I’ve got plenty of fears. I’m terrified of not making it as a writer, dying without leaving a significant impact on the world, sharks attacking me while I dip my feet in the ocean.
What I’m most afraid of, though, is disappointing the woman I’ll be five, fifteen, and even fifty years from now. That petrifies me.
I never want to get to a place where my most common thought is, “I wish I would’ve.”
I wish I would’ve written that book.
I wish I would’ve started that company.
I wish I would’ve worked harder.
I wish I would’ve taken that risk.
I don’t want to grow up and regret my choices because it’ll eat me alive. Knowing I wouldn’t be able to go back in time and do everything better scares me more than anything else.
But that’s a good thing.
Your biggest fear should be disappointing yourself.
Opportunities won’t stick around for as long as you want
If you have a chance to start the business of your dreams, quit your job, or go back to college right now — and that’s what you want to do exactly — then you need to do it.
If there’s an opportunity knocking on your front door, you have to open it because it won’t wait for you forever.
“If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat! Just get on.” — Sheryl Sandberg
You know that feeling when an opportunity passes you by, and you think, “Damn, I should’ve done something about that,”? That’s what you want to avoid.
If you’re afraid of the risks, remember to be more fearful of disappointing yourself.
You have to ask: “Ten years from now, do I still want to be where I am right now?” If the answer is yes, and you feel like you’re in the right place, then keep doing what you’re doing.
If your answer is no, then it’s your responsibility to change that. Decide as soon as possible because the chance you see in front of you right now will leave and go to someone else.
How would you feel if they took it?
Where do you see yourself in five years? In ten?
It’s not just about taking a risk to chase your dreams, but about all of your life choices. It’s about your health, your relationships, or how you handle your money.
- Do you want to be with who you’re dating right now for another five years?
- Do you want to keep eating the way you have in five years?
- Do you want to keep struggling financially in ten years?
Deciding yes or no might not always be simple, and that’s why you have to tap into your future self.
What would she think? What would he want you to do right now? What would they be happy with?
Don’t let yourself down because you can’t go back in time to fix your mistakes or correct your steps. If you want to fix things, you have to do so right now.
What if you’re happy with where you are?
I love writing, and fortunately, it’s how I make a living. (Although, “living” is a bit of a stretch.)
Still, I know I can do better.
I’m writing articles and short stories, but the thing my heart desires most is writing a book.
I want that process. I want the early mornings, the thousands of words written, and thousands more erased. I want the good days and the bad days. I want to get lost in the zone, and I want to struggle.
So, it’s my responsibility to write that book not starting January 2020, not until next year’s NaNoWriMo, not on Monday, but today.
“A year from now you’ll wish you had started today.” — Karen Lamb
Perhaps you’re doing what you love, too. If you like your schedule, the work you’re putting in, and everything seems great, keep doing that. We’re all allowed to have periods when everything can remain the same for a while because things are working.
But if you know it’s time to take things up a notch, you have to do that. Start auditioning. Paint for longer hours. Go for the promotion. Turn your small business into a bakery.
Not disappointing yourself isn’t just about starting but pushing yourself to go one step further.
If I keep up what I’m doing right now for five years, I’m not going to be happy with myself. I want to work harder, and I want to do more. I’ve been following this routine for months now, and I’m ready for more.
Make a choice, then act
You can make all the decisions you want, but you won’t get to where you desire unless you do something about it.
Let the fear of disappointing yourself, of regret, of dying without ever having truly lived, push you to do.
Stop living your life for other people. I don’t care if your parents want you to be a lawyer, or if your partner wants you to stay at your job.
- Talk shit out
- Come up with a solution
- Start taking action
That might mean staying at your job for a little longer or else you’ll end up homeless, but at least future-you is staring down and saying, “And that’s how I got started.”
You want to look at your past and know you gave life your all. You want to know that you failed and got back up, worked hard, didn’t give up and that you lived.
Not for anyone, but for yourself.
So, be afraid of disappointing yourself. Be more frightened of regret than you are of failure or embarrassment.
“Many great ideas have been lost because the people who had them could not stand being laughed at.” — Unknown
Don’t think about the thing you’ll brag about at your next high school reunion, the fans you’ll have lined up, or how proud your parents will be. Make yourself proud because, in the end, that’s the opinion that’s going to matter the most.