This curated column is authored by Thomas Oppong, Founding Editor at Alltopstartups
Life is short. Youth is finite. You have every opportunity to make the most of the life you have right now. Your choices today will determine the number of regrets you will have in the next ten years.
The most common regrets you have probably read about are: missed opportunities, not spending time more prudently, accomplishing more, not doing meaningful work, procrastinating, not forming better habits, not mastering another language or skill, getting into bad relationships, or making mistakes in a past relationship.
Regrets suck. But today, right now, you can do something about your choices to limit your regrets in future.
If you had a month to live: how would you spend it?
You could spend quality time with the people you love most, really paying attention to every word they said. You could go out and have some amazing experiences, explore the world. Or you could spend it learning as much as you can, in books and by studying life itself.
You could create something. Make a dent. You could leave a legacy by creating art, making people’s lives better, or solving a global problem in your own small way.
Any of those choices, or a combination of them, would be a worthy way to spend that month.
Each moment is limited, fleeting, precious. With the same mindset about time, live your life to the fullest, right now! It’s a choice you alone can make to avoid these regrets in the future.
Waiting for a perfect time
“Don’t wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect.
There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions.
So what. Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident and more and more successful.” — Mark Victor Hansen
There is never a perfect time for you to take action. There is never a perfect time for you to launch that project, to spend time with your family, to write a book, change your habit, or embrace a new habit. Once you acknowledge this, you will get a lot more meaningful work done everyday.
I’m too tired. I don’t have the time. I am not capable. Someone else will do it. It’s too late now. Now is not the right time. I am not talented. I am not ready. I’m too scared. Nobody will help me. What if I fail. I don’t feel motivated. I’d rather do nothing. I don’t have the money..yet!
It’s easy to come up with excuses and justify not getting started. The longer you fill your head with rationalizations and empty excuses, the less time you have to take action.
It’s easy to say, “I will start when I have more experience, money, time and resources”. By this time next year, you will have a lot more excuses. It’s a cycle. And once you get caught in the loop, it, can be difficult to break free and do something meaningful you care about.
The self-criticism and self-doubt will always be present, and the only solution is to just act in spite of them.
Your first ebook, article, song, podcast, freelancer work or creative work never will not be satisfying and perfect, and it’s okay. But it pays to start anyway. In ten years, you will be glad you tried.
There will always be a reason why it can’t be done. People constantly explain away why they couldn’t, shouldn’t, didn’t, or simply wouldn’t do something. When you make excuses, you are simply saying, “I’m not in control.” But guess what — you are the only person who is fully in control of your actions and decisions in the world. Making excuses robs you of your personal power.
People make excuses because of the fear of the unknown. Others are just afraid of change, rejection and embarrassment. Fear locks you in your comfort zone. And nothing magical or remarkable happens in your safe zone. You can stop making excuses if you learn how to eliminate all traces of fear from your life.
The next time you experience a setback, don’t make an excuse. See it as a challenge, learn from it and move on. Excuses are distractions, and they reduce your confidence and self-belief. You don’t want that — especially when you still have a lot to show the world.
Waiting to Be Picked
“What pick yourself means is that it’s never been easier to decide to be responsible for your own work, for your own agenda, for the change you make in the world. To have a chance to matter. Not to be finished right now, but starting now. Pick yourself means we should stop waiting and whining and stalling. The outcome is still in doubt, but it’s clear that waiting just doesn’t pay.” — Seth Godin
Today, there are more ways than ever to pick yourself and show your work. Far easier to have someone notice your creative work. And if you’re driven and focused, you may discover that the market loves what you do. That people come back for more of what you have to share or say.
That’s how you build public reputation. A good or even great one. You can become the best in the world at something that people value. You may not be able to monetise from it immediately, but showing up everyday makes the biggest difference.
You have everything you need to make an impact in the world. You don’t even have to start your own business. What you need is something you can you can emotionally and deeply connect with. Don’t think too far into the future. Use what you have right now at where you are and witness themagic of creative work. If you’re thinking about it too much, chances are you’re killing it.
Whatever you choose to do, there are resources out there that can help you achieve your goals in simple steps. It doesn’t have to be anything hard. You can start small and scale or you can even choose to be small but consistent.
Choose to be your authentic self, let go of who you think you should be in the future and be yourself now.
