There are plenty of things to be afraid of in the world we live in. Everyone has their own fears and phobias. The world can be a cold dark place but there is one thing where we can all agree would be our greatest fear, each and every single one of us. But first just look at the painting above. I’m sure you’ll recognize it if you’ve seen the movie Good Will Hunting, starring Robin Williams and Matt Damon. The painting shows a person paddling through a storm on a life raft. Put yourself in that person’s shoes. Imagine how terrifying it would be in that situation, paddling at full force, panicking at no end, and possibly thinking that this is the end. The waves roughly making you tilt left and right, the boards beneath your feet cracking as if it’s going to fall apart any second and yet you continue to paddle as hard as you can as if you are close to the finish line and give it that last push even if there's no sight of land nearby. It’s at times like that where perseverance is key and helps you stand out amongst others. This boat in the middle of the storm is a perfect representation of life and what reality could be like. There could be a moment when the life raft comes apart and you’ll need to swim. Remembering all the lectures you’ve taken to help you swim is no different than taking the lectures and advice of teachers and mentors of life.
If you need a little extra motivation, just listen to Deshauna Barber’s speech during her graduation. A captain in the U.S. Army Reserve, entrepreneur, motivational speaker, and former Miss USA, Deshauna Barber, has shared some valuable life lessons in her powerful speech during a commencement ceremony at Virginia State University where she also earned her degree in business management. One of her lines will forever change your perspectives on life decisions. “Do not fear failure, but please be terrified of regret.” Imagine going through life with nothing but regret. It tends to haunt you and you may find it difficult to move on without thinking about prior decisions. It’s more difficult because although we look like we’re moving on, our minds are stuck in the past simply because we are thinking about the “what if” in life. If you continue to live in the past changing scenarios that were not in your favor, then you fail to develop your character. The development of character is what makes for a good story, one of perseverance where people can remember you by.
Deshauna talked about how she failed 6 times in her state pageant (District of Columbia) before becoming the first soldier to be crowned Miss USA. “If I had won Miss USA in my very first year, I would not have been Miss USA. I would not have been the version of myself that I needed to be to properly handle a national title.” If Deshauna decided to just give up after a few tries, then her story wouldn’t have existed. She spoke of all the doors that get slammed in people’s faces and all the noes people will hear throughout their lives. “The reality of life is that we will all hear more noes than we hear yeses,” she said. “Don’t be afraid of noes; be afraid of the possibility of a yes that you have prematurely destroyed because you decided to quit." She went on to talk about how the word “no” gives her more motivation. “I love a good no. Please tell me no. Telling me no is like adding fuel to a fire that is now set ablaze because of your single no. I love additional reasons to work harder,” she said. I previously wrote a blog stating that doubt is a good thing. When people say no or don't believe in you, it should simply add fuel to the fire. It should help you become more motivated to grow out of your comfort zone in order to prove doubters wrong. And you will fail but that's fine. Remember another quote, "I never lose. I either win or i learn." If you can live by those words, then there shouldn't be anything you would regret.
Failure defines character. Failure may help develop the thick skin needed to prevail in the world we live in today, but giving up is the birth of regret. Don’t give up and take chances, you'll never know what you'll miss out on. Regret is what you should truly fear. Remember that great things take time.