I am a strong believer in the idea that when we are old and grey, it will be much easier to look back on the times that we tried and failed than to look back and regret the chances we didn’t take.
When I was in university, I was chosen to take part in a summer scholarship program where I was given a sizeable amount of funds to start my own business! Of course, I was ecstatic and I worked really hard the entire summer. At the beginning of the summer, I genuinely believed that my business was going to be a huge hit and I would continue to run it while I attended university for the next three years. Things didn’t go exactly as planned and although I did well, my business didn’t become an overnight success. I terminated my business once the summer was over and that was that! When I look back on this experience, I have no regrets. I learnt so many lessons about running my own business that I have been able to benefit from over the following years. Some of what I learnt even came in handy when I launched my new shop this past weekend.
I also received another opportunity while I was in university- a scholarship to study abroad in the United States for a semester. I applied for the scholarship but once I was chosen as the candidate, I was terrified. I didn’t want to leave my home, my mum, and everything familiar to me behind to live somewhere foreign. Instead of focusing on everything amazing that I could potentially reap from taking this opportunity, I started to imagine everything that could go wrong if I moved abroad. I decided I would kindly decline the offer and to this day, I always think back and wish that I had taken it. I think to live on your own is an amazing learning experience and one we should all do at some point in our lives.
So even though my business didn’t become an overnight success, I would never consider it a failure because I learnt new things and gained a new experience. On the other hand, I didn’t take the opportunity to study abroad and by not even taking the opportunity, I failed by default.
Whenever we pursue something like a new career, a lifestyle change, a goal, or a dream, we are allowing ourselves to potentially fail which is terrifying. Next time you are scared, try to think forward. Let’s say as an example, you have been given a new career opportunity at a new firm with new people and you are scared to leave behind a job and colleagues that you’re so comfortable and familiar with. If you want to turn down the job offer because you are scared, ask yourself, in fifty years, would you rather look back and regret your decision to not seize the opportunity and ponder about what could have happened if you did take it? Or would you rather say, I took an opportunity that didn’t work out but it was another learning experience in my life (or maybe, the new job might end up being the best decision you made!)
“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case, you fail by default.” – J.K. Rowling
“Supposing you have tried and failed again and again. You may have a fresh start at any moment you choose, for this thing that we call failure is not the falling down, but the staying down.” – Mary Pickford