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Day 4 - Post-Recollection

To me, 12 years old:

Don’t hesitate. Push through your fears and accomplish all the things you were given. Have faith in yourself and remember to always focus on having fun. Don’t let the bad stuff make you forget about the good stuff. Spend all the time you can doing the most challenging things you can in life! Remember that you have an immense amount of love to give out to the world, so be sure to let other people see just how happy we can all be together. All those things that sound cool? Do them!

Backstory: I had a lot of opportunities growing up to do a number of different things, but every time they came up, I hesitated and the only one to lose out was myself. I’m incredibly happy with the life I live now, but I would certainly have pursued a lot of different things had I not hesitated when opportunities arose. It is this weakness where I have failed myself, even though through failure I have ultimately found success.

Of course, hindsight is 20/20. And with hindsight being 20/20 comes the reality that if you don’t hesitate, you may burn out that much quicker. So, mindfulness and balance become key. Nobody can truly know which leap of faith is the good leap of faith, and which leap of faith is maybe not the wisest leap of faith. I still wonder about the alternate realities of my life and where I’m at, but nobody can guess where those would have ended up in the long term. Had I started a business at 12 when my friends and I were burning to do so, who knows? Had I started a business at 14-16 with other friends when they were desiring to do so, who knows? Would I have been able to? Just as the future is hard to guess, so is the past.

So the point is, your own natural inclination to hesitate is both right and wrong. Mine seems to have been right every time I’ve hesitated but I still wish I hadn’t all the same.

52 Comments
Level 8

Very thought-provoking, thanks

Level 9

Ah, the great conundrum of life. "To be or not to be?" To do or not to do? Sometimes all you can do is jump and hope for the best.

Level 15

reminds me of the concept of Analysis paralysis - Wikipedia

One of the long-lasting lessons I've taken from a leadership course I attended in the Marines:

At any given time you have up to 360 choices of direction for lateral movement. Pick one. People who sit in the same spot are the easiest to hit.

(paraphrased to clean up for public consumption)

The point being, when faced with any challenge, you have to make a decision, and preferably quickly, because ANY decision is action, and action begets action. Waiting for the perfect situation usually results in a lot of waiting, in my experience anyways.

"How could things have been different" is such a powerful question, but you have to ignore it. In many cases, trying to correct past mistakes can cause even more mistakes. Take the present at face value and keep trucking!

Level 13

Thanks for the post - definitely made me think.  I think we all have those opportunities we wish we'd taken and didn't, but can also recall times where you are *SO* glad you didn't jump on some of them as well.  As I've gotten older I've realized we tend to idealize the "good" missed opportunities as if they would have worked out perfectly and we'd have ended up either with or in some idyllic place.  Given every choice leads to some other choice, just because you took the first right turn doesn't mean you've have made the next turn or choice correctly.  For me I'm starting to think some of the best things that happened are the ones I've missed and regretted, which has led me to make choices later that have turned out better.

No one can go back and make a new beginning, but anyone can begin now to make a new ending.

MVP
MVP

Age 12 was very formative to me. So much happened at that age that really made me who I am today. So often I remember back to that time and see how it affects me even today. If I could tell a younger self anything, that would likely be the time that I would return to.

Level 10

Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are 'It might have been'.

Level 10

Great post.   Life is all about choices and learning from them.   There have been many times saying "I wish I would have done that." or "Why did I not think of that" after reminiscing about it.  My high school and college years bring back those things, but it has made me stronger by the decisions I made at that time.

Great article! My takeaway from it is that we all should simply TRUST OUR GUT!. Whilst hesitation is a natural human instinct to the unknown, we all have that little nudge in the back of our head, if it's a good thing, and the pang of fear when it might not be. Trust in those instincts, Thwacksters!

Community Manager
Community Manager

Now I want to know the "not safe for public consumption" version to add to my repertoire.

Taking a leap of faith, you can end up with a scrapped knee or two. I have done that a lot in life. It is nice to know that you, designerfx, are happy at this point in your life. Coming from that place it gives the opportunity to reflect on decisions and say "what if I had...?" That is very different from always walking around asking "If only I had...?" The latter implies to me that we look back with deep regret.

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Sometimes your younger self didn't really get to make those choices by yourself, they were made by the adults around you too. The family couldn't afford to send you to that expensive camp or private school. You probably should get down off the roof because you are NOT SUPERMAN!

In today's crowded world it is difficult to appreciate what it was like even at the turn of the century when there were 77.7% fewer people on the planet, even when I was born it was roughly 50% of what it is today. Meaning the choices we made and opportunities we had were influenced by interactions with others and there were simply less people around when we look back. So your personal choices, your independence, meant something very different then. That isn't to say they were made in total isolation. I can not help but think of all those we see in the news being impacted by tragic events, thru choices of someone else.

