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Uncertainty is one of the most difficult feelings to cope with. We often look back at our lives and wonder what if? What if I studied harder? What if I wasn’t too afraid to spark up conversation with that beautiful lady in the same aisle as me in the supermarket? What if I started that business? What if? Just one man with courage is the majority. Ali said it best, “He who is not courageous enough to take risks will never accomplish nothing in life”.
This isn’t a mushy or inspirational article where I tell you that anything is possible and that you can accomplish whatever you want to if you put your mind to it. In reality, life for most of us isn’t a James Bond film with guns, beautiful women, awesome cars and well-tailored suits. Your dream to be a ruthless defense attorney like Jack McCoy (Law and Order), a millionaire “number boss “or the next Barack Obama probably will not happen. You want to be the next Walter White (Breaking Bad) or Frank Underwood (House of Cards), but chances of that happening are slim. Get over it!
You will have many naysayers in life. There will be people that question you and put you down at any opportunity given. They will talk behind your back and see the worst in you rather than your strengths. They don’t believe in you, but WHO CARES? As Charlie Chaplin, a British comic actor puts it, “Failure is unimportant; it takes courage to fool yourself”. Having courage is the ability to resist fear and to master it. Ralph Lauren, a fashion icon dropped out of college and joined the Army Reserve. His fashion career started as a clerk, and then as a tie salesman and now he’s one of the most recognizable names in fashion. There are many rags to riches stories to draw reference from; however, I’m sure there are twice as many stories of rags staying rags. Who cares?
Do you want to be the person to ask yourself, where would I be if I had done this differently? Most people dream about their ideal jobs or their ideal life, but we live so comfortably and safe that many of us won’t even dare to step out of our comfort zone and risk the possibility of failing. Every door we don’t try is a lost opportunity to a new experience. Every shot you don’t put up is a lost opportunity to score a basket. Every second wasted is time we will never get back. So why not try, try and fail, and try again?
When I’m old with rusty knees, a cranky back and an equally cranky wife who had no idea what she got herself into by marrying me, I want to be remembered for what I did and what I achieved in life. Do you have the balls enough to be happy? Do you have the courage enough to be different, to fail, but to take a shot at being what you want to be in life? Chances are you might fail, but the reward is so much greater.
For many of us, we live our lives in pursuit of self-actualization. We seek personal growth and self-fulfillment as we aim to realize our potential. On our way to self-actualization we seek our basic needs of food water and shelter, but we also seek achievement, status, prestige and self-esteem. The process of self-actualization is similar to the growth of a butterfly. The problem, however, is that most people are content with living in the cocoon. Life as a butterfly is drastically different from life in a cocoon. As you spread your wings and fly, you realize your true potential. Why not start now?
I’m not saying that you should go out and be a butterfly, but it’s time to stop living in a box and asking what if and just do it! Get out there and try, fail and try again, because a life filled with regret, is a life void of happiness. You may not end up being James Bond or Walter White, but you can be the best you can be. Why not start now?