I attended a talk given by Chris Guillebeau this week. He's an author of several best-selling books and he's famous for being in all 193 countries in our wonderful world.
And he had a good message. He was a decent speaker.
I am also a decent speaker. I'm perhaps better than this world-traveling person with billions more followers on social media and many more (published) books than me.
And I say this because I know my accomplishments as a speaker. And I've accomplished being a speaker because I first had the idea that I COULD be. I took that idea or concept or dream and I've done whatever it takes for the past 20 years to make it REAL. Because I didn't want to die wondering if my dream could come true.
Chris spoke about this in his talk. He mentioned the fear of regret being a major motivator for change. Most people fall into one of two categories: intrinsically or extrinsically motivated. You either change because you WANT to or because someone or something MAKES you change. People who motivate themselves often see higher success rates over longer periods of time. But not always. Chris said the people who inspired him most were folks who had things pretty good and changed something when they didn't really need to.
I instantly got chills. And I thought about my transition. It, like many changes I've made, wasn't really necessary. I could have coasted through my life the way I had been. I mean, I had it pretty good. I had my own business. I had a relationship that looked great to onlookers and on social media, the truest of truths. I had a good haircut, good skin, decent mental and physical fitness.
Why bother messing with that? Why go the extra mile? Why reach beyond what was familiar?
The answer came to me when an internal conflict arose and the discomfort grew unbearable. I chose to change when the possibility emerged from my consciousness and I got present to the fear of regret. If life is this good now, what if it would only get better? What if there is something else possible for me on the other side of this change?
I couldn't allow myself to die wondering.
The fear of regret was bigger and louder and stronger than any fears I had to stay the same.
We all have one shot here, as far as we know. Although, if we get another shot, I want to come back as an elephant because they are magical things. We have a certain amount of time and any moment we spend not happy is a darn shame. We often are the source of our own suffering, which the Buddha taught. We can turn it on and off like a switch, but we need tools to access that switch. Tools like good nutrition, self-awareness, exercise, and nurturing relationships that also challenge us to grow. Sometimes choosing these tools is the biggest source of struggle and fear. We live with a longing to thrive but lean back from the hard work of transformation.
We do this until one day the deep fear of regret surges through us. When we realize the big clock is ticking and the time we have is precious beyond measure. And we powerfully choose to do whatever it takes to go beyond all fear and experience what's waiting for us beyond our comfort zones.
Where there is all possibility and potential and no regrets.