The things that you didn’t do – The Inspiration Station

The things that you didn’t do – The Inspiration Station

Talking of the the things that you didn’t do, we’ll start by talking about something Mark Twain never did.

He never uttered the following words;

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

In fact, the story behind the quote is even more inspiring in its own way. H. Jackson Brown Jr’s mother used to write to him when he was away. She kept her nuggets of gold for the P.S. of the letter and Brown compiled these in a book in 1991. The quote comes from that.

And Momma Brown is a wise woman, because she is damn right. If you ever need to seek the inspiration to take on something when doubts beset you, try reverse engineering your life. Think about the “rocking chair test”.

Imagine yourself, aged 90, sitting on your porch. There is a glorious sunset in front of you, the warm wind blows gently, the birds fly in from the ocean to nest. At that point, Death (who for our purposes is not a grim reaper but a figure from your past who died years ago e.g. grandparent, parent, friend, dog) comes and says to you; are you ready? Do you suddenly grieve for the opportunities you didn’t take and the times you decided not to take the leap of faith, or, do you nod, knowing that you lived a full life and one that was your own choice?

So pay attention to Mrs Brown, and throw off those bowlines. After all, as someone else put it;

A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.

Nope, that’s not Mark Twain either, but John A. Shedd.

But Mr Shedd and Mrs Brown, hat’s off to you. In a few words, they give anyone the reason they need to take on a challenge, in my case, the Marathon des Sables


Rob is a chubby, out of shape bloke who spent a lot of time in Sub Saharan Africa peering down well shafts. He is not suited to running long distances.

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