A Letter To My Young Friend
Hello my friend,
I’m glad we got to chat for awhile recently. It’s been too long, of course, and it’s too bad we don’t have the opportunity to talk in person like we once did. Such is life, I suppose; but I know we’ll remain in touch. Remember that I’m always here for any sort of advice and encouragement you might need.
I hope what I said made sense to you. I’ve seen too many people (yeah, myself included) remain in a state of indecision for so long it becomes a comfort zone of sorts. It’s easy to become paralyzed by a big, life-changing choice; to stay at the fork in the road and never go left or right. That comfort zone of indecision will get smaller and smaller over time and eventually will become as restrictive as a straightjacket. Not taking that fork in the road will eventually lead to wandering in the woods when the path becomes overgrown. You will most assuredly become lost if you don’t.
The key is to do something, anything. It almost doesn’t matter what. Hopefully things will go great. You’ll move forward with your life and get all the success you want and deserve. Even if what you choose doesn’t turn out as well as you had hoped, you’ve merely found out something that doesn’t work. I know you’re smart enough to learn from that and can move on from there.
Ultimately that alternative of indecision is a waste of time and potential… given that you have a lot in terms of brains, talent and ideas to offer the world, I hope you’ll do what you can to keep moving ever forward.
There’s something I didn’t tell you when we chatted, something that I think is important.
I found out, just a few days before, that another young friend of mine had passed away. He was a lot like you in many ways: he was smart, ambitious and had an amazing future ahead of him.
I processed quite a few emotions in the days after I learned of his passing. Grief was certainly a big one, and I suspect that will remain and will pop up on its own accord from time-to-time. That’s certainly to be expected.
I found myself thinking an awful lot about the loss of potential. This led me down a path where I had to be brutally honest with myself and realize that I haven’t exactly been true to the potential I have (I think you know that).
I started considering the legacy I want to leave one day. Hint: it’s not boxes full of unfulfilled dreams, lists of unrealized goals and lifetime’s worth of wasted potential. I also realized that one’s legacy is not just something one leaves upon their passing. You leave a legacy each day in you do with it… you leave a legacy with everyone you interact with. But I digress.
I began to inventory time wasted and chances not taken.
I realized the most obvious thing in the world… that yes, I need to take more chances and not be afraid to fail.
And, in a very small way, I did just that.
There’s this woman I know. You would like her if you got to meet her. She’s smart and nice and really funny. She’s also beautiful, but not in a “look at me I’m such a hottie” type way. She just is. So naturally, I developed something of a schoolboy crush on her. It had been a little while since I had anything resembling a crush on anyone, so my feelings took me by surprise.
Anyway, I finally took a chance and said something to her.
While she confessed to having had similar feelings for me from time-to-time, for whatever reason or reasons she didn’t want to start dating. She felt bad about it, in that she thought she hurt my feelings. While I was a little disappointed things didn’t go my way, I did let her know I was more than fine with how things played out.
The important thing is I manned up and said something, rather than remaining in those murky waters of inaction and indecision. Even though our conversation didn’t go the way I wanted, nothing bad happened… so the next time I see someone I want to meet I’ll be far more likely to speak up, rather than remain silent and wonder if I should post something in the “missed connections” section on Craig’s List. Bonus: learning that this really cool, beautiful woman ever had crushy feelings my way, something I never would have known had I not spoken up.
So in the end, just take some action. Don’t get too hung up about whether you’ll succeed or fail. I know I’m far from the first person to say this, but it stands true now as it always has: not taking action and not making a decision ensures you’ll fail. Don’t be one of those people who is forever in the shadow of what could have been. Don’t be afraid to be uncomfortable and maybe even a little scared at times… that’s how you know you’re truly alive and nothing is greater than that.
Now go and make it happen.