post written by: Marc Chernoff

18 Chances You Will Not Regret Taking in Life


18 Chances You Will Not Regret Taking in Life

In life you get just about as many chances as you’re willing to take.

Almost two decades ago, when I told my grandmother I was worried about taking a chance and regretting my choice, she hugged me and said, “Trust me, honey, that’s not what you’re going to regret when you’re my age.  If anything, you will likely kick yourself a little for not taking more chances on the infinite number of opportunities you have today.”

And the older I get, the more I realize how right my grandmother was.  Life is about trusting yourself and taking chances, losing and finding happiness, learning from experience, appreciating the memories, and realizing that every step is worth your while…  But you’ve got to be willing to take each step.  You’ve got to give yourself a fair chance.

So here are some chances I would take if I were you – chances I have taken that I know you will not regret:

  1. Trusting your intuition on new opportunities. – Life is too short to wait.  Every new day is another chance to change your life.  Every great accomplishment starts with the decision to try.  Trust that little voice inside your head that says, “What if…” and then GO DO IT.  Give yourself a fair chance.  You would be surprised how often “what if” works.  And no, you’re not obligated to win every time.  You’re obligated to keep trying – to do the best you can do every day – to improve upon what you learned yesterday.
  2. Believing in your own abilities. – You have everything you need within you to become the best possible version of yourself.  Believe that you CAN.  Believe that you’re capable of pushing harder and farther than you have before.  Believe that you’re young enough, old enough, smart enough and strong enough to achieve your goals.  Don’t let false beliefs stop you from moving beyond yourself.  And certainly don’t get sidetracked by other people who are not on track.
  3. Making moves in the face of fear. – It’s often difficult to grow into your greatest self, but it’s a tragedy to let the lie of fear stop you.  So realize right now that fear doesn’t exist anywhere except in your head.  Be courageous.  Go after your goals.  Never let your fear steer your present or decide your future.  And remember, courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is far more important than fear.  (Read Start: Punch Fear in the Face.)
  4. Taking a step forward today. – You will be dead one day.  Sorry to be so dramatic, but it’s true.  The question is: Are you choosing to live right now?  Take a moment and think about.  Life doesn’t start when “this, that, or the other thing” is resolved.  This IS your time.  Life is now.  Do something with it.  Don’t wait it away.
  5. Making your goals a priority. – If you want to live a happy, fulfilling life, tie yourself to meaningful goals, not just to people and things.  Never put off or give up on something that’s important to you… not because you still have tomorrow to start or try again, but because you may not have tomorrow at all.  Life is shorter than it sometimes seems.  Make today count.  Take just one small step a day.  Approach the start of every day with one little goal and end the day with one little word.  DONE!
  6. Working hard even when it hurts. – Remember, personal growth in all walks of life is a slow, steady process.  It can’t be rushed.  You need to work on it gradually every day.  There is ample time for you to be who you want to be in life.  Don’t settle for less than what you think you deserve, or less than you know you can be.  Despite the struggles you’ll inevitably face along the way, never give up on yourself.  You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think, and twice as capable as you have ever imagined.  Keep going.
  7. Upholding your standards. – What’s dreadful is to pretend that second-rate is first-rate.  To pretend that you don’t need love and respect when you do.  To lie to yourself and say everything is OK, when it isn’t.  Or to convince yourself that you like your work when you know darn well you’re capable of much better.  Bottom line: Love yourself enough to never lower your standards for the wrong reasons.
  8. Bouncing back after rejection or failure. – When you are rejected from something good, it often means you’re being redirected to something better.  Be patient.  Be positive.  And remember, no matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying.  (Angel and I discuss this in detail in the “Adversity” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
