Life Lesson 2: Don’t Miss An Opportunity, Don’t Spoil An Opportunity

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So many hours can get wasted with regret. I hear people say all the time that they don’t regret anything they have done. Now I think there may be some validity in that statement, but at the same time, I think they’re just missing the point.

Every experience we have gives us the opportunity to become a better person. Our response determines what we learn from it. At the same time, there is great wisdom in realizing that we made a mistake somewhere along the way and regretting our decision — or indecision — at that moment.

Only in admitting we are wrong and gaining insight into how we could better respond in the future, will we be able to most optimally grow from the experience. This ties in to what I wrote about last time as far as the value that experience has as a master teacher.

Don’t miss an opportunity
Too often, I find that I am close-minded in some area or another. Everyone is, whether they like to admit it or not. How many times has a friend (or someone else) suggest you go do something and instead of trying something new, you just sit back and don’t go.

Quiche and cheesecake are great examples of this.

My dad didn’t eat cheesecake until he was in his late 20s. Why? Because it sounds gross.

Don’t let that happen to you. Take a risk. Take that job in a small rural school district. Ask her out. Try the soup of the day, even if it sounds gross. Listen to mariachi (I recommend Mariachi Vargas or Mariachi Cobre). Talk to somebody about Jesus. Set a little goal and accomplish it. Destroy a credit card.

Find something that you’ve been wanting to do for a long time and don’t rest until it is done!

Too much of a good thing…
The problem with quice and cheesecake is that they taste good, but you know you can’t have too much of them. Or else they will ruin you.

Similarly, while missed opportunities are a big cause of regret, wasted opportunities are as well. Don’t go so overboard on something that it begins to master you. Loosen the world’s grip on your life!

Here’s my plan
I started this recently and I want to share it with you as a challenge. I figure if I can sacrifice for a year to change my life, I’ll do it. So here we have it…

No Coke, No cake
I have made the determination to not drink any sodas or eat any desserts until August of 2009. That’s the earliest. I may decide I totally love the feeling I have when I am free from those (and I know I will), and may just eliminate them from my virtually entirely.

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Lose 4 pounds a month
What if I set out to lose 50 pounds. That’s a lot. What if I set out just to lose 4 pounds and give myself a time frame of four weeks to accomplish that? That is realistic and attainable. So when I set that goal consistently for 12 months, I should be somewhere around 50 pounds lighter by this time next year. That’s huge.

Now I understand that not everybody can afford to lose 50 pounds. Good for you. Set some other easily attainable goal. Pay off $500 in debt this month. Do it 12 months in a row and you are $6,000 better off financially than you were today.

Don’t miss an opportunity. Don’t overindulge in anything. Live happier lives!

About Joel Wagner 522 Articles
Joel Wagner (@sywtt) began teaching band in 2002. Though he had a lot of information, his classes were out of control. He found himself tired, frustrated, disrespected by students, lonely, and on the brink of quitting. He had had enough. He resigned from his school district right before spring break of his second year and made it his personal mission to learn to be a great teacher. So You Want To Teach? is the ongoing story of that quest for educational excellence.

6 Comments on Life Lesson 2: Don’t Miss An Opportunity, Don’t Spoil An Opportunity

  1. What an inspiring entry. I’m at a crossroads in my life right now. I’m asking questions like job or no job? Volunteer or not volunteer? Go to church or not go to church? Pursue a PhD or not? I had everything figured out until we moved to Texas. Teaching was my life and I had a great church. I’ve been here for two years still trying to make up my mind. It was so much easier when you had kids to raise…..it’s time to try it all!

  2. Very good advice all around, Sir. Why wait for January 1st to start a new resolution, after all? The best time is always now. Also, smart goal-setting is indeed the key to seeing them through; it’s all about playing mind games with yourself, isn’t it?

    Best of luck with your plan; keep us posted!
    -Greg

  3. Joel, Good series, uncomfortable reading in spots (owie, my toes!) but the kind that does good. I stumbled across your site a couple of weeks ago while looking for words of wisdom about vacation of all things. I’ve enjoyed roaming around. It’s helped my mind-set tremendously as I’ve started this school year. It’s always seemed unnatural to me to make resolutions in Jan each year – it’s too late! For me, the year always ends with Back-to-School season and begins with the first week of school. What better time for “this year I’m gonna…”
    Thanks again for what you do

  4. I think you have set some good goals, and have a good plan. I think that the most important part of setting off on any new venture is to begin with the end in mind. I know when I have tried to drop some pounds, saying that I am going to do it, and actually planning out how I am going to do it made all of the difference. The hard part is just sticking to it . . . at first, but it gets a lot easier. Even a change like giving up sodas can make a HUGE difference, it is surprising. Best of Luck!

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