I spent a morning with one of my first mentors in Albuquerque, New Mexico recently. Over coffee, we swapped stories about our lives, our families, and our business. It was wonderful. He and I first met in 1975 when I was a high school senior. He had just been cut from the old Seattle Supersonics; they kept Slick Watts instead of him. I shared with him the only regret I had was not accepting a full basketball scholarship from his alma mater, Oklahoma Baptist University. They were the number-one ranked NAIA team in the country. He had set up a tryout with his old coach. I was offered a full ride, but turned it down because of my comfort zones. After I shared my regret with him, he said to me, "Your life turned out exactly the way it was supposed to. I'm proud of you. You have made quite a life for yourself and your family. You are helping a lot of people."
It was as if he gave me permission to let that regret go, like a tiny boat placed in a river and washed away for all time. Regret, like self-pity, resentment, doubt, or jealousy, holds us back from manifesting our true potential. It keeps us chained to the past.
I made decisions that I regret, and I took them as learning experiences. I am human, not perfect, like anyone else. -Queen Latifah, actor, singer
We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret or disappointment. -Jim Rohn, business philosopher, speaker
My advice to other disabled people would be, concentrate on things your disability doesn't prevent you doing well, and don't regret the things it interferes with. Don't be disabled in spirit as well as physically. -Stephen Hawking, physicist, author, icon
Elizabeth Kubler Ross had an 85-year-old patient who was terminally ill. Her name was Nadine Stair. Just before she died, she shared a poem with Dr. Ross that has become famous. It's a declaration of regret and a cautionary tale.
If I had my life to live over,
I'd dare to make more mistakes next time.
I'd relax, I would limber up.
I would be sillier than I have been this trip.
I would take fewer things seriously.
I would take more chances.
I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers.
I would eat more ice cream and less beans.
I would perhaps have more actual troubles,
but I'd have fewer imaginary ones.
You see, I am one of those people who has lived sensibly and sanely,
hour after hour, day after day.
Oh, I've had my moments, and if I had to do it over again,
I'd have more of them.
In fact, I'd try to have nothing else.
one after another,
instead of living so many years ahead of each day.
I've been one of those people who never goes anywhere
without a thermometer, a hot water bottle,
a raincoat and a parachute.
If I had to do it again, I would travel lighter than I have.
If I had my life to live over,
I would start bare foot earlier in the spring
and stay that way later in the fall.
I would go to more dances.
I would ride more merry-go-rounds.
I would pick more daises.
The height of good mental management is being aware of your self-talk, the feelings attached to language and course correcting as you go along. Apollo 13 was off course 49 times before it finally landed on the moon. Like a child learning to walk, we must take responsibility for our own joy, peace of mind, and happiness. It's a journey. In hindsight, I wouldn't change a thing. Wardell is right: I am right where I am supposed to be. How about you?
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