I read an article on Curiosity.com. It is a website of researched articles on many different topics. I like going on the site to gain new knowledge and insight about life and the world. I especially love their mind and body section. They posted an article that really spoke to me. The title was “People Regret the Things They Didn’t Do More Than the Things They Did.” It spoke to me, because I agree with it so much. According to the article there is research to back up that claim.
I think it is important to take action, rather than inaction. It is better to fail at trying, rather than doing nothing, because of fear of failure. We think of the struggles, the failure, the embarrassment. This is all short-term thinking. We overestimate the difficult road in the beginning. That stops us from doing what we want. We don’t realize that inaction will lead to much more regret in the long run.
You may stumble, fall, and yes, maybe even fail. We are programmed to be scared of failure. We don’t like it, so we try to be safe to escape it. That may not be best for you if you want to go for the life you want. With that you get to experience the thing you want, even if the road is tough. You get to know, rather than not know. And not knowing what could have been is a far worse fate. The should have been, could have been, or what ifs can be tough to stomach. This can lead one to regret many things when you get older.
In the article they talk about a book by Psychologist Daniel Gilbert “Stumbling Into Happiness.” He talks about two scenarios. One scenario, the person answers the phone, gets a million dollars, but ends up blowing it all. The second scenario, the person doesn’t answer the call, and the money goes to someone else. In the first case you may be upset with yourself for blowing the money. You may regret doing that, but in the long-term not getting to experience having the money would be more regretful. Making the mistake sucks, but not getting to experience it is much worse. At least you can look back and say I had a million dollars. It was an experience, whether you see it as good or bad. It was something. Never knowing what could have happen hurts more. Now those scenarios don’t apply to real life situations. Stuff like that happens once in a lifetime, but you know where we are getting at here.
Another thing the article talks about is the ought self vs ideal self. The ought self is the person you think you should be, the individual who lives the life they think they should live(society standards, family standards). The ideal self is the person you want to be, the individual who lives the life they want. I have mentioned in another post how important it is to live the life you want, not for others, and how that can lead to regret when you are older. This is the same concept. The person who lives the ideal life will most likely have a more satisfying and fulfilling life. We try to live our lives according to others standards, but it just doesn’t work out well for an individual to do so. It just leads to resentment, bitterness, anger, and regret.
I am a person who doesn’t want lots of regrets when I am older, so I challenge myself to do the things I want for my health and well-being. I want to live life for myself. I want to be able to look back, and know I did things because I wanted to. It may be a tough road to get my online business going, it is scary. My introvert personality isn’t cut for this, but it is what I want, so I will continue to try my best, because not trying is a much worse fate, in my opinion, never knowing what could have been is hard to swallow.
I don’t regret going to college, even if what I want to now does not require a degree, even if I am in debt right now. At the time, I wanted to go. I was able to overcome my fears. I was able to gain confidence in my abilities. I realized I was smarter, than I thought. The experience made me see that I can do when I put my mind too. It brought me to the path of mindfulness. It allowed me to become more educated. The good thing is the experience, the action, the knowing, doing what I wanted to do. I didn’t succeed at getting a job afterwards, but I succeeded at going for what I wanted, and taking action. I’ll take that over not doing anything, and thinking what could have been.
Action leads to satisfaction. Doing what you want lead to happiness. Whatever road you take in life. Do it because you want to. Try not to over-analyze the difficulties in the beginning. Those feelings will fade once you take action. We all need to do what is best for us. Try your best in whatever you want to do. Believe in what you want to do. If it doesn’t go the way you wanted, that’s okay. At least you can say you tried.