I am grateful that thus far in my life I have been lucky enough to be safe, well fed, healthy, and in a temperature controlled environment. This has allowed me to make 1st world choices or choices high up in Maslow's hierarchy. For example, what kind of sandwich will I make for lunch today, each choice leads me down a path to a different sandwich, but in the end I still up getting fed. Which is a thing to be very grateful for.

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Great example. Just make the damn sandwich and move on!

MVP
MVP

I think that age is such a defining moment in our lives. Moving to high school, opportunities presented are of greater significance, going through puberty and how that changes you and everyone around you.

It would be interesting to see how many people would go back to themselves around this age compared to others..

MVP
MVP

A survey I remember seeing showed that a high percentage (over 50% if I recall) ate the exact same lunch EVERY day. This made me think of the options I choose when I have a sandwich and it came down to a core 4 (Egg Mayonnaise, Chicken Salad, Cheese and Onion (only when not in company) and sausage and egg (breakfast)). I have always known I am a creature of habit though!

When they say "He who hesitates is lost", I think they're talking exactly about your ideas.

In junior high I wanted to dance with the girls, but was too shy, and had no dancing experience or instruction.  That carried through somewhat into high school, and I resolved never to feel that kind of incompetence due to lack of knowledge again.

In one realm it resulted in my attending college ballroom dance classes, and that was a delight when I returned home and attended wedding receptions with live bands.  I danced with confidence, and the girls I'd been too shy to dance with as a young teen were full of smiles and a desire to dance with me again and again.   What a confidence booster they were to my shaky ego!

The experience was positive, and it extends into my professional life even today--discover what you need to know, learn it, and apply it competently.  The result is positive every time.

Level 10

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Level 12

I look at my hesitations as missed opportunities. Some still bother me more today than others.

I like your train of thought, designerfx and I'm right with you in that I tend to hesitate even though I know the answer I should give or the action I should take.  And I also agree with tomiannelli​ in that the whoile "look-before-you-leap" mentality can get you pretty banged up, physically, spiritually and emotionally.

To me, it's all about balance.  I love telling people when they ask me about how I like my job that "I have the company exactly where I want them."  Meaning that I enjoy what I do and, in addition, I have some freedom to do things that I love doing.  I also tell people that my job is my job, it is not my life.  I'm 51 now and have a comfortable life but are there things I wish I would've done when I was younger?  Sure, but I have no regrets.  I know that I'm never too old to try new things.

There are those who believe that if one is not "[...] going Mach-2 with your hair on fire [...]" that one is not "living".  Well, to those people I say "good on ya".  If that's what makes you happy then go for it.  I personally enjoy cuddling with my sweetheart, on the couch in front of the fireplace, far more than climbing Everest or base jumping.  To each their own and that's what makes this world so great is the diversity of people and the variety of experiences available.

Carpe diem (seize the day!), certainly, but ecce ante te, salire (look before you leap!)!

Level 13

I remember that episode of Calvin and Hobbes -- so astute!

Level 13

designerfx​, I've had similar sentiments in my life. I phrased mine along the lines of everything is a trade. You have the present moment in life to live. If you spend it playing video games, you can't spend it hiking with your family; if you spend it making a report that will save your boss' arse, you can't spend it shopping online. Sure, there are many moments of Now that will come you way, and each one is a trade of what you could do. Don't waste a moment of you life with the sentiment, "I'm bored, I wish there was something to do." Believe me, there is more to do in life than you have time for.

Level 14

HIndsight  being 20/20, I would have challenged myself more academically.  That being said though, I would have persued my degree earlier in life.  That means I would have missed out on fathering 3 of the most wonderful young women I know.  Now that I think on it a bit, matbe I wouldn't change anything.

Level 14

"mindfulness and balance become key".....this is sound advice for almost anything worthwhile in life. 

Level 9

Good commentary, especially useful for those starting and continuing their journey

Level 14

Bernard Malamud:

“We have two lives... the life we learn with and the life we live after that."

and Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

MVP
MVP

Burning candle at both ends at the minute a break would be good!

Level 8

Agreed - Life is built around experiences, good or bad, it's those experiences that have helped you to become who you are today.

This reminds me of Kung Fu Pands :

Image result for kungfu panda turtle no good or bad

Level 11

I have this poem on my fridge door and read it every day. Everyone talks about the what if or I wish I knew this then. That is what life is, learn as you go. Make the mistakes take the risks and move on.

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Apply to Harvard, you never know, you might get in....  I had an opportunity to apply for a scholarship.   A big school in my home state was giving away 2 scholarships in our school.  The qualifications were, a parent who served in the military in a foreign country who was deceased.  Number of scholarships awarded 1, why?   I didn't apply.   I didn't take the opportunity to try.   Sadly i ended up with $26,000 in student loan debt after college.   The scholarship, 4 years, full tuition, books, and boarding.   Yeah, that was a dumb one.   This might be one of the bigger mistakes, at 12 years old, I was just trying to get by in life.   So not realizing the impact the death of a parent could have on ones life, i only ever saw it as a bad thing.   I never thought i could have been blessed because of it.   So not trying, is way worse than trying and failing.   Now I try and fail as much as I can.   Well let me state that differently, I try as often as i can and when I fail I do not let it keep me from the potential of success.