  9. Owning your situation. – Even when the going gets tough, own it!  If you’re struggling at a job you don’t love, look at it this way: you’re choosing to make a living to pay your mortgage, support your family, and fuel your dreams.  Don’t resist it; own it – that’s where your power is.  If you’re in a relationship that’s causing you pain, you’re choosing to be in it.  Maybe staying will lead to essential growth or a breakthrough or a deeper understanding of love.  Or not.  But you’re choosing to be in or out, right now.  Whichever you choose, own it – that’s where your power is.
  10. Smiling anyway. – Don’t let one bad moment ruin your day.  Think of it as a bad minute, not a bad day, and you’ll be OK.  Stress begins when your worry list is longer than your gratitude list.  Happiness begins when your gratitude list is longer than your worry list.  So find something to be thankful for today.  Be sure to appreciate what you’ve got.  Be thankful for the little things in life that mean a lot.
  11. Being sincerely kind to everyone. – Kindness in words creates confidence and motivation.  Kindness in thinking creates positivity and possibility.  Kindness in giving creates strength and love.  Through kindness you have the ability to make a profound difference in every life you touch, including your own.  When you guide someone who is lost and confused, when you hold someone who is sad and grieving, when you hug someone who has lost all their hope, you too will feel yourself healing and growing stronger.  So do your little bit of good right where you are, because it’s these little bits of good put together that change the world.
  12. Helping others create a better life for themselves. – Who you affect is more powerful than who you are at any given moment.  Because nothing is as enduring as a great memory.  In the end, its only intangible ideas, concepts, beliefs, and feelings that last.  Stone cracks.  Wood rots.  Skin dies.  But great thoughts, beautiful experiences, and inspiring legends… they live forever.  If you can change the way people think and feel, the way they see themselves, and the way they interpret the world, it means you can change the way they live their lives, and how they affect others.  That is, by far, the longest lasting thing you can create.
  13. Living with integrity and honor. – Integrity is choosing your actions based on moral values rather than personal gain.  It’s about living honorably.  It’s about doing the right thing, no matter what, even when nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.  At the end of the day, your reputation is what other people know about you.  Your honor is what you know about yourself.
  14. Being weird in your own way. – We are all weird.  Life is weird.  And when we find weirdness in the world that makes us want to work hard, we call it passion.  And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we call it love.  And if we zoom the lens way out, so we can see all the weird people of the world doing their thing, we realize being weird isn’t that weird after all.  It’s human nature.
  15. Opening yourself to love. – Your greatest task isn’t to find love, but to discover and eliminate all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.  Even when you’re afraid, keep trusting – keep your heart and mind wide open.  Peace is not the absence of trouble, but the presence of love.  As you find the good that exists in others and situations, you discover the love that exists within you.
  16. Closing the door on old news. – Holding on to what’s no longer there holds too many of us back.  Some of us spend the vast majority of our lives recounting the past and letting it steer the course of the present.  Don’t waste your time trying to live in another time and place.  Let it GO!  You must accept the end of something in order to begin to build something new.  So close some old doors today.  Not because of pride, inability or egotism, but simply because you’ve entered each one of them in the past and realize that they lead to nowhere worth your while.  (Read Loving What Is.)
  17. Taking time to simply BE where you are. – You will always be missing out on something.  You simply can’t have it all.  Thus, it will always seem like something wonderful might be happening elsewhere.  And that’s OK.  Let it go, and realize you have everything right now.  The best in life isn’t somewhere else; it’s right where you are at this moment.  You have to accept that some things will never be yours, and learn to value the things that are only yours.
  18. Putting yourself out there and truly LIVING. – To laugh often and love genuinely.  To respect others and judge less.  To win the affection and sincere smiles of children.  To earn the regard of honest peers and endure the betrayal of fake friends.  To appreciate the beauty surrounding you wherever you are, whenever you are.  To find the good in people and situations.  To give what you can and leave the world a little better than you found it.  To have explored ideas and passions and sung at the top of your lungs in delight.  To know that at least one life has breathed easier because you have lived.  This is what LIVING is all about.

