s a lot of things I regret along the path I took, and beating myself up over it was making it extremely difficult to change course. Regret doesn’t have to be a bad thing, if you’re treating it as more of a life lesson.
You can’t just dwell on the “what could have beens” in life. What’s done is done, and you need to learn from it, or you just end up digging yourself deeper. The problem with the idea of living a life of no regrets is that it’s not for everyone. We can’t all just ignore our obligations and just steer our lives toward some skydiving trip. Many of the choices we make in life revolve around the situation that we’re in, and it’s not as simple as just pulling the trigger and going for it.
I just think that making the decision just to avoid the regret of not making that decision is backwards. It’s far more effective to make a decision to achieve a positive, rather than avoid a negative. Why not make the choice to do it, because you want to be better at something, or learn a new skill. Dwelling on the choices you didn’t make, is an anchor that tends to change your mindset and attitude. There’s a type of aggression to chasing things, just so you’re not always wondering what could have been. But when you make those decisions because you’re collecting life stories, skills, friends, and other positive things, it’s easier to walk the path.
That being said, don’t let regret hold you back anymore! Don’t wallow in self pity, beating yourself up, because you passed up a great opportunity, or didn’t seize the day when you were young. I regret not having done a better job at saving/investing 10-15 years ago. But that’s not stopping me from learning about it now. I regretted not getting in better shape after my first son was born. But that doesn’t help me progress in the gym. I do wonder what would have happened if I actually did spend more time and energy into training to get into mixed martial arts (I’m not saying I had a shot…I would have started from the ground up).
Some days I regret the decision to focus more on career and family, but I also don’t like getting hit in the face. I don’t have the heart of a champion in that particular arena. However, I look at where I ended up, and rather than wondering what I could have been, I’m very happy with what I actually am. Obviously there are plenty of things I want to change, which is what I’m doing now. But as cliched as it sounds, I wouldn’t trade places with anyone else. I’m already too comfortable where I am, and the path I’ve chosen to travel.
Now I’m chasing goals, skills, and experiences, because that’s what I want. Not to avoid wondering what would have happened, but to say it actually did happen. I’m finding a lot of inspiration watching others around me learn and grow. My sons are both learning to play instruments (something I’ve wanted to do since I was there age). As a family, we’ve all started learning archery. My brother and I have gotten into powerlifting and now we are attempting to solve the Riddle of Steel, and reach the 1000 pound club. I’ve got the eye of the tiger! Every day of every year, I want to be able to say that I’m a better version of myself than I was yesterday.
(This was originally posted on my other blog, NRRDS.com)