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The only thing you should fear is regret

by Celine on May 7th, 2008


Among friends, I’m known for taking chances. In work, love, and every aspect of my life. The more people tell me something is impossible, unreachable, or impractical, the more I find a way to do it - no matter how scary it is.

Because the one thing that is scarier than following your dreams is the regret you’ll face when you wake up one day and realize that you didn’t reach any of them.

When I started writing for a living, many people thought I couldn’t make it. I had some really low months where I wasn’t earning enough and people suggested that I just leave my writing dreams behind and just get a job at a call center (which is a popular career choice here in the Philippines). I refused because I loved writing and didn’t want to spend my time on the phone, getting yelled at by angry customers.

People called me impractical. I stuck with it. I took a chance, even if the future didn’t seem so bright. Because of the chance I took, I now earn more than the average call center agent.

I also read “The 4-Hour Workweek” and told my friends “Hey, I want to have a shorter workweek too. I love writing, but I also want to do other things with my time.” They laughed and said it was a gimmick. That it was impossible to have both free time and a good income.

It may have been a gimmick, I don’t know. But I experimented with my schedule and now work only 9 hours a week. I don’t want to cut back anymore because I absolutely love and cherish those 9 hours.

Have you ever taken a chance with your work? It doesn’t matter whether it’s sending in a telecommuting proposal, managing a big project for the first time, or simply accomplishing the best that was possible - all these chances are valid.

The next time you’re faced with a decision of taking your chances, instead of asking yourself “Can I afford to?”, ask yourself “Can I afford not to?” Write down what it would cost you, personally and financially, if you don’t take that chance. Keep that list nearby at all times (even if it’s just mentally) and look at it whenever you’re feeling doubt.

When something seems impossible, instead of giving up, ask yourself how you can make it possible. In the Philippines we have a saying that goes something like “If you really want it, you’ll find ways. If you don’t really want it, you’ll find excuses.” I think that applies here.

Other non-professional things I took a chance on:

  • Buying a motorized scooter (even if I didn’t know how to ride one) just because I knew I would never learn how to ride it if I didn’t buy it. Now that I’ve learned to ride it, I know that the feeling of riding my scooter down the street is something that’s irreplaceable. There’s just no substitute for it.
  • Art school. I didn’t know how to draw, and most of the world has this misconception that talent for the visual arts is inborn. However, I badly wanted to make comics. I left my university (even if people would kill to get in) and applied for art school. I argued my way into being accepted without a folio. I’m graduating soon and have sold some of my work.

Have you ever taken a chance in your life that everyone else was against? Are you afraid of regret? Please share your stories in the comments.

Photo Credit: Images by Asif Akbar from sxc.hu

POSTED IN: Survival Skills

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