The floor is yours…

What are some other chances worth taking in life?  What’s one chance you have taken that you know you will never regret?  Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.

Photo by: Fovea Centralis

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51 Comments

  • Last year I moved across the country from North Carolina to Oregon to live near my brother who was dying of Pancreatic cancer. My beautiful wife actually quit her teaching job cold turkey to help me make the dream of living near my brother a reality. He and I had never lived in the same state since we left our parent’s home nearly three decades ago.

    In the 20 months we lived down the street from each other, we had hundreds of family dinners, great laughs, and heartfelt conversations. Making that dream a reality before it was too late is a chance I know I will never regret.

  • Thank you for another wonderful post on avoiding regrets. For the longest time I lived with dozens of regrets, and I beat myself up about them. Ever since I found your blog and book I have turned things around in a big way. Here’s one of the quotes from your book (which I believe I’ve shared before) that helped me keep things in perspective:

    “Never regret. If it’s good, it’s wonderful. If it’s bad, it’s experience. Success is not about where you are standing at any given point in time; it’s about how much you’ve learned and how far you’ve come to get there.”

    One of the chances I take now that I know I will never regret: Allowing life to simply be sometimes, without trying to micromanage every little thing to the point of driving myself nuts (something I used to do all the time).

  • A very though provoking post. Love it!

    I will never regret taking a pay cut and lesser job title to spend more time watching and helping my two sons grow up.

  • These are all great points! One thing that I have made a choice to do is to sever ties with my past [hurtful, shameful & traumatic] experiences in order to liberate my soul and for me to leap forward in life. It also meant exercising the grace of forgiveness and love instead of dwelling on anger, resentment and unforgiveness.

  • Melissa Webster
    April 2nd, 2014 at 11:42 pm

    I don’t regret taking a chance on a rock band, because their music inspired me so much it catapulted my writing to a higher level and helped me find my voice, taking my writing in a different direction that generated a profound period of transformation and growth in me. For that and all the great memories (all I’m gonna say is New York and Halloween) I feel only gratitude and affection for them, regardless of the ending.

    As Steve Jobs said in his speech “The Last Lecture,” you don’t see the patterns until you’re looking back. It was this experience, combined with other experiences I took a chance on simply because I felt a passion for it, that has led to this next chance I’m taking, something that would not be possible without all those previous experiences.

    And this time, I don’t care about the outcome. I’m not letting myself even think about it. I’m just letting go, having fun with the process and letting myself enjoy wherever it takes me. I’ve been way too serious for way too long.

    I won’t regret taking the chance on trying again.

  • I found this point especially meaningful: Helping others create a better life for themselves.

    Dare to be present in the moment is one I would add to the list!

  • Really liked this post. Especially the trusting your intuition part. That really made a difference in the quality of my life.

    It is my personal experience that if your are really in tune with what you want, then you can completely trust your intuitions 100% of the time to show you the right way.

  • This is a wonderful motivation for me. I’m just starting my freelance business and from time to time I worry whether all this effort and taking the risk will be worth it. But if I don’t try, I won’t know :)

  • What a great article. A great reminder to keep my life in check. Thank you!

  • Taking chances - the universe will really sort it all out despite your best effort to control it.

    I would add - never regret taking a chance on the belief that one person can make a difference.

  • Really great post. Definitely something we need reminding of from time to time.

    It’s so easy to get stuck on autopilot, until one day we wake up with a load of regrets and perhaps not enough time to reconcile them.

    Thanks for sharing; keep up the great work.

  • YaY to being weird!!! :-) I think that has to be my most favorite paragraph of all time!

  • Great post!

    I resonated with, “Trusting your intuition on new opportunities,” because I have had several new opportunities presented to me. I need to go for the ones that are aligned with me and my higher self — my life purpose. I know what my life purpose is not.

  • I don’t know why, but for some reason this morning, number 12 just really resonated with me. I truly appreciate you putting into words what has probably been sitting in the back of my mind for some time. Thank you for what you do! I will be working on number 12 for the rest of my life!

  • One of your best posts yet! I really needed to read this today. Thank you for your hard work and deep compassion.

  • One of my favourite posts so far - agree on all of them on so many levels!

    I’ve been through ups & downs as everyone has, and the more I’ve gone through them, the more I’ve realised to stay true to the things listed here.
    Especially because, as you put it in the last point here, life is meant to be lived!

    These are the things which enabled me to set-up my own business Happyologist which now helps others find the courage in them to live their best, most fulfilling lives - it’s amazing to be able to do work like that everyday! :)

  • I really loved #11. We live in a world where people don’t expect kindness and sometimes live life on the defensive. When you are sincerely kind to someone, it lifts their spirits and hopefully inspires them to pass it on to someone else. Great post!

  • Thank you. It’s as simple as that. Since finding your blog, I am a more positive person, aspiring to live a more fulfilled life.

    Keep doing what you’re doing because you’re doing it right and inspiring so many people on the way.
    x

  • This is a post I needed to see. Thank you.

  • Marc, great writing today. Thank you.

    Chances taken . . . believing when you take a step the ground WILL be there for support. So often, it is really really hard to move in a new direction, fearing nothing to support you. I like to think - if Jesus could walk on water, then yes, I can take this next step; I believe I can.

