“If only…” These two words paired together create one of the saddest phrases in the English language.
Here are ten choices that ultimately lead to this phrase of regret, and how to elude them:
- Wearing a mask to impress others. – If the face you always show the world is a mask, someday there will be nothing beneath it. Because when you spend too much time concentrating on everyone else’s perception of you, or who everyone else wants you to be, you eventually forget who you really are. So don’t fear the judgments of others; you know in your heart who you are and what’s true to you. You don’t have to be perfect to impress and inspire people. Let them be impressed and inspired by how you deal with your imperfections.
- Letting someone else create your dreams for you. – The greatest challenge in life is discovering who you are; the second greatest is being happy with what you find. A big part of this is your decision to stay true to your own goals and dreams. Do you have people who disagree with you? Good. It means you’re standing your ground and walking your own path. Sometimes you’ll do things considered crazy by others, but when you catch yourself excitedly losing track of time, that’s when you’ll know you’re doing the right thing. Read The 4-Hour Workweek.
- Keeping negative company. – Don’t let someone who has a bad attitude give it to you. Don’t let them get to you. They can’t pull the trigger if you don’t hand them the gun. When you remember that keeping the company of negative people is a choice, instead of an obligation, you free yourself to keep the company of compassion instead of anger, generosity instead of greed, and patience instead of anxiety.
- Being selfish and egotistical. – A life filled with loving deeds and good character is the best tombstone. Those who you inspired and shared your love with will remember how you made them feel long after your time has expired. So carve your name on hearts, not stone. What you have done for yourself alone dies with you; what you have done for others and the world remains.
- Avoiding change and growth. – If you want to know your past look into your present conditions. If you want to know your future look into your present actions. You must let go of the old to make way for the new; the old way is gone, never to come back. If you acknowledge this right now and take steps to address it, you will position yourself for lasting success. Read The Power of Habit.
- Giving up when the going gets tough. – There are no failures, just results. Even if things don’t unfold the way you had expected, don’t be disheartened or give up. Learn what you can and move on. The one who continues to advance one step at a time will win in the end. Because the battle is always won far away and long before the final victory. It’s a process that occurs with small steps, decisions, and actions that gradually build upon each other and eventually lead to that glorious moment of triumph.
- Trying to micromanage every little thing. – Life should be touched, not strangled. Sometimes you’ve got to relax and let life happen without incessant worry and micromanagement. Learn to let go a little before you squeeze too tight. Take a deep breath. When the dust settles and you can once again see the forest for the trees, take the next step forward. You don’t have to know exactly where you’re going to be headed somewhere great. Everything in life is in perfect order whether you understand it yet or not. It just takes some time to connect all the dots.
- Settling for less than you deserve. – Be strong enough to let go and wise enough to wait for what you deserve. Sometimes you have to get knocked down lower than you have ever been to stand up taller than you ever were before. Sometimes your eyes need to be washed by your tears so you can see the possibilities in front of you with a clearer vision again. Don’t settle.
- Endlessly waiting until tomorrow. – The trouble is, you always think you have more time than you do. But one day you will wake up and there won’t be any more time to work on the things you’ve always wanted to do. And at that point you either will have achieved the goals you set for yourself, or you will have a list of excuses for why you haven’t. Read The Last Lecture.
- Being lazy and wishy-washy. – The world doesn’t owe you anything, you owe the world something. So stop daydreaming and start DOING. Develop a backbone, not a wishbone. Take full responsibility for your life – take control. You are important and you are needed. It’s too late to sit around and wait for somebody to do something someday. Someday is now; the somebody the world needs is YOU.
Photo by: J.T. Noriega