To My Younger Self,
Today I write to you as a 31 year old man, you might be 12, or 13 or 14, much younger than I.
You have a great life ahead of you and many successes and failures to live through. I wish I could warn you of all of the pitfalls and the traps of life, but then you would never learn the important lessons for yourself!
It is only by touching the hot stove with our hand do we know that the stove is hot. We can only learn the lesson by burning ourselves. No amount of warnings from Mom or Dad can keep you from feeling the burn first hand.
Because I want you to feel the burn of life, I will share with you my only two regrets by the age of 31.
REGRET #1 – “NOT DOING IT” IN BUSINESS
In my life I have failed at many things, in fact, I fail at 80% of what I do, but 20% of my successes are so big that they make up for all of my failures and then some. Fail fast, fail cheap and fail profitably.
Do not be afraid to fail, failure is a major part of success.
Looking back on my life, I regret none of my failures:
I have loved and lost love.
I have won friends and lost friends.
I have made money and lost money.
I have had health and lost my health.
Through the wins and losses, the only regret I carry with me is “not doing it”.
The times in life when I didn’t even try are the most painful to think back on.
When I was 17 I had the opportunity to sell vacuums one summer. A few weeks of successful vacuum sales would have made me more money than I would have made in an entire summer of painting houses and most importantly would have taught me the life skill of selling early in life. I signed up for a vacuum sales job, rode the bus to the training across town every day, and every night after 8 hours of training I fought my mother about my chosen profession of selling every night.
After 3 days of training and fighting with my mother, I returned my training vacuum and never earned the opportunity to sell a single machine. The sales manager asked me “will your mother stop you from doing other things you want in life?” I said she wouldn’t, but wasn’t sure in my heart.
The pain and regret of “not doing it”; “not trying” and “not failing” is far worse than the pain of failure. When you fail, you can pick yourself up and fix your broken ego, but when you live in the world of “not doing it” you can only fall asleep at night with the nagging question of “what if?”
“What if I actually gave this a shot?”
“What if I actually invested in this?”
“What if I actually went all in?”
Years later I landed my dream job selling private equity real estate investments and ‘lo and behold, I was trained by vacuum salesmen to sell investments. In the end, I still got to sell as a profession, still trained with the vacuum salesmen, but to this day, I still regret missing out on the adventure of selling vacuums door to door and missing out on the taste of sweet success or the bitter defeat that such an adventure would afford.
“NOT DOING IT” IN LOVE
The pain and regret of “not doing it” applies in love as well. I met a girl a few years ago I was crazy about. She lived in Reno, Nevada in the USA which is thousands of miles from Winnipeg, Manitoba where I live. I called her every day for 1-3 hours a night just to hear her voice and she was the only person I wanted to talk to. I was completely happy talking to her about nothing every day and the time spent with her was some of the happiest time in my life.
I flew down to Reno several times to meet her and in the end, I wanted to be with her every day so I offered to move her up to Canada. She was young and scared, so she refused to move and was difficult to negotiate with.
What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?
I was the unstoppable force, she was the immovable object…
Eventually I ran out of energy, money and patience flying to see her. Flying from Winnipeg to Reno is not cheap and not easy, the first time I flew there it took 6 planes, 36 hours, a bus and a hotel room, but the good things in life are never easy.
She had 2 more years of school to finish on a scholarship and she was terrified of losing her scholarship if she moved to Canada and if “things didn’t work out” she would be ashamed to move home as a failure. Her mother told her that “People wait for their lovers through wars, so make him wait (as if modern college was war).” I was willing to do anything to move her in with me, but she was an immovable object. In the end I lost my patience, lost my energy, lost my money, lost my time, lost the girl and was left with a broken heart.
Maybe the relationship would have worked if she had come to Canada, maybe it wouldn’t have, to this day I don’t get to know what the outcome could have been. I didn’t get to try, I didn’t get to fail, and that is what bothers me the most. Maybe the experience would have been a disaster and fallen apart in two weeks, or maybe I would be typing this letter to you as a happily married man? Only God knows what the outcome could have been. Once again, the pain of “not doing it” strikes at my heart and leaves a wailing mystery in my mind while I fall asleep at night, wondering; “what if?”
“What if we had actually tried?”
“What if we succeeded?”
“What if we failed?”
In any case, I would sleep easier at night without the enigma of “what if” and the infinite loops that run through my brain like broken computer code.
Don’t settle for “what if”, instead try as hard as you can to succeed and if you fail, so be it.
Don’t worry about breaking the bank, breaking your heart, breaking your self esteem, breaking your ego, breaking your pride or breaking anything else in the pursuit of truth, love and the pursuit of happiness.
Break the world if you must, but don’t live with the ghosts of “what if?”
One day when you are dead and buried in the ground, it is better to burry a thoroughly used, beaten, and broken corpse of yourself – thoroughly used and unafraid to die than a pristine, unbroken version of yourself that never tried and never lived.
You must try, and try with all your might!
Be bold, be brave, be amazing.
REGRET #2 – “NOT DOING IT SOONER” IN BUSINESS
“I wish I started sooner” are the words of every man in the pursuit of greatness.
