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My Biggest Regret

I recently played truth or dare with several friends. One question asked was what is your biggest regret? It’s a depressing thing to think about, but I’m happy to share my answer with everyone because I don’t want anyone else to make the same mistakes I made. I have only two regrets in my life. I had a lot more, but I’ve either forgotten them or have come to peace with my past actions. In short, my biggest regret is I didn’t push myself enough. I went from what many would call child prodigy to essentially a lazy unmotivated individual. The problem is simply I stopped thinking.

I apologize in advance for all the arrogance, but it’s to make a point and I won’t hold back here. As a child I was pretty damn smart. Even as an infant my dad recognized I was a gifted child. I don’t know how he could tell at such an early age, but he was right nevertheless. I only found out a few years ago, but my dad even bought several books on how to raise a gifted child.

I will always remember the one weekend morning when I was seven and my dad sat down next to me. He asked if I add up all the numbers between 1 and 100 (ie 1+2+3+…+100), what would I get? I knew my dad wouldn’t ask such a question if the answer really was to manually add up each number so there must be a shortcut to solving the problem. I sat looking at the blank piece of paper in front of me until I figured how to solve the problem five minutes later. However at that age, my biggest feat was devising a method to figure out days of the week. At that time, if you give me any date within ten years (past and future), I could tell you what day of the week that date was on within 30 seconds with 95% accuracy. I only had to know the current date and could calculate everything else from there.

While those two things were trivial, they showed I was actively using my brain to perform complex functions and reason at a higher level not seen in other children my age. Despite my abilities at a young age, my intelligence had slowly decreased as I grew older. Today I am not performing at the potential I displayed when I was young. I’m what you would call an underachiever. I have lost some of my ability to reason because I stopped thinking. Whenever I look in the mirror, I see only a person who has wasted his talents when not everyone is fortunate to be blessed with a high intellect.

The reason for my cognitive decline was I didn’t push to challenge myself. My dad also bought several Mensa books filled with critical thinking puzzles, but I didn’t spend too much time on them. As the saying goes, use it or lose it. I stopped using my brain and paid the price. Those who I hang around with probably noticed I say and do my fair share of stupid things without thinking beforehand.

One of my favourite quotes is It is not enough to have a good mind. The main thing is to use it well by Rene Descartes because I can relate to it. Descartes believed exercising one’s brain is important and without a doubt, I believe him. I wish educators (parents, teachers and yourself) would challenge students to use their brain and test their potential which is why education is a passionate topic of mine.

To be honest, I don’t think my dad is disappointed. For better or worse, he didn’t push me to try harder. However if my seven year-old self could see me now, he would be disappointed and ashamed at what I have become. This is the driving force behind my striving towards becoming a better person. I have a picture of my two-year-old self on my desk so every time I look forward, I am reminded of my abilities when I was a child (and also I was such a cute infant). I hope to exercise my brain to the best of my ability and to reach an even higher potential. I will work harder and one day I will be able to look in the mirror and see a proud seven-year-old smiling back at me.

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Categories: Personal
  1. April 26, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    Only 2 regrets ever?

    • April 28, 2012 at 6:19 pm

      Yup although I’m not saying what the other one is 😛

      There are a lot of things I wished I did differently, but I don’t have any remorse for them so I don’t consider them regrets.

  1. October 23, 2012 at 4:46 pm

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