I was watching a video the other day by Jon Jondai. And it was quite interesting.
And the message that I took from this video was to challenge yourself more. And I woke up this morning thinking I have missed a lot of opportunities because I was scared.
A little over a year ago while I was still in Japan I got an offer for a job at the time teaching English in Japan as an ALT teacher in Fukuoka. I contemplated it as I had no other options really at that time, but I said no because I felt over experienced and that they should pay me more than the average new teacher given my experience.
I was also out of money at the time, but decided to quit Japan and come back to the States to live with my parents. It’s easy (sort of) to do that.
It’s free for me. But I’ve done it before and I don’t think it’s very responsible or independent for me. Do I feel I missed a big chance because I didn’t take that job?
No, it’s not something I really wanted to do, but I missed a chance to independently get myself out of a bad situation and make some money.
Of course who knows what would have happened if I did start the job…
More recently my dreams have been delayed
More recently over the last 5 months I’ve been looking for a step van to convert into a living space and use as a creative medium for my artistic interests. I’ve spent a lot of time researching it and looking for a certain kind of van.
Given my location and the kind of step van I want (diesel w/ a 10-11ft cargo area) and price that I want I have had few options.
I could blame the market or the things I just said, but there were some chances.
There was one in Maine that I saw back in June I think and contemplated (’87 Chevy P30), but the steering was messed up and it was old. It ran though and honestly I could have gotten it and fixed it up, but I was scared.
Like in Japan I was scared to change my situation. To get a job. This time I was scared to take a chance. It’s true it could have turned out to be a dud or have problems, but it would be months before I would find another option.
The next chance
I found another in Oklahoma in August. This one was newer (a 2003 p42), but actually had worse rust underneath than the one in Maine. I sent a mechanic there to look at it for me and he said it would be a “project”.
I talked with the owner many times and made an offer. Well, actually I just said what the mechanic said which was “I would only pay about $3000 for it”. He was asking $5000.
After that I called back and he said he sold it.
Certainly it had problems and I feared the rust might be so bad that it couldn’t be repaired. I could of went there and saw it but I didn’t. I was stuck imagining the worst case scenario vs. the best.
Which as I understand it is the problem of a pessimist. Am I a pessimist? I’d like to think not, however I remember reading a quote not long ago that said something like (paraphrased):
A pessimist imagines the problems in any given situation and an optimist imagines the possibilities in one.
It’s possible it was too far gone, but possibly not.
I won’t know.
You’re going to fail. The best athletes in the world fail. They lose. They miss the shot. Michael Jordan missed many game winning baskets. The best baseball hitters only hit like 30% or so of the time.
What I lost?
I lost time. Now it’s October and I still have not a step van. The goal was to convert it and move out west with it. I have been very excited about this and been researching it extensively.
But am I out of time?
Nearly. It’s not impossible until the season starts and I am still here. The chance of using this place (my parent’s home) to build it out is almost gone though.
Other options I missed
I missed probably a hundred beautiful women over the years that I could have met or could of had a date with if only I had made a step towards them and opened my mouth.
Sure, I know a lot of them would have said no.
Sometimes I did step forward, but more times I didn’t because…
Fear will make your life really boring.
Fear is what has held me back from all of these chances. It never goes away. It’s like my judo teacher always said, for every competition you do you will always get scared.
In the States I did 3 jiu-jitsu (BJJ) competitions and I probably would have done another 3 if I had more guts. It sounds simple and the act of showing up is, but the act of competing in a fighting tournament…
Basically it’s a fight and of course there are rules, but it can be nerve wracking weeks up until the moment the comp starts and then the fear is pretty much gone and you are in the moment.
I did 2 judo competitions in Japan and that is how I got my black belt.
I faced my fears.
Every single time I competed I felt better after. Sure, sometimes I lost or was frustrated, but I did not regret it.
Like someone else said…
You rarely regret things you do and you often regret things you don’t.
Now I am pissed off because the summer is gone and I have no van to drive out west with. Sure, I may just go out west without a van, but then I am dumping money into my landlord’s pockets vs. being independent and having my own place.
And despite the poor buyer’s market or lack of options it’s still my fault.
I could blame others and I have, but really it’s my fault. So there will be more options in the future, but the time I am missing by not taking a chance…
And as Jon Jondai said above it’s more fun to take chances. You’ll lose some, but there’s always something to learn.