Just like the regret of “not doing it” which leaves the questions of “what if?” and an alibi against failure, “not doing it sooner” leaves a man with smaller results and smaller impact in the world.
They say hell on earth is meeting the man you could have became.
Why not become the man you were ought to be instead?
When I look back on my life and take stock of some of the habits that have made me successful, I wish I started them sooner:
Things I wish I started sooner:
- Getting in shape
- Getting my health and diet on track
- Saving more money
- Buying real estate sooner
- Investing in my brand and YouTube channel
- Learning the skill of selling
- Studying marketing
- Investing in my self education
- Getting a business and life coach
All of the things above are endeavors that I am working towards now, but I would be further ahead in an exponential way by starting sooner. Such is the virtue of compounding.
I often wish that I had dropped out of school at age 16 to sell vacuums, but instead I stuck with school until 22. Only at the age of 22 did I start to fumble around in the work force. If I had started 6 years sooner, I would be a much richer man today.
As one of my multi-millionaire mentors in his 60’s says “If you put a dollar away every day, at the end of the year you have 365 dollars… Whereas if you only put a dollar away every month, you only have 12 dollars at the end of the year.” Such is the power of compounding, being consistent and starting sooner.
REGRET #2 “NOT DOING IT SOONER” IN LOVE
“I wish I started sooner” are also the words of a dying old man wishing he could meet his unborn grandchildren.
As I write this letter to you, I am 31, single, never married and alone. I wish to have a wife, family and children one day, in fact, I would be happy to have that right now – but I should have started sooner.
We all have a human fallacy that we will live forever. We will be in good health forever. We will have the money rolling in forever. That is the fallacy of permanence – there is nothing permanent in this world – only change.
If I could do it again, I would find the girl earlier, perhaps in university, marry her on faith, have some kids earlier and grow with her and face the challenges of life together.
Would it be challenging financially? Yes of course, but I have coached very high performing men for several years now and I know that the highest performing men are married men with kids.
A man with a strong enough why can bear any how, for a man, his why is usually holding his young son or daughter in his arms.
Married men with kids work harder, are more focused and produce more than single men or married men without children. I am 31 and can still have a family at any time, but it’s something I wish I did sooner. I have been through enough relationships and enough women now to know that they all have problems – just like me. We are all flawed and broken creatures, they have issues, I have issues and we must simply choose to work through our issues together.
My parents’ divorce set me back decades in love because I learned to distrust women, I always thought I had to be more established and have more power to sustain a relationship. This reflected the misbalance of power between my mother and father where my father didn’t have enough money or power in the relationship and my mother left.
I have spent all of these years acquiring power and money to avoid the position my father was in and in some ways I have created freedom for myself, but in other ways I have created my own prison.
Although power and being financially established as a man are desirable assets to bring into a relationship, it is much easier to find one good girl, commit, and grow with her.
Don’t be afraid to fail, just be afraid of “not starting”.
As I get older in my thirties, there are less women my age who are desirable for marriage. Many women my age are happily married, have kids already, are single moms, got fat, hate men, are jaded, turned into lesbians or have suffered some other fatal wound from the slings and arrows of life. I have to look at much younger women and younger women are great, but as I get older, I have less in common with younger women. An older man can always have a younger woman, but at what point do you have so little in common that the relationship is meaningless? At some point if she is much too young, you will have absolutely nothing in common, and that is the danger.
Are you ok with her calling you daddy because you are actually her dad’s age? I’m not sure if I want to find out. Such is the price of deferring marriage.
Statistically, the couples who are least likely to divorce are marriages between partners of the same age. An older man and younger woman can have a gap of up to 9 years before the statistics for failure become exponentially perilous.
Do not be afraid though, you are like a fine wine and get better with age until you are 45, you have lots of time to find Mrs. Right. Focus on yourself and become the best version of yourself to attract the best version of a female form.
Just make sure you start, get started in love, real love so that you are not the old man dying in his bed without ever meeting his grandchildren and lamenting “I wish I started sooner”
There is no failure and no mistake that I regret in this short life: I only regret the things I “didn’t do” and the things I “didn’t do sooner”. To live with the questions and the mystery of “what if” can drive a man insane late at night when he is alone with nothing but his thoughts.
Don’t be afraid to break the bank, don’t be afraid to break your heart, don’t be afraid to break the world!
Anything that is broken, can be fixed, but the things that never existed – simply do not exist, they are nothing.
Do not settle for nothingness, do not settle for things that never existed, do not trade your heroes for ghosts. Instead, live life as the hero, take the risk, go on the adventure and win the beauty.
The things that never existed can only live in your mind as phantoms of your imagination that whisper to you late at night; “what if”?
Go to your grave knowing that you broke it all and you fixed it.
You are the man who will break many things with your flaws and mend them with your virtues, it all takes work and it all takes time.
But don’t mind the time, the time will pass anyways.
Don’t mind the work, for work is a man’s purpose and you must live your purpose.
Use your time on this planet to find out how things work, take them apart, break them into tiny pieces, fix them and live your life in the pursuit of your highest and greatest self.
Live and be a creator as God must have been when he made the world, but as a creator, do not be afraid to break the world in the process.
Take a risk and never settle for “what if”?
Your future self,