I recently added one year to my total years spent on earth. I thought to myself: If I were to give myself some advice like a person in front of me, what would I tell myself?
In football matches where a player misses a couple of chances but in the end, the team wins by a fair margin. Had the player not missed those chances, the result could have been entirely different, as an early goal would have motivated the other team to play better, as well as many other possible outcomes. After a chance is missed, the player becomes even more determined to do better on his next attempt. If he gets anxious or lets previous failures weigh him down, he probably won’t do well the next time. His chances of converting will be higher the more attempts he makes, as long as he strives to do better every time.
Regrets are just regrets
We’ve all made a couple of bad decisions at some point in our lives. Some of the things we have done still punish us to this day, while others are just a vague feeling of regret or “I could have done better.” that pops up from time to time.
One important life lesson I learned from Nietzsche’s work is the flow of life. There could be no other way for you to be how you are now if what has happened in the past had never happened. You are in control. You can change your reality. Sometimes you get an idea, and you feel if you had done it earlier, your life would be better than it currently is. If your life is going down the hole, you are probably right if you wish you had taken some positive steps earlier. But if things are going pretty okay, you might want to be careful what you wish for.
The art of bouncing back
The past, well, is the past. Make peace with your past so you don’t screw up the present. Be not ashamed of mistakes and thus make them crimes. Every human makes mistakes no matter how careful they try to be. The past doesn’t define you; your perception of it changes as you do. What you choose to recall is indicative of your present state of mind. Don’t let yesterday use up too much of today. Everything, whatever comes, the worst thing that could ever happen, is just a feeling at the end of the day.
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” — Winston Churchill
Your problems aren’t because of your circumstances but a result of your decisions. Life is like riding a bicycle; to keep your balance, you must keep moving. Whatever state you find yourself in, try to push harder the next time you get an opportunity.
Remember that you might have days, weeks, or even months when things aren’t just clicking. Keep striving and focus on the long-term goals.
A post from @visualizevalue on Twitter illustrates comparing daily up and downs to long-term growth.
How far have you come
A good gauge to show how well you’ve improved is if you don’t look back at yourself and think, ‘Wow, how stupid I was a year ago,’ then you must not have learned much in the last year.
Appreciate everything. People chase things they suppose might make them happy, or at least moderately less miserable, but they often never do that. Things can’t “make” you happy. Just be happy with how you are.
While regrets dawn upon you, it’s important to realize you could do everything right and still not succeed. One accident or tragedy can completely flip your life upside down and vice versa.
“It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not a weakness; that is life.” —Jean Luc Picard
What lies ahead
The best people don’t try to be someone else, they try to be the best version of themselves. Start working on accomplishing your goals and living a life with purpose. Years of suffering can be caused for not putting in a few hours or even just a few minutes when we should have.
Create systems, not just goals. There is nowhere to “arrive.” The only thing you’re rushing toward is death. Accomplishing goals is not success. How much you expand in the process is.
Whenever you feel intimidated by someone’s progress or how far you have to go, understand that others started from somewhere. Take baby steps. It doesn’t matter how slow you go as long as you get there. Persevere and keep going. A month from now, you can either have a month of progress or a month of excuses for why you didn’t. Every day is a new opportunity to improve for the long term.
Take risks and be open to new experiences. Take chances, and be open to things. Your brain can only perceive what it’s known, so when you choose what you want for the future, you’re actually just recreating a solution or an idea of the past. Understand that you don’t know what will truly make you happy, as your frame of reference is based on your past experiences. Be open to any experience that comes your way, knowing that there is both good and bad in everything. Enjoy the journey, but stay focused on what matters.
One of the most useless questions an adult can ask a child is, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” As if growing up is finite. As if, at some point, you become something, and that’s the end. — Michelle Obama. As I mentioned earlier, there is nowhere to “arrive.” Life keeps evolving.
Understand that it’s easy to stray from the path you desire. When you face an obstacle, do not fret.
“No matter what, expect the unexpected. And whenever possible BE the unexpected.”
“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” —Marcus Aurelius
One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.