20 Years From Now
“20 years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
If you’re putting off something you know you’d benefit from but is too scared to try, chances are you’re going to regret it-and probably for the rest of your life. You’ll regret it even more if the opportunity never comes back.
With a lot of things stopping us from taking that giant yet risky leap to self-fulfilment, we are at the risk of living a life of regrets, as pointed out by Bronnie Ware‘s “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.” Apparently, shying away from life-changing opportunities for the fear of people’s opinions, failure, or societal constructs can haunt us in our death beds, even more so than the things we did.
However, if there’s anything that awakens us from our deep slumber of passivity and mindless existence, it’s the sharp pain of regret, says German philosopher Friedrich Nietzche. Since it’s utterly impossible to always make the right choice thus not having regrets, Nietzche argues that we should embrace regrets and learn from them instead of either ruminating or denying. He sees it as a necessary means for self-reflection and improvement. There is no other more effective way of reminding us of our mortality than regrets.
We get to learn valuable lessons and insights from firsthand experiences, which makes “doing” not as regretful as “not doing.” Most commonly, the fear of the unknown overwhelms us from doing something unfamiliar, yet it turns into regret once we realize that the “unknown” could have been something we’ve always waited for.