Level 9

I agree, hesitation is natural and something I am very good at.  I think it has helped more than harmed.  It gives me the chance to think before I leap. 

Level 13

O to be 12 again.  Nice post.

Would this help, dodo123​:

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and if you don't prefer puppies:

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and if you prefer something else, you're on your own...;-)

I did take a literal leap of faith during a summer camp; the kind where you have to jump to hold onto something, with nothing below you. Meanwhile, I love my life I regret nothing! I just figured a different path may have been just as interesting.

We built so many ramps, and jumped our bicycles what seemed like hundreds of feet. NO HELMETS, NO PADDING, just bikes and a gravel utility road. We all wanted to be Evel Knievel! Come to think of it perhpas that is how I lost all my hair, one to many failed landings!

Level 11

It's always interesting to look back at key decisions in your life and trace out what your life could look like now had you made the opposite decision!

I too had other opportunities to pursue at a younger age but what I lacked for these was a specific type of support. My parents weren't good in this area. They just didn't know how to be. So talent and passion, without the ability to self-motivate, withered away and eventually died.

I look now and see what services and offerings kids have in sports, STEM, and others, and my mind is blown. I had none of this when I was a kid and I am so envious. I know that I would have gobbled some of this up if I was a kid these days as these services/offerings would have filled many voids.

I can guarantee when you climb a telephone pole and jump 6 feet out to a trapeze in the air with...nothing else there, you kinda tend to forget that you have any sort of safety equipment. It was just as hard to let go to go down afterwards

Level 11

Hesitation can be a signal that you forgot to consider something; that nagging feeling that you just know something needs to be mulled over. You think you have arrived at a decision only to pause, searching for that little voice saying, "Yo, you oughta think about this!" After hearing the voice, you slap yourself upside your head and ask yourself what took you so long to remember something so obvious.

Hesitation can also be overthinking leading to freezing up and not being able to make a decision. We have all seen this on TV, 'We know he knows, but what if he knows that we know? But wait, what if we know that he knows that we know?' and so on. This is also the person who goes to a restaurant and just cannot decide what to order.

Yes, hesitation can be good or bad.

MVP
MVP

Plenty of moments I can look back on in hindsight and wish to change. They're the decisions we make so we have to live with them!

Level 11

Don't let your past dictate your future.

Level 10

To 12-year-old me: Don't necessarily just try harder - stop and think why you're doing what you're doing, because over the next 10 years you'll be wasting tens of thousands of pounds, the best years of your life, and your career won't really start until you give up and quit out of desperation.

Also, you're never going to get that final gem in the flight mission on Spyro. Let it go. You'll be hanging onto it for life.

Level 12

Nice Post. When you don't open door, you might be missing. But, you need not to feel bad for the missed one. You can think in a positive manner and move further like whatever will happen,for good to me. Should not waste time for the past things, which you can go back and grab it. Always look forward, but don't be lazy .

Level 13

Nice - got one of my favorite quotes and my all time favorite poem both in one post.

Don't miss a chance you won't get back, but mostly a pause before moving forward is a good thing.

Level 12

Don't take it for granted. Life is to short as it is

Level 14

I really wouldn't want to be 12 again.  I grew up in N. Ireland during the troubles.  Also I had no money and acne.  I'm pretty happy with my life and don't worry about what could have happened as there's no way I can see what the alternative results of my choices would have led to.  I've done loads of very cool stuff and am always surprised at how little others have done.   

Level 9

As a teenager growing up most of my opportunities were blocked or approved by my parents.  I don't have any ill feeling for them doing so before I was of age but life would have been much different if I went into ROTC or the number of other things I wanted to do out of high school.

Level 10

Cautionary optimism could be the way to go sometime.

Level 8

Great post!,  I’ve some moments of hesitation, which led me in interesting paths. Ultimately, I’ve always felt capable of great things. Now, I am happy doing what I love to do, always searching for the next great adventure.

Level 20

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Level 20

That also made me think about a version not suitable for on here... basically get on with it or get off the pot.

About the Author
Thwack MVP! Points whore, crypto trader, tech enthusiast. NPM 11.5.2, SAM 6.2.1, NTA 4.1, WPM 2.2, IPAM 4.3, VNQM 4.2.3, NCM 7.4.1, QOE, ----------------new job below----------- NPM 12.1,VNQM 4.4.0, NCM 7.6, IPAM 4.5.1, NTA 4.2.2