Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.Mark Twain
So this is one often attributed to one Mark Twain, a famous American writer. However it cannot be verified that he actually said this, and in my research, I have also not been able to verify it myself.
the fact remains though that Mark Twain was a brilliant writer and came out with many quotable things. One of my favorite being:
Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day
Of course I will not discuss that one today, but the point is that he was very funny, clever and insightful. A real no nonsense, old school type of guy!
Footnote: He also had a really tremendous mustache as well, which puts him on my list of mustacheoed geniuses!
This quote is especially poignant to me because when I saw it for the first time, I changed my life completely. Was it for the better? I don’t know yet, but I do know that I won’t be regretting not taking the chance when in the future. Actually, I might, but I took a chance and am very happy for doing so at this moment in time.
So lets get to analyzing this quote then
Let’s start with the first sentence, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did”
This is actually one the main parts that initially drew me into this quote. Could it really be true that I would regret the things that I didn’t do rather than the things I did do? Well I try to think back over my life experiences which are littered with moments of extreme boredom, punctuated by points of very active pleasurable and un-pleasurable experiences in equal measure.
Do I regret not doing certain things. Of course I do, and the simple question to ask yourself would be, if you could go back in time, what would you change?
I bet the answer for most of us would be there are lots of things I would love to change! But if you ask that question, is the answer I wish I had done this or I wish I had done that? If that is the case, as it certainly is for me at least, then it is probably true that you do regret more the things you didn’t do more than the things you did.
Throw off the bowlines…
This is my favorite part. This is the call to action, the motivation, the moving, stirring, rousing call that is shouting at you to go and pursue your dreams and live your life to the fullest.
- Throw off the bowlines – Take the active decision to get moving with your life. Stop hesitating and procrastinating. You should know the direction you want to travel, so just cut all shackles holding you down and go for it! This could be metaphorical or actual, you will just know when the time is upon you.
- Sail away from the safe harbor – What is your safe harbor? Is it your job, house, debts, uneventful but safe life? Whatever it is, you should try and get out of your comfort zone. I am not recommending abandoning your families or bank debts etc, but rather to try and see something different. Do you usually go on holiday to Europe or other Western countries? Well, why not try somewhere in the East this year? How about Vietnam, or India, or even somewhere completely random like Nepal? Just go for it.
- Catch the trade winds in your sails – The trade winds could be a phrase for anything. It could be that you have always wanted to work for yourself or maybe that you have a great idea for a novel, but are too scared about starting something new? Well now is the time. Now is the only time! If you don’t catch the trade winds now, they may never come back around, or will certainly blow you on a different path.
- Explore. Dream. Discover – Well I think this one is self-explanatory. The world is big, varied, and unique in square centimeters. The key is to look for the uniqueness. Explore your life and what is going on and try to see what you want to do and how you can do it. Dream new ideas, no dream is too stupid nor unattainable. Obviously, if you are a 78-year woman and have a dream of becoming the men’s world heavyweight boxing champion, chances are you will not be able to do this is your present life! Discover what you really are, and begin to act on it today.