I saw a fascinating video on Facebook today. Someone had placed a blackboard and chalk on a street in New York City. At the top they wrote: What do you regret? At the end of the day there was a commonality to the many regrets written on the board: the word, “Not.” It was much rarer to have a regret for something done, than for all the things left undone.

There is something sad about “not” doing something. It is likely the great mystery of wondering what might have been. For the things we’ve done, even the stupid things, at least we know how they turned out. Perhaps we learned how to do things better the next time. We know that we tried. For the things we never do, we don’t have that.  We give up that when we don’t do something.

“Not” is the product of fear. We don’t do because we are afraid.  Our current situation, no matter how dreadful, is at least known. We are somehow convinced that whatever else is out there has to be worse. I was in the Navy for eleven years. It wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t great. There was a guaranteed paycheck every month, although not a big one. With each passing year there was the increased promise of an early retirement. Thankful my wife and I took the leap and left all that for the unsure future of law school.

What is your big “not”? Why not do it before the chance is lost and it becomes a regret?


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