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The Saddest Thing In The World

Someone said to me a very long time ago: “Eddie, there is no sadder thing in the world than a missed opportunity. When I look back on my life, the only things I regret are the things I haven’t done, never the things I’ve done”.

What is a missed opportunity?

A missed opportunity is a chance you have not taken because of fear. It’s most often fear that is holding us back from progressing.

Now, you can apply this to anything in your life, from the business you want to build to the cheap car you didn’t buy last weekend. But the missed opportunity I am referring to, is not living the life you want to.

For example, when you met someone who could have a great impact on your life, and you didn’t take the chance because fear was holding you back.

Here is a very interesting quote for you from the movie Indecent Proposal, which illustrates what I mean:

“I remember once when I was young, I was coming back from someplace. A movie or something. I was on the subway.

There was a girl sitting across from me. She was wearing this dress that was buttoned clear up right to here. She was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. I was shy then. So when she would look at me I would look away. Then afterwards, when I would look back she would look away.

Then I got to where I was gonna get off. Got off, the doors closed and as the train was pulling away she looked right at me and gave me the most incredible smile. It was awful. I wanted to tear the doors open.

I went back every night, same time for two weeks. But she never showed up.

That was years ago and I don’t think there’s a day that goes by that I don’t think about her.

I don’t want that to happen again.”
-Robert Redfort in “Indecent Proposal”

Believe it or not, something very similar happened in my life as well.

I met a girl in a bookshop when I was 21, we exchanged some smiles, but I was too afraid to approach her. Today, almost 19 years later, I still remember what she looked like in complete detail – I even know exactly what she was wearing that day. I think about her from time to time.

It is unbelievable, to think about a girl you saw 19 years ago, for only a few minutes, without even talking to her. Isn’t that weird?

In fact it isn’t. I’ve heard the same kind of story from many others as well. Many of us had a similar experience. Is it just a melancholic memory of a discontent past, or true remorse over a missed chance?

What is the point?

The point is that we all have something in our past where we have made the wrong decision out of fear. We wonder how our lives would be today if we had only taken action and made the right choice back then.

Well, we can’t go back and change the past, but we can change our mindset. We can now make the decision to live upon the credo:

“I will take any opportunity that is coming up, and nobody, neither a person nor fear can stop me”.

How about that?

I already hear you complaining: “How do I know that the opportunity is actually leading to a good thing”.

Well, one of life’s secrets is that you don’t know. Not until you try.

Always keep in mind that your very purpose in life is to move forward and make new experiences. Do not betray yourself of the future that is waiting for you. Go past the fear and grab every good opportunity that comes your way. Never forget: the saddest thing in the world is a missed opportunity.

I most certainly will not.

All the best,

Eddie

(Photograph is from istockphoto / Feverpitched)

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7 Responses to The Saddest Thing In The World

  1. Rock November 5, 2007 at 10:33 am #

    That was absolutely a riveting post Eddie. As you said, you can take by default that everyone had such experiences of that sort, and I am no exception.

    Haven’t gone through your other posts. Would definitely read them soon.

  2. Marie November 7, 2007 at 12:30 am #

    In my experience, people who take a fear-based approach to life do so because of traumatizing past experiences. How can one move beyond that attitude with tools other than a mantra?

  3. Eddie Corbano November 7, 2007 at 11:48 am #

    Rock,

    thank you for your kind words.

    Marie,

    I agree, although I think that the reasons for fear are more complex (yes, bad experiences especially from early childhood are the most frequent causes for this).

  4. Raindreamer February 14, 2008 at 1:08 pm #

    It is not just bad experience once in a childhood, but when bad experience keep repeating along the way of life it is hard to trust. It is like one is socialised to excpect bad things to happend. But you are right: the saddest thing is the missed opportunity.

  5. Luisa January 14, 2009 at 7:08 pm #

    I agree! I read in a book before (I think it was “The Aladdin Factor”) about the meaning of Fear :

    F – Fantasized
    E – Experiences
    A – Appearing
    R – Real

    We don’t lose anything by trying.
    We should never allow ourselves to have the mindset that our past experiences have a bearing on the present. For me, it’s a little ‘delete button’ on the bad memories – it’s past!

  6. Liz May 31, 2010 at 11:59 pm #

    want to share my missed opportunity just to get it off my chest to someone, even if it is a bunch of strangers. I had been in a relationship for over 3 years and a few months back when I was still in this relationship, I met someone while at work that I've yet to get off my mind 3 months later. This guy had come in that was tall and very cute, and seemed very familiar. I liked something about him right off. We never talked except for the polite hellos, and how are you's, and then one night he came through my line and I decided to be cute and say, “wow you're here again, weren't you here last night?” And he said, “yeah I actually didn't need anything but I wanted to ask you for your number.” I was so flustered and happy that he took the initiative to ask, that the first thing I said was, “REALLY??” in the highest voice I have ever made in my life accompanied by the biggest smile. I was still in a relationship and so it took everything in me to tell him that I really wanted to give it to him, but I wasn't in the position to really do that. He was so incredibly nice about it and it's stuck with me everyday since. It was the most perfect meeting with a complete stranger that I have ever had in my life. He's never come back in again since that night but I've always secretly hoped he would. Me and the boyfriend that had prevented me from giving my number out broke up after three years a few weeks back and I'll never quite get over the irony that I turned down someone that I was so attracted to for no reason at all, to stay with someone that ended up not sticking around after all. Funny world we live in, but this reminder always brings a smile to my face.

  7. Marlon September 19, 2012 at 7:33 pm #

    Funny thing. After my recent break up, I took a trip. I met this beautiful french girl and we spent the entire afternoon together walking around in San Jose, Costa Rica. She was also traveling alone. At the end of the day, I was too tired and she came over to my room(Hostel in San Jose) and asked me if I was going out. I assumed that she was really asking if I wanted to go out with her. I was so tired I couldn’t get up. She came again and asked me again. And again, I was too tired so I felt asleep. I was leaving CR the next morning around 5 a.m. She came over to my room to say good bye. And for some strange reason, I couldn’t get myself to ask her for her contact information. I never did. Something so simple. She was living in Paris and loved to travel just like I do. I have met many people in my travels and several have become good friends over the years so I have contacts everywhere I go. But for some reason, I just couldn’t do anything with this girl.

    3 weeks later, I regret not asking her for an email address to keep in touch. I don’t know why…..

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