“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
I’ve always loved the above quote. Even before I was old enough to fully understand it, I could see the underlying mentality in some of my older friends and family members. Sometimes it seemed I was surrounded by people who started every sentence with, “If only I’d done this…if only I’d done that…”
A life of regrets.
A life of “if only’s.”
It didn’t take me long to decide that I never wanted to be one of those persons. When I’m old and gray, I want my reminiscing to sound something like, “Yeah, I did that! No, it didn’t work out perfectly. Sure, I took some risks and made some mistakes. It certainly wasn’t all smooth sailing…but at least I gave it a try.”
Somehow, the thought of failure has always scared me a lot less than never trying in the first place. I truly believe that we are our own biggest obstacles to what we accomplish.
After all, it’s so much easier to tell ourselves that we’re not smart enough, brave enough, or capable enough than it is to silence those self-deprecating voices, suck it up, and just go for it. It’s also easy to listen to everyone who tries to shoot down your dreams because (sorry for the brutal honesty here) they’re probably just jealous that they don’t have the guts to try it themselves.
That might sound harsh, but after years of being asked “Why do you travel?” and, even more frequently, “How are you able to do it?”, this is the answer I’ve come up with:
I am not better, smarter, or more talented than anyone else. I haven’t unlocked some “secret” to life that’s enabled me to travel the world.
The only thing I have unlocked is myself.
I’ve never placed limitations on myself, where I can go, or what I can do. I’ve never listened to people who try to tell to me why I shouldn’t do things. Instead, I surround myself with people who tell me why I should.
Rather than asking “Why?”, my usual response to an opportunity that comes my way is: “Why not?”
So if you’re brave enough to venture outside of your comfort zone – to silence the doubters and rise to the challenge – GO FOR IT. Even if you’re not feeling brave enough to hop on a plane and travel to your dream destination, give it a try anyway. Take that leap of faith!
Because, even if it doesn’t work out perfectly, you’ll regret it far less than if you’d never tried at all.