February 2014 By Megha Bajaj Passing up an opportunity to be sports captain in her school taught Megha Bajaj to never run away from situations Megha is, above all, a seeker. These days she is attempting to find herself in the role of a teacher through the online writing course designed by her. You can know more about her on www.wonderofwords.org When I was in the ninth standard, I had the option of standing for the position of the sports captain of my school. I was pretty okay at all the sports, and a lot of people told me to stand – they were sure I would win. Somehow, I wasn’t. Until I walked into the room where I had to fill my application form, I was in two minds. The cause of the dilemma was this: the name of the winner as well as the three runners-up, along with the number of votes each received, would be announced in front of the whole school. Somehow, I found it nerve wrecking and was paralysed with fear thinking what if I would get the least votes (or worst, none!); the whole school would know. It would be crazy… I took the form in my hand. I clearly remember standing beside a desk with the sun streaming in through the window. I used a blue ink pen to fill the entire form. I walked towards the box containing the captain applications. I held the form above the slit… and I stopped. I couldn’t bear it. I stuffed the form in my bag, and went home. The next week when the results were announced, like everyone else I stood in the audience, clapping for the captain and runners- up, with tears spilling incessantly from my eyes. It was the first time I had tasted regret – and I didn’t like it one bit. That night, I remember sitting on my terrace, and wondering how it would have been if I had been chosen as the captain. I also wondered how it would feel to be the runner-up. I realised by running away from the situation I had denied myself of what could have been – and what it could have taught me. I could have won, I could have lost – but at least I would have known… this way, I would never know. Warren Buffet, the famous billionaire, is known to say, “Besides the columns of success and failure – there is a third column in all our lives – and this one is called missed opportunities.” He says there is something to learn from both success and failure – but when you miss the opportunity, you miss on the experience that could have changed your life forever. I truly believe that regret is one of the worst emotions one can feel. There is such helplessness in it. Things could have been this way, or that way, but if you have taken the opportunity, at least you know where you stand, and can do something about it. Ever since, I have tried my best to never run away from an experience. No matter what it has in store for me, I don’t run away from it. There have been times when I have been given much more than I wanted, and at times the complete opposite of what I wanted in life – but this way at least I know… The ability to walk the road less taken is not a one-time decision – it’s something you develop as an attitude Each day, in some small way, if we can break our comfort zone – do something that appears strange or bizarre – it could be as simple as talking to a stranger in the lift, or responding to a job opportunity, it could be driving home through a different route, or trying a different dish in your favourite restaurant (or a new restaurant for that matter), once the ‘I love to experiment’ becomes a part of us – when the moment for the big plunge comes, we will be ready. One life. Let’s live it.
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