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REGRET IS NOT YOUR FRIEND

Optimism

We can learn from our leaders of the past. Thomas Edison’s great optimism gives us a quintessential example of welcoming disaster. On a December night in 1914, fire broke out in the film room of Thomas Edison’s laboratory. As his assets were going up in smoke, it would seem that this sixty-seven-year-old man’s spirit would certainly be crushed. Instead he saw the fire and shouted to his son, “Where’s Mom? Go get her! Tell her to get her friends! They’ll never see a fire like this again!” Later, he said,

“You can always make capital out of disaster.
We’ve just cleared out a bunch of old rubbish.
We’ll build bigger and better on the ruins.”

Thomas Edison could not control the circumstances. Rather than being heartbroken to see his life’s work go up in flames, he chose to welcome the opportunity to start over. Edison, known for his overwhelming optimism, is an inspiration for us today.

Do you live with regrets?  Are you able to put regret behind you easily?

Regret Is Not Your Friend

There are two sides to regret.

The first side involves regret for actions or events we wish had not happened and we would like to take back. We have all said or done things we regret. We may get upset and say things that damage our relationships or we may do things that cause harm. For example, Tiger Woods may regret his unfaithful conduct in his marriage.

I have done many things over my life that I regret, from investing in a scam to getting involved in a risky business venture to help out a friend. However, my regrets are now infrequent. Why? I took the time to identify the main causes of my actions and rooted them out. I had to learn to take responsibility for my contribution to my own troubles and to make values-based decisions, conducting myself in way that leaves little room for regret.

What about you? Think about the times when you felt regret. Is there a common theme? Do behaviours or habits contribute to your regret? What new thoughts or action steps could reduce your feelings of regret for the things you have said or done?

For the most part, the first type of regret can be tempered by time.

The second side of regret involves regret for actions not taken. This is the sin of omission. We must take this side of regret even more seriously because we cannot alter time to retrieve things that were missed: the job we did not take, the investment we ignored, or the opportunity we let pass by. The list can be long.

When I achieved the milestone birthday of 50 years, I felt a greater sense of urgency about all the things I wanted to do, despite my plan to live to 100+. I knew that it was my time to take action.

With keen awareness that mortality is universal and non-negotiable, I want to encourage every individual reading this article to take a stand:

“Starting today, I will live my life without regret, especially as it pertains to activities I want to experience and outcomes I wish to realize in my life.”

Here are a few areas you might wish to consider avoiding missing out on (and then later regretting):

§ Attending your child’s recital or concert

§ Beginning a regular fitness program

§ Travelling to that place you have been dreaming about for years

§ Taking that course to upgrade your skills—perhaps even getting the degree you have been contemplating

§ Trying a new food

§ Taking time for yourself

§ Quitting a job you hate

§ Calling a friend to share coffee or lunch

§ Attending the presentation or concert of someone (or group) you enjoy

§ Writing the article, poem, or book you’ve had percolating for ages

§ Joining the community group you’ve been thinking about

Unless material goods are directly linked to what you want to do or become, please don’t focus on them here. Yes, you can keep a list of the “things” you want to own, but putting a new painting on your wall may not be as meaningful as taking a vacation and having quality time with your family.

When have you said, “If only I had…?” Think about it for a moment. What do you wish you had done or become? What are you going to do about it? At this point, remorse won’t get you where you want to go; forward action will. Forget your excuses and make a decision to live your life without regret.

A research study conducted on individuals over 70 years of age asked participants these questions:

“If you could live your life over again, what would you do differently? What do you regret?”

The responses showed the following results:

§ They would take more time for themselves.

§ How many times have we met people who dedicated their whole life to others, at the expense of their own needs and goals?

§ They would take more risks.

§ This is the “if only” part of regret. “If only I had bought the property, taken that job, said ‘no’ to…” and on the story goes.

§ They would dedicate themselves to a cause or purpose that would last beyond their lifetime.

§ What’s your legacy? What will you be remembered for? Will you even be remembered at all?

A life lived without regret is living on purpose and making a difference, whatever the context. How do you rank yourself on a scale of 1 to 10? [1 = Poor (plenty of regret); 10 = Excellent (little or no regret)]

Let’s all strive to be as close to 10 as we can in all areas of our lives! Start now. No regrets, please!

ACTION STEPS:

1. List events in the past that have caused you to experience the most regret.
Is there a common theme or set of situations where regret is recurring for you? What do you think the root cause(s) might be? What can you do to reduce your regret?

2. Think about all the things you regret not
What are your reasons for not taking action—lack of courage, not feeling worthy, compromising your values for others, etc.?

