I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be prudent, rational, or logical, but never at the cost of your dreams and absolutely never by abdicating their ownership.
Clearly not every dream ends up a success story–not even the majority of them. Most will die relatively quickly. But while you may be able to justify putting off a dream due to probability, you may never be able to justify it to yourself.
In fact an HBR article by Daniel Gulati, which asked professionals what their top five career regrets were, listed “I wish I had quit earlier” and “I wish I had the confidence to start my own business” as the 2nd and 3rd most frequent regrets.
That’s interesting in retrospect, but how can you figure out today what you will regret most not having done later in life?
Here’s an easy exercise I’ve been doing with colleagues and friends for years, which answers that. I’m especially fond of using it with folks who are facing very tough life and business decisions. Try it out and see what your answers tell you about which things you can’t compromise on.
Your Last Day On Earth
Pretend today is your last day on earth. There is no debate or backdoor out of this. When the day is over you will cease to exist. Let that sink in for just a moment. Now that you’ve had a minute to think about your imminent demise, take a deep last breath and list the first three things you would most regret not having done or attempted to do in your life? Don’t think long about it, just jot them down quickly.