Recently I was talking to a friend of mine and he asked me a question that got my gears turning.
“Is there advice that you would have like to have had 5 or 10 years ago?”
I have thought about this question for weeks. There have been times in my life that I wonder what would have happened if…. If I would have stayed in college in the Florida Keys and studied marine biology as I had planned. Or if I would have gone to culinary school and followed my passion of cooking? These are just a few of the opportunities that I chose to pass up on as a young man.
After all the thinking I’ve done about the question my friend asked, the advice I would have liked to have been told is…
Be willing to try new things and get out of your own way!
As I get farther down the road of life, I kick myself for being so afraid to try new things. Everything from the little things like foods and games, all the way to bigger things like taking classes, cooking new recipes, or writing.
Most people, including myself are afraid of trying something new. It may be because you have to step out of your comfort zone. We are terrified of the unknown… We are afraid of failure, criticism and success.
Everyone is afraid of failure. We tend to feel that when we fail, we have wasted our time and whatever resources we have invested. The truth of the matter is that we have succeeded in effort, daring enough to try. One of my favorite quotes is from Thomas Edison. He said “I have never failed; I have only found a 1,000 ways not to do something. We need to look failure in the face and laugh, and use that time as a learning experience.
We as a culture are afraid of being criticized. When other people are not confident in themselves, they will look to bring you down too. Whether it be people making fun of you because you are trying to better yourself or those around you. If you are overweight and have decided to run to lose weight, they may laugh at you. You may be cutting back on going out to dinner and begin saving money to start a business, people will tell you that you are no fun anymore. In either scenario, you are making decisions for your life, to better your life. Brush it off and keep doing what you are doing.
It sounds crazy, but people are afraid of succeeding when they try something new. In most cases, success comes with more responsibility and more change. The overweight person, I mentioned earlier, may begin to lose weight. Then they will change their diet, have to buy new clothes, or go to the gym. These are all mental and financial changes. Then there’s the guy starting a business. He will have to work really hard to build the business, his work hours will become longer, and then there is the financial burden. Although change starts small. it can and most likely will lead to more changes.
To be honest, advice given or not I wouldn’t change a thing about my life. I’m grateful in a way for those missed opportunities because they have brought me to where I am now. Life is difficult sometimes but it’s the choices we make that make us who we are and take us where we are. From here on out I will make a conscious effort to try new opportunities. I am no longer afraid of failure (because I know that even when I fail I learn something). I’m not afraid of criticism because honestly I don’t care what people think (and you know that if you know me at all). I definitely don’t fear success, and now know that success is what I make it. My next BIG opportunity is going to be when I go to Africa in a couple of months. I can’t wait to see where that opportunity takes me.