3. Make a list of things you can start doing immediately to reduce your regrets.
Don’t make excuses for what you can’t do. Focus on what you can and will

4. Make a commitment to follow your list of actions.

5. Move on with confidence.

6. Confirm your passions and connect with your purpose to reduce your regrets.

7. Read my newest book, The Quest For Purpose. It will take you on a personal journey of discovery to help you confirm and affirm your passions in life.

8. Benchmark your gifts, talents, and passions by using CRG’s assessments.
Your results will assist you to establish your beliefs with confidence, and increase your passion in all areas of your life.

Remember, our mortality is guaranteed. To those of you who are still procrastinating, I suggest you get started with your no-regrets philosophy this very moment. When you have no regrets, then you are truly living On Purpose!

Gray Lawrence

“The point is not to live without any regrets it is to not hate ourselves for having them..” Gray Lawrence

A New Positive Mental Attitude

 

"Peace is not something you wish for; it’s something you make, something you do, something you are, something you give away." Robert Fulghum Author

 

This is from one of may Positive Affirmations I obtain and this special one is from Bob Proctor

The following is a true story that we have sent in the past. It has a lesson well worth reading.

 

The Daffodil Principle image

Several times my daughter had telephoned to say, "Mother, you must come and see the daffodils before they are over." I wanted to go, but it was a two-hour drive from Laguna to Lake Arrowhead. Going and coming took most of a day – and I honestly did not have a free day until the following week.

"I will come next Tuesday," I promised, a little reluctantly, on her third call. Next Tuesday dawned cold and rainy. Still, I had promised, and so I drove the length of Route 91, continued on I-215, and finally turned onto Route 18 and began to drive up the mountain highway. The tops of the mountains were sheathed in clouds, and I had gone only a few miles when the road was completely covered with a wet, grey blanket of fog. I slowed to a crawl, my heart pounding. The road becomes narrow and winding toward the top of the mountain.

As I executed the hazardous turns at a snail’s pace, I was praying to reach the turnoff at Blue Jay that would signify I had arrived. When I finally walked into Carolyn’s house and hugged and greeted my grandchildren I said, "Forget the daffodils, Carolyn! The road is invisible in the clouds and fog, and there is nothing in the world except you and these darling children that I want to see bad enough to drive another inch!"

My daughter smiled calmly, "We drive in this all the time, Mother."

"Well, you won’t get me back on the road until it clears – and then I’m heading for home!" I assured her.

"I was hoping you’d take me over to the garage to pick up my car. The mechanic just called, and they’ve finished repairing the engine," she answered.

"How far will we have to drive?" I asked cautiously.

"Just a few blocks,"Carolyn said cheerfully.

So we buckled up the children and went out to my car. "I’ll drive," Carolyn offered. "I’m used to this." We got into the car, and she began driving.

In a few minutes I was aware that we were back on the Rim-of-the-World Road heading over the top of the mountain. "Where are we going?" I exclaimed, distressed to be back on the mountain road in the fog. "This isn’t the way to the garage!"

"We’re going to my garage the long way," Carolyn smiled, "by way of the daffodils."

"Carolyn, I said sternly, trying to sound as if I was still the mother and in charge of the situation, "please turn around. There is nothing in the world that I want to see enough to drive on this road in this weather."

"It’s all right, Mother," She replied with a knowing grin. "I know what I’m doing. I promise, you will never forgive yourself if you miss this experience."

And so my sweet, darling daughter who had never given me a minute of difficulty in her whole life was suddenly in charge – and she was kidnapping me! I couldn’t believe it. Like it or not, I was on the way to see some ridiculous daffodils – driving through the thick, grey silence of the mist-wrapped mountaintop at what I thought was risk to life and limb.

I muttered all the way. After about twenty minutes we turned onto a small gravel road that branched down into an oak-filled hollow on the side of the mountain. The fog had lifted a little, but the sky was lowering, grey and heavy with clouds.

We parked in a small parking lot adjoining a little stone church. From our vantage point at the top of the mountain we could see beyond us, in the mist, the crests of the San Bernardino range like the dark, humped backs of a herd of elephants. Far below us the fog-shrouded valleys, hills, and flatlands stretched away to the desert.

On the far side of the church I saw a pine-needle-covered path, with towering evergreens and Manzanita bushes and an inconspicuous, lettered sign "Daffodil Garden." image

We each took a child’s hand, and I followed Carolyn down the path as it wound through the trees. The mountain sloped away from the side of the path in irregular dips, folds, and valleys, like a deeply creased skirt.

