1. If you do not go after what you want, you’ll never have it.
2. If you do not ask, the answer will always be no.
3. If you do not step forward, you’ll always be in the same place.

When I saw this in one of the examination rooms in my doctor’s office, I thought it should be shared with both parents and kids of all ages before going back to school.

Lack of confidence is a disability that can hold you back from being a success in life. As I got older, the words “I should have, I could have, if only I had” began to haunt me. I looked at people around me whom I considered successful at what they did.

What was wrong with me? I was afraid of failure. I did not try all the things I should have because I was afraid of what others would think. But what was the worst that could have happened? They couldn’t eat me; that is against the law. People would say I failed – but I would have known that at least I tried.

I now know that I would have been a good (but not great) lawyer. How many lawyers have you met and then thought, “How did this person pass the bar?” But, as one of my former bosses said to me, “Remember, 50% of doctors graduated at the bottom of their class.” He also said that even bad doctors make good money.

Here is something to think about: A baseball player batting .230 with five home runs and 43 RBIs was given a one-year contract for $2.3 million. At 66 years old and with two hip replacements, if someone gave me a bat and glove and paid me $1 million to play for one year, I would be out in the baseball field right now.

I started writing this column when I was 55 years old. I said to my boss at the time that I couldn’t do it because no one wanted to listen to me. He said to try it; the worst they could say was, “You stink and you’re fired.” Well, I took his advice, and 10 years later with 550 columns behind me, I am still writing (and some have told me I stink).

I have many old friends who now regret not having tried out for sports, jobs, joining the military, traveling the world, or a new career. I worked with an auto mechanic who was given the chance to go to medical school. Today he is an MD.

There is an old saying in the U.S. Army, “Do something, even if it’s wrong – but do something!”

Parents and kids: Take the above words, cut them out, and put them on your refrigerator. Before you make a decision, read these words and try something new. Don’t sit on the couch your whole life; run with the big dogs. You may be surprised at what you can do and what life brings you.

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Tony is a 30 year resident of Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey. He is a graduate of Ramapo College with a degree in American Literature and has his New Jersey Teacher’s Certificate. He also has his MBA in Business from FDU. Tony wrote for AIM and had his own column, "For What It’s Worth," for 9 years. He recently retired after working for 46 years in the corporate world.

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