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Could’ve, Should’ve, Would’ve, Didn’t.

I’ve noticed a common response when I or anyone else does something different, something fun, when we think of some random idea and we actually do it. Perhaps you, the reader, have even said or thought this phrase.

“I wish I could do (something like) that.”

My question is always, “Why haven’t you? What’s stopping you now? Why can’t you do what you want to do?”

I believe we all have ideas. Humans are thinkers by nature. We see others do what they’re passionate about–something fun–and we want to do the same thing, or something similar. We want that feeling of doing something we enjoy. We see others exude inspiration and we wonder how we can do the same. We see others traveling the world and we want to as well. We want to follow our passions. We want to chase, and eventually, live out our dreams. While some take action to get where they want to be, why don’t we all take the necessary steps to live out our dreams? It’s not as difficult as we may think.

When my friends and I brought the Before I Die wall to Irvine , we heard many people say “I wanted to do this!” I even had someone tell me he was wondering when someone would bring a wall to campus. I asked why he didn’t decide to bring the wall to Irvine himself. “I didn’t think I could do it,” he confessed.

He didn’t think he could do it. Crazy. It’s crazy because he could have done it and he still can.

When I made coffee and tea drinks and delivered them to students on campus, I received a message from a friend who wants to open up her own coffee shop in the future. Looking back, someone actually wrote on the Before I Die wall that they want to open up a coffee shop (it might be the same person).

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Unfortunately, what saddens me is that many, if not all, of the people who want to open a coffee shop, probably won’t end up doing it.

Don’t get me wrong, this is about more than coffee shops and huge chalkboard walls. This is about chasing your dreams and getting to where you want to  be in life.

Take a moment to reflect upon yourself. Is there something you’ve had the desire to do, but haven’t gotten to yet? Why not?

Many of us doubt ourselves and end up limiting our own potential and our own growth. Sounds funny right? Why would we want to hold ourselves back? It’s true, though. We may not want to restrict ourselves, but the saying holds true that the only person truly holding you back is you.

Let’s delve into this a little deeper.

What prevents us from doing things? Fear? Fear of criticism, of judgement, of messing up, of wasting time, or even not having time. We’re students, we have full-time jobs, we can’t move away from home. The list goes on. There are so many reasons to be made arguing to not do something out of the ordinary. Most of those reasons are self-conscious reasons–reasons which put up the mental hurdle that we have to clear. If we don’t take that first step working toward our goals, we’ll live with the thought of “what if.”

Let’s go over a few reasons why you should follow your passions, do what makes you happy, do what you want to do.

  1. You want to inspire others in a positive way, right? What if, by doing what makes you happy, you encourage and inspire others to do the same. You influence them positively, to do what they enjoy. Ironically, you don’t have to do anything substantial to inspire. You literally just have to stay true to yourself and demonstrate it through your actions.
  2. The experience you get, good or bad, is nonetheless a learning experience. You learn, you gain new perspective, you grow, you (hopefully) become a better person.
  3. You may find that you really love what you decided to do, i.e. snowboarding, running a marathon, learning a new subject in school, etc. In this case, you end up finding something that will keep you sane during your worst moments.

You’ve got to work for what you want despite the opposition and discouragement. People may not understand your goals or aspirations, or what makes you happy. Forget them. Do what’s necessary to get where you want to be.

Follow the path you choose for yourself, not what others expect you to choose. It’s not too late.

Want to learn a new hobby or skill? Sign up for a class. Is your dream job in faraway city? Apply! If you get the job, move there! Thinking about switching your major to something you actually enjoy? Take some more classes, and do it! Have an idea of what you want to do in the future? Contact someone doing it already and learn from them! They will be more than happy to help. Want to write a book? Write 1000 words a day. It’s all about baby steps.

You have a life full of possibilities. Live your life based on your goals and your decisions.

In the end, the discouraging parties will the ones saying “I could’ve, should’ve, and would’ve done it, but I didn’t. I wish I could go back and do it.”

In the end, you will be inspiring others and enjoying your life because you could’ve, should’ve, would’ve, and did.

Now, let’s go exploring.

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