(Post by KAARINA DILLABOUGH)
“I wish I’d enjoyed it more.”
This is something that Neil Gaiman said in his Commencement Address to the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. I’ve attempted to capture verbatim (or as close as possible) some of his closing remarks below, from that Commencement video. In Neil’s words:
“So when I agreed to give this address, I thought, what is the best piece of advice I was ever given? And I realized that it was actually a piece of advice that I had failed to follow. And it came from Stephen King. It was twenty years ago at the height of the initial success of Sandman, the comic I was writing…I was writing a comic people loved and they were taking it seriously and Stephen King liked Sandman…and he saw the madness that was going on and the long signing lines and all that stuff and his advice to me was this:
He said, ‘This is really great. You should enjoy it.’
And I didn’t. Best advice that I ever got that I ignored.
Instead, I worried about it. I worried about the next deadline, the next idea, the next story. There wasn’t a moment for the next 14 or 15 years that I wasn’t writing something in my head or wondering about it, and I didn’t stop and look around and say “this is really fun”. I wish I’d enjoyed it more…there were parts of the ride I missed because I was too worried about things going wrong, about what came next to enjoy the bit that I was on.
That was the hardest lesson for me. To let go and enjoy the ride. Because the ride takes you to some remarkable and unexpected places”
I must thank my friend Jason Konopinski for introducing me to this wonderful Commencement speech, and the sage advice: “let go and enjoy the ride”.
Can you think back to situations and times that might have been highlights…quite special…treasured moments, but for the worrying you did about them, they’ve been relegated to the dusty corners of your memory? Barely remembered, or remembered only for the bumps on the road, not the views that were always there?
When we look back on what might have been; what could have been WONDERFUL, did we simply get in our own way? Worrying about what could happen. Ruminating over things that didn’t “go right”. Stressing over the small stuff. Making mountains out of molehills.
Today, make a pact with yourself to enjoy the ride. See and sense what is going on NOW. Relish the moment. Pat yourself on the back for accomplishments, however small. Smile. Share your story. See what is right in the world, not just what is wrong.
A father and his son went fishing on a small boat, hungry.
The father helped his son reel in his first fish, and it was a beauty. “Great catch, son,” the father said.
“Yes, but I’m worried I’m missing out on better fish,” the son said. “What if I could catch a bigger, tastier fish?”
“Maybe you should try,” the father said.
And the son did, catching an even bigger fish an hour later. “A real beaut,” the father said.
“But what if there are better fish out there?” the son asked.
“Maybe you should try,” the father said.
And the son did, catching a bigger fish, then wondering if there were better fish, catching another, and so on.
At the end of the day, the son was exhausted. The father asked, “How did the fish taste?”
The son hesitated. “I’m not sure. I was so busy looking for better fish that I didn’t taste any of them.”
The father smiled contentedly, patted his belly. “Don’t worry. They were delicious.”
We are all of us like the son. We all worry, at some time or other, that we’re missing out on things.
It’s why we’re so busy — we take on so much because we don’t want to miss out. We take on dozens of goals and aspirations, because we don’t want to miss out.
But here’s the bare truth: we will miss out, no matter what. It’s inevitable. We cannot do or try everything in the world, even with lives twice as long. We cannot see every town and city, read every interesting book, watch every important film. We will always, always miss out.
Here’s the second, more important truth: if you always worry about what you’re missing out on, you will miss out on what you already have.
Don’t make a reading list a mile long — focus on the book in your hand. Don’t pack your vacation itinerary with every highlight of the city you’re visiting — walk around and enjoy what you find. Don’t worry about traveling the entire world — be delighted with the world around you. Don’t worry about what you’re missing online, or in the news — what you’re doing is good enough.
And let go of your long to-do lists and goal lists. They are a futile attempt to keep from missing out. You will miss out, but in striving to do everything, you’ll miss out on the wonder of the thing you are doing right now.
What you’re doing right now is all that matters. Let the rest go, and enjoy the fish you’ve already caught.
Enjoy the ride. Enjoy the fish you’ve already caught.
Kaarina Dillabough, Amaranth, Ontario
Kaarina is a business/life coach living in Ontario, Canada. For over 25 years her high-voltage energy, expertise and experience has inspired those she has worked with to reach beyond their grasp, to attain great things in business and in life. A former Olympic sports colour commentator and coach, Kaarina parlayed her coaching skills from the gym floor to the boardroom, working with business owners to improve their profitability and prosperity. In doing so, she has seen people grow both personally and professionally. Kaarina is known as an inspiring motivational speaker in areas such as branding, marketing, business growth strategies, and personal growth and prosperity. She is a passionate, seasoned coach and accountability partner with a proven track record, who loves nothing more than helping people achieve their goals in business and in life. Check out her Blog or follow her on Facebook or Twitter. Email contact: kaarina (at) kaarinadillabough (dot) comTweet