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:
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,
(Photograph is from istockphoto / Feverpitched)