I try not to live a life filled with regrets. For me, it is much better to look forward and consider how life can be improved rather than wallowing in past mistakes. If I did this, I may rue missed opportunities and think too much about how a lack of confidence has, at times, seen me fail to be the person I have wanted to be. Quite frankly, that is a waste of time. I can’t change the past. I can only work on a better life now and aim to do the things I’ve always wanted to do. My outlook has shifted significantly over the past couple of years and I’m really pleased it has.
I find it incredibly sad when I see others living a life of regret. I know many people who, for various reasons and to varying degrees, regret not doing things in their lives. This could be anything from not taking opportunities, not starting something new, not getting fitter and healthier, or not having a conversation which they’re now unable to for various reasons. In fact, I don’t know many people who don’t wish they’d done something differently in the past.
But what are the reasons for not doing the things that lead to regret in later life? In my experience, and from conversations with close friends and family, it can be a multitude of issues. A lack of confidence. A lack of time. Fear always looms large, whether it’s the fear of being judged by others, the fear of not being up to the task, or the fear of simply starting something new. Unfortunately, most of these fears are unfounded.
You may think you lack confidence but many people who are successful in their chosen field also feel this way – they’ve just worked hard to find a way to overcome the issue. You may claim to not have time but how much time will you spend today watching TV or scrolling aimlessly through your phone? Quite often, it isn’t a lack of time but a lack of prioritising that is the issue. You may feel that starting something new is daunting but once you take that initial plunge, things inevitably start to get easier. If you were to find a genie in a magic lamp and that genie were to grant you a wish whereby not one of these reasons / concerns would come true, what would you do? Would you make a start knowing that no-one is going to make a snide remark about you, or you won’t have everyone you know watching your every move, or there can only be a positive outcome from what you’re doing? I think we all know the answer to this. For example, I was really anxious and nervous about starting this blog. I had the idea for well over a year before sharing my thoughts and feelings, though I nearly ditched it, primarily out of fear. Fear of all those issues I’ve listed above coming true. In the end, I needed to make a decision and I decided to risk sticking my head above the parapet and started to write. I’m glad I did as I’ve had nothing but positive feedback to date. I’m not deluded – I’m sure there will be some out there who don’t like or agree with what I’m doing here, though I’m yet to hear from anyone who does think that. Ultimately, I’m glad I took that first step. The funny thing is, it really is that initial dipping of the toe into the water which is the most daunting. Getting past that and gathering momentum often gets easier as we continue to progress.
Your goals and objectives don’t need to be big things either. Fantastic if you’re looking to write the next Man Booker Prize winning novel, or complete a full Iron Man event, or be the 2021 Slimming World dieter of the year, but quite often achieving smaller scale objectives can be life-changing. Whatever it is you’d like to do but feel you’re holding yourself back, whether it be exercising a little more, eating a little healthier, spending a bit less time glued to your phone screen, taking up a new hobby, joining a new group (whether online or in person), or even something as simple as texting / calling a friend or relative who you haven’t spoken with for a while, try to think only of the positives. Tell yourself that genie will ensure that none of your concerns and worries will amount to anything and take that all-important first step.
This is where I’m at right now. A work in progress, always looking to try to improve myself in some small way, every day. But also trying to help others to do the same. It may not be obvious at times but subtlety is a quality I really do value. We can all do this, too. If you’re in a conversation with someone and feel they’re being hard on themselves, or lacking confidence, turn it around. Hold a mirror up to them and highlight their plus points and what they have to offer this world. Give credit to work colleagues for a job well done and ensure others know about it – far too many people these days are quick to complain but nowhere near quick enough to offer praise. Offer to help someone in any way possible if you can. It doesn’t need a grand gesture – quite often, a thoughtful word or compliment can make the world of difference.
Finally, the quote attached to this post is a slightly modified version of one of my favourites. I’ve added the word ‘almost’ as I have a bit of a problem with statements that suggest we can be anything and do anything we want to. Clearly it is not feasible for a non-American to become the US President, or for the singers amongst us to replace Jon Bon Jovi as the lead vocalist of his band, nor is it likely that I will displace one half of the UK’s favourite presenting duo to create Ant & Mick, despite that having a nice little ring to it. However, we can achieve almost anything, especially our own objectives, if we put our mind to it and try to push away the fear / lack of confidence. So, if you haven’t seen me for a while, don’t be surprised if we do eventually catch up and I try gently steering the conversation to understanding how you’re feeling and what you’re looking to get out of life.
As always, thanks for reading, stay safe, and please do try to be kind to others and to yourself.
Best wishes and take care.