Bad Decisions And Good Decisions

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“I regret nothing!” -Anyone who has lived a successful life-

Bad decisions are inevitable. Like death, taxes and shitty Transformers sequels, we’ll all one day experience them. Regretting your bad decisions is entirely pointless though, unless you killed someone or something. You’re no Ted Kennedy, you can’t pull that off, and you should totally regret that shit. Wanton destruction is generally NF, at least when it ends with manslaughter charges and jail time. Blacking out and taking home someone that you didn’t think it was physically possible to drink enough to be attracted to? Learn from it, but don’t regret it. Save the story as a cautionary tale for a future Captain Ahab pledge.

Why shouldn’t you regret the things that lead to your most ridiculous, regret-worthy nights? Because for every one of those nights, there’s a story and with that story is a bunch of memories. The things we will all remember way down the road about college are the days and nights where we did the craziest things and somehow got away with them. Sure, at the time they may seem terrible, dangerous or embarrassing, but they’re the basis of the stories we’ll hide from our future children and grandchildren until a drunken pledge class reunion brings them out in front of our wives and families.

For example, I certainly expect one or two of my brothers to let slip stories about the time I got thrown out of a Mexican club for yelling at the bouncer in German over a VIP table I decided to “requisition” for my own purposes. If not that night, then maybe the night I shotgunned two beers walking out of a party in the process of being busted while singing “Fuck Tha Police”. Good times, horrible decisions, funny stories. All of them valuable lessons, looking back on it, but certainly not things I regret. They’re some of my favorite college memories.

Everyone makes decisions that fall into the “good/responsible” category, but only people willing to take risks and make what some people would call bad decisions have the chances to truly succeed. Look at companies like Google, Apple and Microsoft. They were all started by people being told that they were making the wrong call and they were ultimately going to fail. The thing is, with some very obvious exceptions, no one knows when a bad decision may turn out to actually be a really solid risk to bet on or future lesson to learn. Today, no one would walk up to those guys and say the same things. Any one of the founders of those companies could hire a private army to take our their house from space and still have enough money leftover to wipe their asses with 1000 dollar bills until the day the world ends.

No one learns anything from winning every game and every bet or succeeding at everything they try. Success doesn’t teach you much about yourself, after all. Making a mistake does, because it tests all of the elements of your character. Every bad decision is a story and an opportunity. Be it a night that ends in disaster and some time in the drunk tank or a class that kicked your ass all semester ending in a failing grade; learn from it. The best decisions are the ones that cause us to learn something about ourselves, even if that something is that one should never mix mind-altering substances while out in the wilderness for a mountain weekend because it causes you to see angry grizzly bear phantoms. That’s why the best decisions are bad decisions, because they teach us the most about life, and they give us new war stories to tell at the bar. Of course, you have to actually use what you learn from them.

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