“Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside of us while we live.”
– Norman Cousins
Do you know the biggest regret people have when they die? According to my research, it’s this:
“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
– Top 5 Life Regrets ofTthe Dying
I have thought a lot about that since I first discovered it. I often spend time reflecting and wondering – have I made the most of my time? If I had to do the past month or year over…what would I do differently?
And of course, now: have I been living a life true to myself – or am I living the life expected of me? Perhaps you’ve wondered the same thing yourself.
I don’t have all the answers to living a fulfilling life true to yourself – but I do believe that choosing your own life’s adventure is one of the keys.
Choosing Your Own Adventure
When I was younger, I was fascinated by the Choose Your Own Adventure book series. The books didn’t tell you a story – rather, you would choose which page to turn to in response to a situation. An example page might have read:
“To your left you see a dark forest, and to your right, an empty grass field.
If you take the path left to the forest, turn to page 8
If you take the path right to the field, turn to page 16.“
If you made a series of correct choices, you’d eventually get to the “end” of the book (which was never the last page, it was buried somewhere in the middle) and slay the dragon or save the kingdom, etc.
I remember often being frustrated by these books because sometimes the obvious “right” choice (for example, the safety of entering a field) would lead to certain doom – while the unorthodox choice led to success.
As I’ve grown older though, I wonder whether the authors knew what they were doing after all. The truth is, when I was choosing the “safe” options in the book, I was not choosing my own adventure – I was choosing my own path of least resistance.
Perhaps that’s why so often they would punish me, and it was only when I ventured out of my shell and into truly adventurous situations that I could successfully “win” in the book.
Choosing your own adventure in life isn’t about treading water, and it isn’t about playing defense against bad things happening.
It’s about having the courage to step forward and truly try the adventurous things you’ve always wanted to do.
Every Moment Is An Adventure
“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.
Fools stand on their island opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land, there is no other life but this.”
- Henry David Thoreau
Another lesson I took away from those Choose Your Own Adventure books is that every moment is an opportunity for an adventure.
Every page I turned to, I had the chance to take the safe path out – or to try something fun and risky. After the first few books I read, I discovered “default” patterns, a sequence of page turns that would lead to a relatively comfortable beginning – but then would typically lead to a long term dead end.
When I stopped worrying so much about “winning” (finishing the book) and merely started to choose exciting choices, two things happened.
- I started enjoying the books more. This is hardly that surprising – I was focusing more on the actual moments and enjoying them, but in addition to that…
- I started winning more frequently. Why is this? I think it is because rather than trying to hide and avoid any conflict, I was instead putting myself in exciting, adventurous situations that could lead to success. When I stopped focusing so much on the end goals, not only did I also enjoyed the process, I also reached my goals more frequently.
Choosing Your Own Adventure Today
If there’s one last thought i want to leave you with, it’s this:
Choose your own adventure today.
Every path leads somewhere – the question I want you to ask yourself is, if I continue down this path, will I get where I want to go?
Take a close look at the image at the top of this article – the image of train tracks and a switch. I chose that image as a reminder, that no matter how set I may be, no matter how immutable the path I am on seems – I can always change directions if that is what I truly want to do.
Very often you’ll come across something inspirational that’ll change your perspective, or perhaps make you look at the world in a new way. If this article has struck a chord with you, don’t wait – take action today.
Do something right now, whether it’s as simple as sending someone an email, making a phone call – or even putting a note on your todo list to research airline tickets for that country you’ve always wanted to visit.
Life’s too short – and procrastination only makes it shorter.
Choose your own adventure today.
Are you ready to choose to live your own life? Do you want a live that you can enjoy, and live every moment? Then let me guide you – take a look at my advanced training program.
Choose Your Life – Now
You don’t have to go it alone. You deserve to make the most out of your life. Take a moment to review the details about my course The Action Solution. It is the result of decades of experience, and hundreds of hours of making dreams a reality for real people – and it might just be the turning point you need in your life.