Live oaks, mountain laurel, shrubs, and bushes clustered in the folds, and in the grey, drizzling air, the green foliage looked dark and monochromatic. I shivered. Then we turned a corner of the path, and I looked up and gasped. Before me lay the most glorious sight, unexpectedly and completely splendid. It looked as though someone had taken a great vat of gold and poured it down over the mountain peak and slopes where it had run into every crevice and over every rise. Even in the mist-filled air, the mountainside was radiant, clothed in massive drifts and waterfalls of daffodils. The flowers were planted in majestic, swirling patterns, great ribbons and swaths of deep orange, white, lemon yellow, salmon pink, saffron, and butter yellow.

Each different-coloured variety (I learned later that there were more than thirty-five varieties of daffodils in the vast display) was planted as a group so that it swirled and flowed like its own river with its own unique hue.

In the centre of this incredible and dazzling display of gold, a great cascade of purple grape hyacinth flowed down like a waterfall of blossoms framed in its own rock-lined basin, weaving through the brilliant daffodils. A charming path wound throughout the garden. There were several resting stations, paved with stone and furnished with Victorian wooden benches and great tubs of coral and carmine tulips. As though this were not magnificent enough, Mother Nature had to add her own grace note – above the daffodils, a bevy of western bluebirds flitted and darted, flashing their brilliance. These charming little birds are the colour of sapphires with breasts of magenta red. As they dance in the air, their colours are truly like jewels above the blowing, glowing daffodils. The effect was spectacular.

It did not matter that the sun was not shining. The brilliance of the daffodils was like the glow of the brightest sunlit day. Words, wonderful as they are, simply cannot describe the incredible beauty of that flower-bedecked mountain top.

imageFive acres of flowers! (This too I discovered later when some of my questions were answered.) "But who has done this?" I asked Carolyn. I was overflowing with gratitude that she brought me – even against my will. This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

"Who?" I asked again, almost speechless with wonder, "And how, and why, and when?"

"It’s just one woman," Carolyn answered. "She lives on the property. That’s her home." Carolyn pointed to a well-kept A-frame house that looked small and modest in the midst of all that glory.

We walked up to the house, my mind buzzing with questions. On the patio we saw a poster. "Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking" was the headline. The first answer was a simple one. "50,000 bulbs," it read. The second answer was, "One at a time, by one woman, two hands, two feet, and very little brain." The third answer was, "Began in 1958."

There it was. The Daffodil Principle.

For me that moment was a life-changing experience. I thought of this woman whom I had never met, who, more than thirty-five years before, had begun – one bulb at a time – to bring her vision of beauty and joy to an obscure mountain top. One bulb at a time.

imageThere was no other way to do it. One bulb at a time. No shortcuts – simply loving the slow process of planting. Loving the work as it unfolded.

Loving an achievement that grew so slowly and that bloomed for only three weeks of each year. Still, just planting one bulb at a time, year after year, had changed the world.

This unknown woman had forever changed the world in which she lived. She had created something of ineffable magnificence, beauty, and inspiration.

The principle her daffodil garden taught is one of the greatest principle of celebration: learning to move toward our goals and desires one step at a time – often just one baby-step at a time – learning to love the doing, learning to use the accumulation of time.

When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we too will find we can accomplish magnificent things. We can change the world.

"Carolyn," I said that morning on the top of the mountain as we left the haven of daffodils, our minds and hearts still bathed and bemused by the splendours we had seen, "it’s as though that remarkable woman has needle-pointed the earth! Decorated it. Just think of it, she planted every single bulb for more than thirty years. One bulb at a time! And that’s the only way this garden could be created. Every individual bulb had to be planted. There was no way of short-circuiting that process. Five acres of blooms. That magnificent cascade of hyacinth! All, just one bulb at a time."

The thought of it filled my mind. I was suddenly overwhelmed with the implications of what I had seen. "It makes me sad in a way," I admitted to Carolyn. "What might I have accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal thirty-five years ago and had worked away at it ‘one bulb at a time’ through all those years. Just think what I might have been able to achieve!"

My wise daughter put the car into gear and summed up the message of the day in her direct way. "Start tomorrow," she said with the same knowing smile she had worn for most of the morning. Oh, profound wisdom!

It is pointless to think of the lost hours of yesterdays. The way to make learning a lesson a celebration instead of a cause for regret is to only ask, "How can I put this to use tomorrow?"

Jaroldeen Asplund Edwards

It is not what we give but what we share

 

"Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have." Margaret Mead

Gray Lawrence   

”Take a chance and never let go. Risk everything, lose nothing. Don’t worry about anything anymore. Cry in the rain and speak out loud. Say what you want and love who you desire. Be yourself and not what others want to see. Never blame anyone else if you get hurt because you took the risk and decided who was worth the while.”

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Contact Information
Gray Lawrence

grayjl63@gmail.com

Skype: graynat71

Mob:+44 7726591314
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