You are the only one who can push yourself a little further to start, create, share or publish.
Stop waiting to be picked! Choose yourself!
Living someone else’s dream
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. — Steve Jobs
The greatest challenge in life is discovering who you are; the second greatest is being happy with what you find and making the most of it. The decision to stay true to your own goals and dreams is a life-changer.
Make time to pursue your passion project, no matter how busy you are. If you have always wanted to be a writer, and get a book published. Self-publish. Because you can. Amazon makes insanely easy to upload a manuscript, design a cover and hit publish. It’s that easy. You don’t have to wait to be chosen. You can choose yourself. You don’t need permission to get your ideas to the right audience.
“I don’t have time to write” is not an excuse. The time before you go to bed is golden, as it exists every single day, and it’s usually completely yours to schedule. What do you want to do with this time? You can pursue your life’s work.
With a full-time job, and maybe a family, there won’t be a perfect time, ever. You have to practically make those hours. Set aside a block of time to do what you love, cut out other stuff from your life that take up your time, and don’t let anything interfere with that passion project.
Imagine what you can achieve in ten years, if you consistently do something about your dream. You don’t even have to spend hours on it. It can be minutes every day. Small actions compounds.
Have the courage to follow your calling!
Failing to try
“Try and fail, but don’t fail to try.” ― John Quincy Adams
The biggest reason people fail at creating habits, changing their lifes, pursuing their goals or simply taking action is that they can’t find the motivation to start.
The problem is, you are comfortable with what you’re doing (current routine), and the new habit you actually need to be better is less comfortable (it’s too hard). You are clinging to the comfortable. It’s so easy to be enticed by a stable salary, a solid routine and a comfortable life, but at what expense?
“You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” Wayne Gretzky could not have said that any better. You can only make progress if you take a step. Overcoming the fear of failing is the first step towards success. Start confronting your fears today. And take even the most basic step towards what you have to do.
Remember the dream you were too scared to chase? It’s still not too late to give it a try. Never miss an opportunity to try.
Tony Robbins once said “No matter how many mistakes you make, or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying.” Slow progress is better than no action at all. You can only change if you make an attempt to actually do something. Whatever you do, don’t fail to try.
To make it easier to get started to achieve anything, focus on the smallest thing — just getting started. You don’t have to invest an hour— just start. Commit ten minutes and improve with time. That’s so easy it’s hard to say no.
If you take steps to make even the smallest progress, you will position yourself for lasting success without regret.
Giving up too soon!
Don’t quit. Never give up trying to build the world you can see, even if others can’t see it. Listen to your drum and your drum only. It’s the one that makes the sweetest sound. — Simon Sinek
If you have ever failed in the past but never gave up, you are stronger than you think. If you have failed recently and are considering giving up, don’t. The obstacle is definitely the way. There will always be a way out. You just haven’t found it yet. Keep on trying.
Find out why and how you got stuck, and dig yourself out of the temporary setback. Unfortunately, most people refuse to do something about their failures. In the end, they give up on their dreams and stop working on projects that matter to them and continue to wallow in discontent.
Everyone fears to fail, experiencing it is inevitable, but it’s your response to it that makes all the difference. Don’t get stuck. You are not your failure. These are a few of the many habits that could guarantee your failure — and what you can do about them.
How persistent are you about pursuing your dreams and goals in life? One of the most important secrets of success is learning to conquer your doubts. Most of us give up on our curiosity too soon. Every successful person you know today has a perseverance story to share.
There is probably no better example of persistence than the story of Abraham Lincoln.
He failed in business at 21, lost a legislative race at age 22, failed in business again at 24 and lost a congressional race when he was 34. At 45 he lost a senatorial race. And he failed in an attempt to become Vice President when he was 47.
But he was finally elected President of the United States at age 52. Lincoln never quit. He could have given up after several attempts but pursued his ambition to assume the highest office in America. There is no substitute for persistence. As long as you are still actively trying after every failure, you have not failed yet.
“Anyone can give up, it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that’s true strength.” — Oliver Wilkins
The question is, are you going to change anything today, or tomorrow to live a more fulfilling and meaningful life?
One more thing:
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Disclosure: This is a curated column. The statements, opinions and data contained in these publications are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of iamwire or its editor(s). The article was originally published by the author here.