In life, you’re going to make giant, horrible mistakes.
If you’re lucky, you won’t make too many of them. Maybe one or two. You went to kiss that girl that one time because you thought you were on a date but thought wrong, and now in the back of your head, you think you’re a creep for the rest of your life.
Or maybe you should have said no to the crazy people who offered you a job and focused all your efforts on dating this awesome woman you totally would have had children with. But your new insane co-workers made it impossible to devote the time and attention needed to grow that kind of relationship to get it where it should have been, instead of where it ended up.
If you’re like most people, you acknowledge what you did wrong, you feel bad about it for however long that you feel sorry about it, and then you try to move on with your life the best that you can.
If something was outside of your control, you learn not to think about it because there’s no point in worrying or thinking about things you can’t solve.
If you’re like me and have OCD, you obsess over everything that has ever gone wrong in your life all day, every day until it drives you just a little crazy and makes it virtually impossible for you to open up to another human being in a non-professional setting. Mostly out of fear of adding to the list of giant horrible mistakes that you constantly think about.
You don’t want to be like that either.
You can’t let the mistakes you make define who you are. You also can’t let your mistakes prevent you from taking the steps you need to take to do what you want to do with your life.
You know I hate the “fail and fail often” thing that startups believe in. It’s real easy for them to say that when they’re wasting money that’s not their own. I’m not suggesting you go that far and embrace failure at every turn, but I do believe you have to make a concerted effort, every day, to try things without having that fear in the back of your head about what you’re trying turning into another giant, horrible mistake.
The biggest problem I’ve encountered over the past four years is that people don’t know what they want, so I’m not able to come up with a plan to get them to where they want to go. The second problem though is that, once the plan is put together, they’re afraid to try things. “I can’t.” “I won’t.” “That won’t work. “We can’t do that because …”
You have to get past all that. Unless there is a logical reason not to try something, then you’re just working off emotions. And unless there’s a strong feeling in your gut saying not to try something at that point, you should try it and see what happens. (If your gut is telling you not to do something, don’t do it. I’m a big believer in trusting your gut.)
Life is short. It’s cruel. It’s random. It’s unpredictable. And for that reason alone, it’s up to you and me to take risks and be adventurous.
Otherwise, what’s the point?
There are plenty of people out there today who are utterly miserable because they’ve let that fear keep them from doing what they want to do with their lives. Don’t be that person. Don’t be just another person in the long, exhaustive history of them, who didn’t want to take the action they needed to get shit done because of some convenient excuse.
You’re better than that.