Thursday, June 23, 2011

Which is worse to wonder? (an excerpt from my upcoming book)

When looking back on decisions we have made, there are two types that we can possibly wish we had handled differently. Taking a chance, or not taking it. But which leaves us with a bigger sense of regret?
Its easy to say that we shouldnt regret any decision we have made if we learn from it. Or to say that you wouldnt change anything from your past because every decision you made brought you where you are today. And that changing even a fraction of the past could have you in a worse place today. That stupid butterfly thing. But since none of us can actually change the past anyway (except Marty McFly of course) it does us no harm to examine this question.
Think back on times in your life where you have held back from going after something. Maybe a job you wanted, maybe a trip you wanted to take, maybe a person you were interested in. There was something inside you that really wanted this, and wanted to go after it. But because you werent sure what the outcome would be, or potentially faced failure or rejection, you opted to let the moment pass. How do you feel now looking back? Do you feel it was the best choice? Or do you wish you had taken that chance? Even if you had known it wouldnt work out, but at least to say that you went after it, do you wish you had? I know for a fact there have been times in my past that I have looked back on and said "why didnt I just go for it? What was I so scared of?" I know it seems odd, based on my philosophies of life, that I could be scared or timid about anything. But hey, I am human, I have a desire to protect myself same as anyone. But I also believe that fear isnt a seatbelt that saves us, it's more of a straightjacket. Now true, straightjackets are usually for crazy or out of control people. So maybe that analogy sucks. Lets try another one. Maybe its like the difference between dieting and starving yourself. Starving yourself is letting fear take over and keep you from something you want. Dieting would be thinking rationally and knowing that its all about moderation. The question to ask yourself when you feel the fear to take a chance is...WHAT is it I am afraid of? (and that we address in the next chapter)
So you didnt take the chance. You held back and "starved" yourself of an opportunity for something. Possibly something amazing. But also possibly something that wouldnt have worked out. Which is a worse outcome to you? 
Well, lets take the other road. Think back to a time you took a chance, or leapt without looking, or dove into something headfirst. And that something didnt work out. Again, maybe you quit your old job to try a new one, or you went on a wild excursion, or you put your heart on the line for someone you wanted. But the new job was a bust, or the trip made you sick, or the person didnt feel the same. Now what? Do you look back and say "I shouldnt have done that" or "I wish I could go back and erase that"? Maybe you do. But think hard about what that would mean. Undoing that decision isnt really about avoiding the outcome. It says alot more about you as a person. It says to me that you only feel things are worth trying if you can dictate the outcome. Am I wrong? Now granted, getting sick on a trip is no fun, but is that really all you got out of the trip? Did you not see a new part of the world? And perhaps the new job sucked, but would you have quit the old one if you were happy there? And yes, it absolutely sucks when you like/love someone and you put all your cards on the table only to have them say "go fish". But, wouldnt it have been worse to never try and always wonder.
As with anything, these are simply my opinions and views on life. But for as many times as I have looked back on a step I took, and yes thought for a moment (or 100) that I wish I hadnt done that, I wouldnt take it back. Because while doing it differently may have ended differently, and yes perhaps maybe even better, at what cost did that come? Being someone I am not. Because the move I made was based on me, my heart, my mind, my instincts. Doing it any other way would just seem calculated and phony. You have to be true to yourself. Because those things in your life you are bringing close to you, especially in the category of love, need to know the real you. Good, bad, crazy, indifferent. Because you can only pretend to be someone else for so long. And you owe it to yourself to realize that you are exactly what someone else wants...just as you already are. 
Hell, you could make me the most decadent and gourmet chocolate cake, but guess what...I dont like chocolate. Now that doesnt mean you should change your recipe. Because there are tons of people out there who will love it just as it is.

(To be continued in "If Life is a Box of Chocolates, Making Out is a Piece of Cake" by Gina Geppi)


  1. Inherently as human beings we are flawed, yet we are conditioned in society to make our decisions based upon the end result. I feel that this type of decision making is based more upon uncertainty than the true outcome, & this is done ultimately to protect our fragile egos.

  2. cant wait to read the finished book. I love the title already!

    This post reminds me of one of my favorite quotes, that pretty much sums up my feelings on the topic:

    "I'd rather regret the things I've done than regret the things I haven't done."
    Lucille Ball