The Regrets of Action and Inaction

Thomas Oppong
Feb 28, 2018 · 4 min read

Welcome to the age of leverage.

A moment in time when each of us has more resources, more reach and more impact, more degrees of freedom and more opportunity than ever before to pursue something meaninful.

With this power, of course, comes the responsibility to actually create, take action, make or do something you deeply care about.

According to Dr. Neil Roese, a regret of action is doing something you wish you hadn’t done. A regret of inaction is not doing something that you wish you had done.

Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “There are many ways of going forward, but only one way of standing still.”

People are now empowered to express themselves more than ever.

The opportunities to create, to become a part of a global conversation and transformation are now more than we can ever imagine.

There are now more free resources to help you start and pursue your life’s work than you can ever imagine.

Until the dawn of 21st century, the economic history of humans solely revolved around the leveraged forces of land and capital.

Think about it — whoever controlled the most land or the most money could enforce their will, and create the world as they wanted it to be, far more easily than the common man or woman.

The age of leverage is empowering

“It is much easier to put existing resources to better use, than to develop resources where they do not exist.” ― George Soros

Everything has changed. You now have more power and resources to take your career into your own hands and make real impact.

A lasting impact that brigns the fulfilment you expect and want.

The new information revolution, the one that’s changing many industires at a faster rate than you can plan for has opened doors for anyone.

If you’ve got the time, the intellect and a great idea that’s capable of spreading, then you have the ability to move your career in the direction you want, regardless of what you do, who you do it with, or what the people around you expect.

You have the leverage to make a difference, the leverage to spread your ideas and the leverage to make an impact far bigger than yourself.

More people have more leverage (more chances and more power) to change the world now than at any other time in history.

What are you going to do about it?

The paradox of inaction

Despite the many options the new have as a generation, we are still left with a paradox of inaction.

“It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.” Theodore Roosevelt said that. It’s profound and true.

On one hand we instinctively tend to stick with the default: get an education, get good grades and purse a career society deems “respectful”.

Those careers promises financial security deviod of risks. Safe over risk has always been the choice of millions. It’s a safer bet.

Nobody likes to rock the boat. We feel safe in our comfort zones, where we can avoid the sting of regret.

And yet, at the same time, we regret most of those actions and risks we did not take. Studies consistently show that when we look back on our lives the most common regrets are not the risks we took, but the ones we didn’t.

Of the many regrets people describe, regrets of inaction outnumber those of action by nearly two to one.

Some of the most common include not being more assertive, and failing to seize the moment.

When people reflect later in life, it is the things they did not do that generate the greatest despair.

But you can do something about what you truly want in life now.

You don’t have to have many regrets when you can seize the moment today. There are more opportunities to completely reinvent your role in the system than ever before.

Dreams are all we have. Never give up on them!

“What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?” ― Vincent Van Gogh

For centuries we’ve been trained by the system to stop thinking and do as we are told. But dreamers and thinkers change the world.

Thinkers and dreamers are the new untouchables. They don’t follow any logic. It’s hard to replace the dreamers with algorithms.

A more richer and exciting life is within your grasp if you can visualise and focus on thinking and most importantly acting on your thoughts.

Think about all the dreams that have not been realised because people are just afraid to share themselves with the world.

Millions who feel their ideas are not worthy enough to be shared. Over the long term, the future is decided by optimists.

If you pursue your dreams long enough, compounding takes effect.

Momentum will surge.

Give yourself time in your life to wonder what is possible and to make even the slightest moves in that direction.

When you follow your own true northyou create new opportunities, have different experiences and create a different life.

Do something interesting, meaningful, different, amazing and truly remarkable. Something unique, new, beautiful. You have a choice.

Choose to show your most amazing work to the rest of us. Build upon the works of others and transform it into your own.

Don’t be subject to the tyranny of “how things have always been done”.

Find your true north and push past the default.

Thomas Oppong

Written by

Founder at AllTopStartups | Author | Creator of Thinking in Models and Kaizen Habits | Featured at Inc. Magazine, Business Insider, Forbes, Entrepreneur, etc.