Years from now
you will be more disappointed
by the things you did NOT do…
than by the ones you DID do.

So – throw off the bow lines!
Sail away from the safe harbor.
Catch the tradewinds in your sails.

~ Mark Twain

The problem with hindsight being 20/20 is that your mistakes are glaringly obvious.  Recently I had occasion to take a good, hard look at the last 20 or so years.  While I’ve had some great successes, the things I missed out on and the chances I didn’t take sting like a motherfucker.

So why am I talking about this?  Why is this on a blog about being a man?  Why?  Because a man takes chances.  Without taking a chance, nothing great would ever have happened.  A man hears, “But you might fail miserably,” and says, “Fuck it.  I’ll try anyway.”  Without that attitude, your favorite band would not exist.  That movie you like?  Nobody would have had the balls to make it.  Like your car?  The guy who started that car company was told it would never work but doubters.  I GUARANTEE that.  Shit, we went to the moon.  THE MOON.  And THAT was before we even had a pocket calculator because somebody had the balls to say, “Let’s do it.”  Chance can lead to amazing things.

Now, NOT taking a chance?  That…THAT can lead to regret.  Regret, well, that’s a bitch.  A vicious, dirty bitch.

I ended up on a 4 hour car ride the other day, and as an experiment, I played the soundtrack to my life from high school to now.  They say that memories can come back to you from songs.  So I played those songs, everything from the middle 80s til today in sequential order.  I noticed that one thought just kept coming to mind over and over.


So in my case, I was reminded of chances not taken.  Up until around the mid 90s, I had what you would call a major self esteem problem. I thought back, and I realized that all through growing up, I NEVER EVEN ASKED ANYBODY OUT because I was afraid to.  I’d see The Girl.  In my head, I’d go HEAD OVER HEELS.  And then I’d do…nothing.  In my head, I’d talk myself out of that shit.  That kind of thing destroyed almost every relationship I ever had.  If I got jealous or thought things weren’t going well, I wouldn’t communicate (pay attention to that one, men, they like you to communicate).  Instead, I would emotionally shut down.  I’d go cold.  I’d duck calls because I didn’t want to deal with the break up.  And that led to…the break up.  

And I knew this about myself, and I knew it was a problem.  That even kept me from STARTING a relationship on many occasions.  I’ve got a lot of regrets in that area as well.  There is a long list, starting in…oh…7th grade or so, of those of the fairer sex that I was attracted to that I wouldn’t approach because I was sure I was going to fuck it up or get rejected outright.  I had one come to mind that I was CRAZY ABOUT.  Think CRAZY INSANE like in Weird Science.  This one once actually came up to me and told me point blank that she thought I was attractive.  I believe those were her words.  And I said…nothing.  Not a thing.  I even acted like I didn’t hear it.  I get the feeling that it might have even pissed her off, my silence.  And the reason?  I was scared to death to give it a try, because I couldn’t bear the thought of fucking it all up. She never had a clue as to how I felt.  I never took the chance.  As a result, what may have been the love of my life never was.  Love of my life?  Well, I’ll never know.

Once, I even got a job offer in Australia that I didn’t take because I was afraid to make the leap and take the chance.

Eventually, years later, I got over that, but before that, I missed a lot of chances.  Derp.

Along the same lines, if you want something, and you want it with all your heart, go for it.  Don’t let anybody talk you out of what you want.  Don’t let anybody tell you that you’re going to fail.  If it’s important enough, you’ll find a way.  I’ll go even further and say don’t ever listen to anybody about how you will succeed or fail who has never even tried, never succeeded.  Isn’t it funny, for instance, that people who have no money are the first ones to try to tell you what to do with yours?

Men, sometimes you’re going to want to take a chance, and you won’t.  You’ll want it.  You’ll REALLY want it, but something in your mind will get in the way.  My advice there is figure out what it is getting in the way and DEAL WITH IT.  Afraid to ask a girl to dance because you can’t dance?  Learn to dance.  Afraid to go for the promotion at work because you don’t think you’re good enough?  Find a way to become the best person in your job, and then demand what you’ve worked for.

Greatness comes from taking chances.  Men, take chances.  Live dreams.  Make a difference.  Make life what you want it to be, because you’ve got it in you to do whatever you want, to have whatever you want, and to accomplish whatever you want.

I’ll end with a quote from Mike Muir and Suicidal Tendencies:

Oh, what’s that?
So now you say life sucks
Well, ninety-nine percent of it’s
What you make of it…
So if your life sucks, you suck

What’s that crap you’re smoking, playing the fool
Waste your life for nothing, when you’re something
What the hell you thinking, mind pollution
Got to get back control, it’s your life fool