Two things I know. Today is the youngest you will ever be for the rest of your life. When the sun rises tomorrow you will be another day older.
As you live your life day to day, it is my hope and prayer that you don’t live your life with regrets. There are two dimensions of this prayer for you. One involves dealing with events that have happened in your past and the other is avoiding events that could occur in your future.
Addressing the first dimension first, I believe there are many people in this world who are frozen where they are in their lives and can’t move forward because of their inability to overcome something (or things) that have occurred in their past.
God didn’t give us eyes in the back of our heads. I believe there is a reason for this. I have never seen a sprinter in the Olympics win a gold metal while looking backwards. A car is designed with a large front window and a small rear view mirror.
We need to learn from the past, but whether you got a trophy for what you accomplished or continue to regret a failure, it is etched in stone and is unchangeable.
In the movie “Men in Black,” Agent K introduces a gadget called a Neuralyser. It is a device that is about the size of a cigar. He says “This is called a neuralyzer. It’s a gift from some friends from out of town. This red eye isolates...the electronic impulses in your brains, specifically the ones for memory.” The tool produces a noisy, camera-like flash that results in erasing the memory of the person flashed. The erased memories could go back hours, days, weeks, months, or years depending on the device’s settings.
After being neuralyzed, the agent has about 30 seconds to supply new memories to replace the ones he has just erased. In order to avoid having a person’s memory from being erased, the person being flashed would have to wear Ray-Ban sunglasses that reflect the rays away from their eyes.
The Sundance Channel ranked the neuralyzer as number four on its list of “Top 10 Film Inventions We Wish Were Real.” Unfortunately, no real neurolyzer is known to exist. If it did, it would have the power to change mankind.
You can’t change yesterday, but you can change tomorrow. Don’t let your yesterdays rob you of today. Soon your tomorrows will become a today. But yesterdays will always be yesterdays.
Living in the past, whether the past is good or bad, can stalemate a person in such a manner that they choose to use the past as an excuse to keep from taking action today.
The second dimension is making good choices to avoid future regrets. To avoid regrets tomorrow, we must live right today. Given whatever is put in front of us today we need to make the right decision, then make the right decision, then make the right decision, then make the right decision. You get the idea.
Making the right decision may look different depending on who you are. A survey of octogenarians revealed that if they could live their lives all over again, the most popular response was that they would have taken more risks. Does this mean that you should take more risks in your life right now? For some, yes...for others, no.
There are people who are miserable in the job they work, but they may stay in their job for 20 years and then retire. They then look back after two decades and regret that they had to spend so much of their energy each day struggling through an atmosphere they didn’t want to be in.
We need to remember that we only get so many trips around the sun during our lifetime.
To many, making the right decision is avoiding a choice for immediate pleasure in order to have better results long term. In other words, human nature often asks “What can I get right now?” while avoiding considering long term consequences. Bottom line, making the right decision is a matter of discipline.
This may be a decision to charge on a credit card, to tell off an employer, to overeat during a meal, to have an extramarital relationship, to steal from another, or to not spend time with a young son or daughter. In each instance, short term decisions lead to long term consequences...and quite possibly to future regrets.
To avoid a day down the road when you look back and ask “what was I thinking?” focus on the long term consequences of the choices you make today.
My challenge to you today is to accomplish what needs to be accomplished in your life today...nothing more and nothing less. Today comes just once. It will be gone within the next 24 hours.
If regrets of yesterday are keeping you from doing today what you need to be doing, you need to let go of the regrets. Don’t let your yesterdays rob you of today. Today is such an important day as it is the only day you can live.
Then make sure the choices you make today don’t become your regrets of tomorrow. This occurs by focusing on long term consequences over short term satisfaction. Avoiding future regrets results because of a disciplined life.
Be intentional in the life you live and live a life that avoids the line “I wish I could just do it all over again.”
Just a thought...
Rick Kraft is a motivational speaker, a syndicated columnist, a published author, and an attorney. To submit comments, contributions, or ideas, e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org:email@example.com or write to P.O. Box 850, Roswell, New Mexico, 88202 - 0850.
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