You've likely never heard of Rickey, Ali and Piotr before, but all of them set out to do unusual and challenging undertakings. Not all succeeded, but all toed the starting line and set off on their adventures -- which is more than most dreamers ever do.
I think it's important to have dreams... to visualize... to plan... to believe... and to act on dreams. I've tried to do that in my life and many times my dreams have become reality. This is the time of year when many school graduations are occurring. Young people are being encouraged to chase after their dreams. I first started setting goals in the 5th grade, when I made it my goal to run on the 6th grade track team as a sprinter in 1976. I achieved that goal and ever since then I've been goal setting and dreaming. Throughout my life I've felt that I'll always regret not trying far more than trying.
Scientists out of Cornell and the New School for Social Research decided to explore what people end up regretting. To accomplish this, they recruited hundreds of participants to share their regrets. Then, they divided the answers into two categories:
- those involving the "ideal self," (who you dreamed you would be or who you felt an inner drive to become), and,
- those involving the "ought self," (those that dealt with not meeting the expectations or ideals of others).
Which type of regret was more common? Ideal-self regrets won by a landslide. Participants said they experienced regrets concerning their ideal self more often (72 percent versus 28 percent); they mentioned more ideal-self regrets than ought-self regrets when asked to list their regrets in life so far (57 percent versus 43 percent); and when asked to name their single biggest regret in life, participants were more likely to mention a regret about not fulfilling their ideal self (76 percent versus 24 percent mentioning an ought-self regret).
Other scientists have looked at the same question from slightly different angles. A Kellogg School of Management professor conducted a similar study a few years ago and found that people regret things they didn't do far more than things they tried but failed at.
Have a dream? Chase after it. If you're meant to achieve it, you will. If not, then you'll never look back later in life and wonder if it could have become a reality.