  • One chance that I took was stepping out as a self employed person. Many people thought I was “weird” when I left a somewhat cushy, city government job to work for myself. I am soooo glad that I did because it was something that I always felt passionate about. I know that if I had stayed in that job, I would have been daydreaming and wondering what life would have been like to work for myself. Being self employed is difficult and it is somewhat insecure. However, I am thankful to God for the opportunity. It has been worth it. I am thankful for the Faith to do it. Love your blog so much. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!!!!

  • Thank you so much Marc for these great words of wisdom.

  • For me, this is the best post I’ve seen of yours yet. Thank you very much. Someone just reminded me to stick to my guns… and I remembered from this I needed to value myself. Then I opened this post just after that… Of course.

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
    Kind regards from NZ,
    Lizzi

  • Hi, Marc:

    I, like many of your readers, do not regret going into business for myself. Linda is right. Self-employment can be trying (until you start overcoming your challenges).

    One of the most important lessons that I learned in business school. You cannot make any business decision based on perfect knowledge. By the time that you have all the information that you need, someone else has already taken the risk and succeeded. Waiting for the “right time” actually causes you to lose the opportunity that are seeking!

    Would you have missed the chance to start Marc and Angel Hack Life?

  • Today’s thoughts are very powerful - thank you.

  • #15… I love someone but am not sure I have to courage to tell them, and am not sure how to show them. Or… maybe I have by being me? It feels as if there should be more said, or that it’s just not the right time to say it. Is tradition that the woman should wait for the man to say it first? I’m almost 46 and have no clue. This also ties with #1 and the intuition situation. Ugh!!!

  • Thank you very much for this inspiring article.

  • One thing that I will Never regret is not going back to work when I had my children. My husband and I decided to live a more meager life with Me being there to raise our children. We did without “things” to be able to do this and lived a simpler life. I gardened, canned, made clothes and used our many talents to live on less money. I was fully there for our children and family and it paid off in so many ways. I was an exceptional mother and am very proud of myself and our children. I also let my children make their own decisions; which some people didn’t agree with. So many parents push their expectations onto their children for the sake of what everyone else thinks is success. My son, who has learning disabilities, decided He didn’t want to be part of the “making money to have stuff culture” and decided to work with an all volunteer organization to help lower income people. Most of the people we know think he is wasting his life I’m sure, but he truly LOVES it. It makes him happy and he wants to change the world that is evolving now from the all the injustice that gross wealth brings to it. We live a good life without all the trappings of “Success”.

  • I’m so grateful for this post. I can identify with all. One step at a time I can tackle these. I’ll start with not letting one thing screw up my day.

    Other chances to take: travel even if you think you don’t want to.

  • My doctor recommended reading your post, because I have similar thoughts.
    This is what all doctors should be doing, healing before curing.
    Preventive maintenance.

  • Certain risks and chances are not things you want to miss out on - I regret that it took me so long to realize that, because that’s the bare essence of creating memories and stories to tell your grandchildren.

    Superb article, thanks for writing!

  • I will never regret moving across the country with and agreeing to marry a man I had met only three months earlier. It was a big chance to take, but we are best friends and have been married for nearly eighteen years, with two fantastic kids.

  • How do you always know what I need to hear? Is my condo bugged? Ha! Thank you :)

  • I will never regret loving for my remaining years, the man I vowed my love to 30 years ago. People change and look for love and other things elsewhere and you can’t control what they do, only what you feel. You can’t make them feel the love you feel for them if they don’t want it or have found someone else. I have loved with passion and will love him for the rest of my life regardless of his choices. I will never ever regret this powerful love, ever! But I will grieve the loss of his love but I will always celebrate my love!

  • Birds are chirping… coffee is great. Life is good :)

  • I will never regret taking all of my savings to be a big and integral part of the Seniors Jubilee. That was feathers well worth investing in emotional, spiritually. Sooo much fun, sooo much growth. Thank you Mr. Director for having the vision to produce such a wonderful show. Thank you for seeing my potential in adding to the show. With your help I have become a better teacher a stronger human being. You will always be held close to my heart.

    ps you have excelled at #12, I have excelled at #14. Love & Hugs

  • Marc and Angel,
    Thank you so much for Your “Hack Life” site. I was turned on to it by a friend, two years ago, and I still find something special in almost every issue that touches my soul. God Bless you guys.

  • Great advice, when I think about it, I haven’t ever heard of anyone regret taking a chance - only missing out on them. I love reading this kind of articles, they bring about some sort of peace in me and introspection, so I actually find them very useful in the long run, too.
    Keep writing!

