The importance of taking advantage of now.

“Forget regret, or life is yours to miss.”

—Jonathan Larson

This morning was not the best for me, not by a long shot. For some reason I sat at my desk pondering on the past and what I wish I would’ve done. My mind was filled with regrets. Decisions I thought were behind me flared up again in a strange, random way.

Before I knew it, my mood was shot to pieces and my drive to do anything faded into the shadows. The future was out of the picture. My “now” was just a collection of missed opportunities.

So much for feeling inspired.

I grabbed my journal, trying to get the thoughts out of my head and onto a sheet of paper. Those pages filled fast too. I didn’t want to leave anything out. And more memories came flooding in each time I paused.

I knew I wasn’t the only feeling this way. This kind of recollection haunts many of us on a regular basis.

Because of what we’ve failed to do in the past, we assume the future has no hope for us. So, we lose the drive to set goals, to see the present as an opportunity, and to believe in our abilities to do more.

Reflect with Purpose

Reflection is powerful. You’re able to look back and see what not to do, choosing to take a different path instead. More commonly, though, most of us stop at regret and refuse to learn and move on.

This is crucial to our willingness to make next-level decisions.

For a long time, I’ve had a ton of regrets. Things I wish I could go back and change, maybe even giving me a needed boost in an earlier time frame. Today I started seeing these regrets for what they really are.

Regrets are distractions. They keep your eyes from noticing what’s right in front of you.

They take up so much of your time. Minutes turn into hours, hours into days. The next thing you know, years have gone by without action or a plan to point us in the right direction.

Today, I look at my past as lessons. I can learn from them and align my current state with that knowledge in mind. My goal at this stage of life is to learn something even from the small corners of those experiences.

If you take a look at the brightest minds and the happiest people in the world (happy as in they see growth as vital and promote the same mindset in others), you would notice a trend.

They don’t sit around sulking about what they didn’t do. They move forward with what they believe they still can. They don’t put themselves in timeout for neglecting to move sooner. They know that now is soon enough.

Think about all the times you spend wishing your life away. These are the very moments you should be doing something about it. There are far too many possibilities we place in the impossible category without taking steps.

The caveat, however, is not realizing where your frame of mind was back then.

Photo by Zachary Nelson on Unsplash

The Value of Lessons Learned

What sets winners apart from perpetual losers is found within themselves. It’s rooted in their ability to learn from their past, not stay there. These people have a knack for refusing to let the former dictate where their heading.

Understanding your mindset when you were wasting time allows you to cut out this bad habit altogether.

Were you distracted by the shiny lives of others, craving something artificial that didn’t stem from you at all?

Were you missing the element of having goals in front of your eyes that were both challenging and realistic?

If so, change that now. Don’t let time go by as you push off your chances of success pouting about things you can’t change.

The present is a gift that gives you the opportunity to change the trajectory of your future. 

Too many of us waste it away by remaining stuck in the past. You don’t have time for regret. You have time for opportunities to change your life and the life of someone else.

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