All of us at some point and time look back on our experiences in life and we feel that pang of regret…I would of…. I could of…. I should of…So why do we do this when instead we could have said: I did, I can and I will? It’s all about what we fear; the fear of the unknown, the fear of failure and the fear of taking risks.
To put it into context for you, look at the new President-Elect: Donald Trump for example. Love him or hate him, agree with him or not, I just want you to look at him as an individual, a man who had a goal. Donald Trump set out to be the next president of the United States. At first glance everyone thought it was a joke. But then little by little, Donald Trump knocked down his opponents systematically one by one. Even when faced with the worst times of his campaign, he never let anything deter him from his goal. His focus never wavered. He went thru his campaign with such drive and determination that the end result was nothing no one had predicted or expected. He was elected President of the United States. He never made excuses, he never said I could of, should of and would of…. he just did.
But now back to my focus on Athletes:
Many times I hear athletes at practices or meets after a not so spectacular race say the following: I didn’t give it my all…. I was afraid of…I should have done this…. I didn’t because of this…. I could have done more…given more etc…. Don’t get me wrong, you can still have a bad performance or a bad race and still do everything right and give it your all. The difference is that you don’t actually live with the regret of knowing you didn’t have a good race because you should of…. could of…or would of. This is where the difference lies. Sure you can be disappointed that things didn’t go the way you had intended but you can
live with the acceptance that you did everything in your power to do your best at that time. Those people don’t feel regret but rather tend to learn from the experience, try to figure out what they can change and how they can adapt for the future.
The excuses given are not as important as the underlying reasons for bad performance. We never really want to admit we are afraid of failure or we are afraid to be ridiculed or we are afraid that we will disappoint. So instead we make up excuses well in advance of our performance or races. We defeat ourselves even before we’ve even given ourselves a chance.
What is true in life is that nothing is a guarantee. However, if you actually “try and exhaust all that you can give” you can almost with certainty guarantee that you won’t be disappointed with your own performance. You won’t have room to regret what you should of…could of…or would have done.
So what are the things you can do to stop the vicious cycle of self-defeat, living with regret or being afraid?
First off, focus on what you can control. It’s easy to get caught up in all the different parts that bombard us every day. It’s easy to lose focus and feel overwhelmed. By focusing on just those aspects that you alone can control, you actually gain more control over your own life and the other items become irrelevant elements in your life. Focus is what drives us, it’s what fuels us, it’s what motivates us.
Accept that there is no perfect race, no perfect outcome and that the circumstances will be different every time. What you can do is adapt to change, stay focused on your goal and make necessary adjustments so you won’t regret that you didn’t give it your all.
3. Accept Responsibility
Instead of making excuses, accept responsibility for your actions. There’s nothing wrong with admitting responsibility instead of making excuses. Successful people take responsibility for their actions and thoughts and feelings and learn from the setbacks, the challenges and the failures. They learn from them and change and adapt so they can be better prepared the next time.
4. Challenge Yourself
We are all afraid of making mistakes and disappointing others, so much that we will sabotage our own greatness. By challenging yourself and giving yourself permission to try you can actually go beyond and propel yourself towards a better future.
Don’t dwell on what could have been, should have been or what would have been. Learn from your mistakes, take the challenge and embrace the words I can, I will and I did. It’s really that simple.