Think back to some of the things that you have done throughout life that you regret. Maybe you regret some decisions you made or some stupid stuff that you did. However, think about the stuff you did not do, the opportunities you missed, the people you did not meet, or the fun you did not have. What do you regret more? Randy Pausch, the man behind “The Last Lecture,” stated during a commencement speech, “It is not the things that we do in life that we regret, it is the things we do not.” He is right. When looking back on life you will remember the chances you did not take and kick yourself about the experiences you missed out on.
Every day people are faced with many choices and opportunities; however, a lot of people do not take advantage of these situations. Maybe they are too busy or maybe they have something better to do; or maybe these are just excuses. For some reason people like to find excuses not to do something. They think about what could have happened instead of making something happen. They might be scared because they are uncertain how things will turn out. Yes, sometimes things do not turn out for the best, but think about when they do. Think about all the great outcomes that are possible and missed when someone turns down an opportunity.
Let us look at an example. There is a man named John. John sees a girl that he is attracted to and would really like to talk to her. A lot of times what will happen is John will make an excuse on why not to talk to her instead of finding a reason to talk to her. He may say to himself that she probably has a boyfriend, he does not want to annoy her, or she probably will not like him. After telling himself all these things, John just walks away and does nothing, he does not take a chance. If John just went up to the girl, yes some of the things he said to himself might have happened; but what if they did not. What if he went and talked to the girl and they hit it off. What if they became great friends that changed each other’s lives? What if they got talking and realized they were soul mates? Anything like this could have happened if John just gave life a chance to play out, but now he will be left to wonder what would have happened.
This is why people regret most the things they do not do, because in the process they are not giving life a chance to happen. Imagination runs wild and all the possible outcomes come to them after the situation passes. People get so caught up in the negative things that could happen that they do not consider all the good that can come from taking a chance and saying yes to opportunities. Look at the movie Yes Man. In this movie Jim Carrey is hypnotized into saying yes to every opportunity that comes his way. If his friends ask him to go out, he says yes. If his boss asks him for help, he says yes. Although the movie takes this concept to the extreme, there is a lesson to be learned here. Great things can happen when a person says yes to opportunity; when a person takes a chance; when a person squeezes every ounce of potential out of every moment of everyday.
Challenge yourself to say yes more. Challenge yourself to take chances more. Challenge yourself to do thing more instead of just thinking about doing them. Yes, some not so great things can come from your actions; however, the worst thing can only come from your inaction and that is a regret that last a life time. Once a moment has passed you can never go back and change what you did, or what you did not do. Go out and make every moment count so that when you look back at life you only regret things you did and never regret something for not doing it.