  • I appreciate this blog more than I can say. I have printed many of them and keep them handy to look at for just a moment before I leave for work. By focusing on just one small thing at a time to improve on, I am seeing a great change in my life.

    This is another post to add to help me keep going the right direction. Life is so much better now!

  • @Dave Nordella: Absolutely. Your ability to grow to your highest potential is directly related to your willingness to act in the face of imperfection. You will come to succeed not by finding a perfect moment, but by learning to see and use life’s imperfections perfectly. Every day at Marc and Angel Hack Life we deal with this. The perfect moment is a myth!

    @Michelle S: If you appreciate someone today, tell them. If you adore someone today, show them. Hearts are often confused and broken by thoughtful words left unspoken and loving deeds left undone. There might not be a tomorrow. Today is the day to express your love and admiration.

    @Carol: When you become “the master of your own fate,” you get to choose what that fate is. You might want a jet-set glamorous lifestyle, or you may just crave peace, quiet and security. Way to follow your own intuition and define success for yourself and your family. You’re an inspiration.

    @All: Forget the past. Forget your age. Today is the first day of the rest of your life. At the end of it, let there be no excuses, no explanations, and no regrets. You are all an inspiration! Thank you for filling this community with so much love, support and encouragement.

  • Last summer I left my 13-year career in IT in order to learn to groom dogs. In the Fall I opened my own shop. I’ve made plenty of mistakes along the way, but I’ve never let it stop me from continuing forward. I don’t regret leaving the security of that job one bit. I regret sitting in that cubicle every day longer than I should have because I was too afraid to leave sooner. But regardless of the massive pay cut, and whatever may happen with my newfound career, I’m so glad I “jumped”.

  • It is my belief that none of this can be accomplished without God.

  • Beautiful post. We take chances everyday and sometimes I think we regret them for the wrong reasons. My advice: be aware, take chance and make the best of it.

    xoxo!!

  • I recently started blogging about my love for fashion and making things pretty. I really shine in that way, it makes me smile seeing my thoughts and outfit creations come to life. also opening myself up to be loved and forgiving someone because of our love and believing I deserve everything I dream and wanting the absolute best experience of being a mother and wholeheartedly being kind and tender with my touch. and giving to someone any chance I can if it can make them smile.

  • Thank you for putting it so succinctly. All of it resonates with me….life is too short, live it now and don’t waste it regretting what you did or didn’t do.

  • Jasmine Franchesca
    April 19th, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    Hugs to everyone…. Xoxo

  • Truly inspiring points…After reading this, I am pretty confident that I’ll be able to do handle what I thought could be difficult.

  • Love all of these especially #15, I’m finding and breaking those self imposed barriers! Thanks for the great post.

  • Umang Shrestha
    June 8th, 2014 at 1:45 am

    These words are always going to be the greatest.. I am glad to see such a page.. Thank you very much..

  • My website is being worked on at the moment, but I will be sure to publish it soon.

    First and foremost, I must say that this is my go to website for any and all inspiration. I love the lists and themes presented on this website and appreciate the sound advice. I consider your work to be empowering and enjoy reading the lists on a daily basis.

    As far as this topic is concerned, I wanted to suggest another component, which is: “Being open to new experiences, opportunities, and people.”

    One of the things that has made my life much brighter is travel. I recently returned from China after spending a year there teaching English at a University in Tianjin. At first I was concerned about many things because after getting off the plane, I knew instantly that China was very different than the US. After meeting the people and traveling to a rural village during the winter, my life was forever changed. Travel alters the way we think and opens up new windows of opportunity that can ultimately alter the course of our lives.

    Had I chosen to be closed off to the people, I would not have learned anything. Being in China made me realize that living with an excess of stuff - material stuff - only makes me feel cluttered and stressed. The mentality I had before going to China was that I needed to look and act a certain way, which of course required that I spend a lot of money on material items (None of which made me feel any better about myself.)

    After having traveled and experienced life with less, I have come to the realization that “Being open to new experiences, opportunities, and people” is one of the best ways to progress further in life. We can learn a lot by taking action and by doing things that we fear or that are outside of our comfort zone. This is a way that we can achieve the goals we have set for ourselves.

    Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this.

  • I have so many regrets. Its hard letting go off them. I beat myself up almost daily. I guess the good thing is I’m aware of it and trying now in my own small way to learn from those mistakes and do things differently than I did in the past. Thanks for this post.

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