“Regret for things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.” Sydney J. Harris
While it’s a no-brainer that positive emotions can be harnessed to useful ends, it’s not quite as obvious that fear can also be our friend. A lot of women tell me that they did something scary or different because they felt the bigger risk lay in not doing it. They were more afraid of what they’d miss and the regret they’d feel if they didn’t get their gumption up and make their adventure happen.
Opportunities do fly away if they aren’t seized and they can be fiendishly hard to recapture. How can you make sure you make the most of yours?
If you’re feeling scaredy-cat about an opportunity, try a little forward projection. Ten years from now, or twenty, or thirty, or when you’re on your deathbed, how are you going to feel about NOT having done this thing? Projecting the status quo into the endless future can present a pretty scary picture. And we can use that fear to help us take a risk.
Now try imagining the same you, musing about the wonderful thing you managed to do when you got over your fear, reluctance, feelings of I-don’t-deserve-this, or whatever else was holding you back. That potential scene feels WAY better, doesn’t it? It’s filled with joy and pride and a sense of how expanded the adventure made you feel.
Regret sucks. Cultivate a healthy fear of it, and use that fear whenever you need to give your waffling self a good shove in the direction of your dreams.