by : David Leonhardt a.k.a. The Happy Guy

Each day my daughter, pushing one year old now, amazes me with the lessons she teaches me. Yes, here I go again learning lessons from someone too young to speak. (Hmm … maybe that's a lesson, too.)

In my corner of Starship Earth, winter rolled in a wee bit late this year. The thermometer went easy on us all winter, leaving our sidewalks clear of the usual mountains of snow. So I suppose it was cosmic justice that just when we wanted to enjoy spring, winter struck us from behind. Which explains why we had to wait until May to introduce our Little Lady to the sea of grass surrounding our new home in the country.

Little Lady gets excited about everything (another lesson from speech-free youth). Just bringing her into the fresh air gets her excited enough to pop her buttons. As our "sponge lawn" finally seemed to dry from the spring snow, we decided to introduce her to the green stuff. I placed her gently down on her stomach so she could crawl.

Crawl!? You want me to crawl!? She may not speak English yet, but she sure can speak body language. No way would she let her hands or feet or face near those menacing blades of grass, which by this time had reached a good four or five inches in height.

However, her gestures of fear were set against squeals of delight.

Next we sat Little Lady up on the grass, and the squeals grew louder. As the smiles grew wider, the hands approached the lawn. She pulled them back. Reached down. Pulled back. Reached down. Pulled back. Turned her head to smile and squeal at us. Back to reaching down and pulling back. Again. Once more. Hey, this is scary stuff.

How many things would make us squeal with delight? OK, not literally, but think of things you would like to do. Things that would be exciting. Things that would bring meaning to your life. Are you also thrilled with the possibilities … but maybe just a little apprehensive about making the big leap? Many people are.

Sometimes fear holds us back from our dreams. We want to try something new, but we retreat back into our own comfort zone. I've watched one person after the other join Toastmasters against their better judgement over the past six years. Each one was terrified to speak in public. Each one jumped off the proverbial cliff, brave souls every one of them. And every one of them is braver now than they were when they joined. Every one is more skilled than when they joined. And every one feels less trapped by their personal comfort zone than they were when they joined.

Research shows that people regret more their inactions than their actions. In the long run, we tend to regret more what we didn't do (Why didn't I at least give it a try?). Do you want to improve your skills? Discover God? Travel around the world? Make a difference on our little Starship Earth? Tell somebody how much you care? Whatever it is you would most want to do, make the commitment right now to do it. Otherwise, the research says you will regret it later.

Many people strike out into business for themselves. Some succeed. Many fail. None regret. We may fear failure, but it is not trying that we regret.

As for Little Lady, she will overcome her fear of grass. Unfortunately, she may also overcome her squeals of delight. Aaaahh. The pure joy of childhood. Hey, there's another lesson we adults can learn from our children!