Whoops! or What If? (Failure vs Regret)

Dec 8, 2017

3 minutes

Every day, we make thousands of choices. Most of those choices are made out of habit or long-standing preferences, but some choices require more consideration.

Do you take on this new project? Do you apply for this job? Do you contact an old lover? Do you date a new lover? Do you start a new hobby that none of your friends do?

If you choose YES to something, you have two possible outcomes: success or a valuable lesson (aka failure).

Does it ever bug you how much the word failure is seen as a bad thing? If we succeed at everything, we’d be incredibly bored. We have to fail so we can learn to do better + be better.

Success = yay, you did it!

Failure = yay, you learned something!

Failure is not the end. Not trying at all is the end – the end for any possibility of the joy of success or the valuable lesson of failure.

If you choose NO to something, you have two possible outcomes: it’s no big deal or regret.

No big deal = no big deal

Regret = a wasted life

I’m writing this on December 1st, which also happens to be a big day for me. Today, I’m officially committing to earning a Bachelor degree in Japanese Langauge + Culture (for those not in the US, that’s up to 4 years of studying).

After being accepted to the program at the University of Texas at Austin a few weeks ago, I didn’t go for it right away. It’s a big choice. Yeah, it’s why I moved to Austin in the first place, but …

What if I don’t get As?

What if I can’t pick up the language quickly?

What if I can’t graduate?

My goal with the degree is to become a Japanese translator. There are thousands of others all over the world who are Japanese translators, including people that natively know both Japanese + English.

It will not be easy. It will not always be fun. Ultimately, I might fail.

Although, I may also succeed. I may graduate with the Bachelor degree + fulfill my life-long dream of living in Japan, translating nonfiction literature, entrepreneurship-related, + food-related writings (along with writing some of my own).

Many people have asked me how I have done so many bold things: move to major cities, write 2 books in 1 year, start 5 different businesses over a decade … etc.

How do I do it?

I’d rather fail + learn than wonder what if. It’s that simple.

Believe it or not, this doesn’t come naturally to me. I spend my entire 20s riddled with depression + anxiety, which kept me from pursuing even bigger goals that I had.

Depression means you’re living in the past. Anxiety means you’re living in the future. I did both. I don’t recommend it.

The past is over. Pull out what lessons you can + move on.

The future is yours to build. As long as you’re not obsessed with a specific timeline, you can bring almost anything to your life.

Worrying about failing or what other people will think of you or what you would do it is all went to crap?

Waste of time. You COULD be using that energy to make your dream a living reality.

In case you forgot, no one is getting any younger. This is YOUR life to live. You can make nearly anything happen (even going to college full-time while running a business).

At least you can learn something when you fail. Regret earns you perpetual discomfort. Instead of trying to overcome regret, avoid it in the first place. Try something new. Go for it, failure be damned.

Whoops! or What if?

It’s all up to you.

Photo by Jens Lelie on Unsplash

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