Beliefnet
Because This Is Your Life

There was once a man who was loved by all in his town.

This same man also had a little problem. Even though he was loved in his town, especially by children, he had a tendency to avoid working.

And this led to his wife nagging him to the point that one day he decided to go for a walk with his dog. They walked up a mountain.

He then met some men who knew his name. As a result he starts drinking some of their liquor and falls asleep.

A few hours later he wakes up.

But something seemed out of place.

His dog was gone. And then when he went back into town he couldn’t recognize anyone. He found out his wife died. He also found out that someone else has the same name as he does.

Who is this man and what happened?

His name is Rip Van Winkle. What happened? He fell asleep, and even though he woke up after what seemed like a few hours…20 yrs. had passed!

And the other person with his same name…was his now grown up son.

Now of course this is a fictional story that was written in 1819.

But there’s a good reason why I’m bringing it up. Actually a few reasons.

The first has to do with, “Do you regret what you’ve done or not done in your life? And this leads to the question…

“Do you wish that your life turned out differently?”

1. Under the oath of life- I’m sure you’ve heard that we’re all born with a clean slate in life. You could also say that this means we’re born with an innocence and it’s up to us to create the type of life we want. In many ways this is true.

Here’s something that’s certainly true…

It is your birthright to do what you love. Not only that but this is what you “signed up” for from the moment you take your first breath in life until your last and beyond.

But for some reason, at some point life seems to go the opposite of the way you want and along with that the regret of what you “should have” and “shouldn’t have” done piles up.

And while this is going on you’ll go about your life. The job you despise. The many nights of not being able to sleep because of endless mind chatter that has a vice grip on your life.

And over time it feels like you’re living your life in a straight jacket.

As a result the things you don’t want to have happen shows up more frequently in your life than you’d like. Then comes the stress, depression, and all those other negative emotions we dread like the plague.

We’ve all been there. I’ve been there in many ways as well.

And in almost every case there was the regret of, “If I had done or not done things differently my life would be better…I’d be happier.”

This is not what you signed up for in life. You didn’t sign up for living your life according to “should’s” and “should not’s.”

When you came into this world, whether you’re aware of it or not, you are under the oath of life. What that means centers around the question…

“What am I here to be, do, and have in my life?”

This is what you signed up for when you came into this world.

And unless you start getting clear on this, you’ll be the non fictional Rip Van Winkle and wake up after 20 years and realize that life has passed you by. 

Now I know getting clear on this sounds like a great idea and it is. But it’s one thing to read it here and another when you’re out and about in your life. Because it’s in your real life situations where those feelings of regret of what you did and didn’t do come up.

2. Paradise city- There’s no doubt that having regrets of what you did or didn’t do can and does run your life. So what can be done about this? This starts by asking (and taking the time to answer) what I consider to be one of the most profound questions you’ll ever ask…

“If I could live my life all over again and know that everything would happen the exact same way right up to the current time, would I go through it all over again and not change a thing?”

At first you’ll most likely want to change a thing or two, possibly even everything.

But when you start connecting the dots in your own life you’ll see something completely different. You’ll see that if you changed just one thing, that it would create a “ripple effect” in the other areas of your life that you would not want to have happen.

For example…

In my own life, if I hadn’t gotten into the situation that ended up ultimately costing me over $100,000 I wouldn’t be here today telling you about it. My life would have taken a completely different path…and one I wouldn’t have wanted.

Other examples of this you’ll see in movies like Sliding Doors, Back to the Future, and Running Against Time. In every case it centers around someone thinking that if they were to change one event that didn’t have the outcome they originally wanted that it would make things better, make life the way they wanted it to be…

And in every case when trying to do this, it created an undesirable ripple effect in the other areas of their lives.

So, the wisest thing you can do is to look at all the events in your life and know that they’re two sided…

To know that every situation has an equal amount of benefits and drawbacks. An equal amount of happiness and sadness. An equal amount of giving and taking. An equal amount of peace and war. An equal amount of all opposites.

Because trying to live a one sided life is like driving your car with your eyes closed. You’ll get away with it to a certain point, but at some point the other side will come up, and you’ll be left with what you don’t want…while not knowing why and attributing it to something other than what it really is. This results in repeating the same undesirable patterns over and over again.

So instead of trying to live in paradise city while being a fantasy seeker, it is very wise and healthy to pursue living a fulfilled life…

Because this is the difference between having your life not turn out the way you want versus having it turn out the way you do want…

And most importantly you won’t wake up after 20 years and ask, “where did it all go and why did it turn out the way it did?”

3. Your brave new world- After Rip Van Winkle realized what happened, he eventually also found out about his now grown up daughter and then moved in with her. Even 20 years later he still resumed the same life of idleness and not working.

Now, what if you realized that your life is passing by? What if you start seeing it’s been 20 years and nothing has changed?

Well it’s time to step into your brave new world.

And what I mean by this is to first realized that everything up to this point in your life has served you in some way. No matter where you are right now and no matter what’s happened up to this point, just know that it’s guiding you on your amazing journey in life.

Also realize that it’s never too late to get started.

Just look at Colonel Sanders. He started KFC when he was 65 yrs. old. 

Just look at Sam Walton who was in his 40’s when he started Walmart.

Just look at Mary Kay Ash who started Mary Kay Cosmetics when she was 45.

If any of these people had let their past regrets run their lives they would have given up and there would be no KFC, Walmart, or Mary Kay Cosmetics as we know it today…because someone else would have come along instead.

And that’s the important point here…

That you become that person who comes up with the next great idea, the next great product, the next great service that provides tremendous amounts of value to people throughout the world…

And to do so based on what you love doing most…

And to do so based on your uniqueness…

And to do so where you embrace both sides of life as a fulfillment driven person.

…Because this is what paves the way for you to go from where you are now to where you want to be.

So rather than forgiving yourself and feeling regret over what you’ve done or not done, it is much wiser to say…

“Thank you for giving me this experience because it has helped me grow and allowed me to help others do the same.”

Always remember…

You never have to get rid of any of yourself or any part of your life to truly appreciate how magnificent and special of a person you are.

Thank you for being you.

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