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3 Things You Can't Take Back

Do you remember as a kid, maybe with siblings or maybe in daycare, having to share your toys? I remember, among other things, playing with action figures, trying to decide who was gonna be Optimus Prime, who was gonna be the Green Ranger, and who was gonna be Stone Cold Steve Austin (Of course none of them matched, but we were like 6. Who cared?). And oh the fickle young heart to decide to want to be the Green Ranger, only to change his mind in the middle of the game to want to be Optimus Prime, because he can shoot rockets (complete with all the explosion sound effects a six year old can make with his mouth). And then an argument occurs and someone gets called an “Indian Giver” and all the toys get taken away until we can learn to play nice.

Sounds like a lot of give and take right? Well even though this was one (very immature) example, it actually reflects most aspects in life: You give some, you take some, you get jealous because someone else can shoot rockets, and if you can’t get along with people you can get a lot of things taken from you. To elaborate a little more on that, let’s say you and I are business partners and we want to open a clothing store together. We both put in lots of money, time, and energy to get the store open and running, then six months after opening, before we have a chance to turn a real profit, I decide that I don’t want it to be a clothing store anymore. I want it to be a bar. How selfish of me. Now at this point, assuming we at least broke even, you and I can both take back our money and maybe some property and ideas, but we lost something that can never be recovered: time.

We face choices every day: to act or wait, to be aggressive or passive, or how we react to what’s placed in front of us. And each decision that we make is going to have a consequence (good or bad). In many cases we have a chance to catch ourselves before making a bad choice (like a backspace button or a 30-day return period). But I want to talk about 3 things that you can’t take back: the stone after it’s thrown, the word after it’s said, and the time after it’s passed.

1.) The stone after it's thrown:

Of course I’m aware that after a stone lands you could go and pick it up, but the action has been committed and the stone must land somewhere. What happens after it lands is something different. Look at it this way: a quarterback in the NFL makes the decision to throw to his (apparently) open receiver. After he releases the ball he sees the free safety come over the top in a clear path to intercept the pass. While the ball (stone) is in the air the quarterback can only be thinking one thing: “Damn, I wish I could take that back.”

2.) The word after it's said:

This usually happens with loved ones. An argument happens and we say something completely out of line just to make the other person as angry and hurt as we feel. Then we’ll go air out the dirty laundry to Facebook, to Twitter, to parents, to friends, and then after the storm blows over, we go back after leaving destruction from everything that was said, ego’s bruised and pride wounded. We’re all guilty of it. And if left unchecked it becomes a battle of who can one-up the other, that eventually leads to infidelity, loss of trust, and a lot of headache and heartache. And a lot of times it ends with “Damn, I wish I could take that back.”

3.) The time after it's passed:

Every day we are given the choice of how we spend our time. We can spend it chasing money, chasing skirts/boxers, working to pay bills, working to build better relationships, playing video games, dreaming, making dreams come true, the list goes on. And what’s most important to me on the list as far as priorities may not be as important to you (I’m gonna post on this later), but we are all given the same 24 hours in a day to dedicate to what IS most important to us. And we have the free will to decide how we spend it, but time doesn’t move backwards or wait for anyone. The main thing I want you to walk away with from this is that your decisions matter, and they all have consequences (good or bad). That doesn’t mean that you should freeze up when it’s decision time for fear of the consequences because if you don’t decide, someone or something else will, and you won’t like the outcome (Related: How To Cure Fear). Then you’ll usually look back at that moment like “Damn, I wish I could take that back.” Well you can’t... But you CAN own up to your decisions, ACCEPT the outcome, LEARN from the situation, and ADAPT. You can change your action, change your speech, and change your attitude to the point that you’re bold enough to stand on ANY decision that you make and be able to take whatever consequences come with it without having to feel like “Damn, I wish I could take that back.” THAT is called growing up into the man or woman you were destined to be...

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