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Drop Your Regrets and Start Living

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I recently had a phone conversation with a friend and someone who works with me. We got on the subject of the past – and he told me that he wished he had made better decisions when he was in his twenties.   

We all wish we had made better decisions – in our teens and twenties – even our thirties and beyond. 

We can spend a lot of time looking back and wishing we had done this or that differently or made a better choice. We cringe now when we think of how our attitudes could have been different in certain situations – or wish we had paid attention to something that could have impacted our lives in a positive way. 


When I look back on those days and having gone through the things I went through – the bad attitude, poor choices, bad behavior and not listening – all of that has contributed to who I am today, and who I am today is a man that I am very proud of.  

I corrected course and continue to correct course as I go. I keep striving to be a better man. I don’t know that I will ever be the man that I want to be, but I intend to keep striving to be a man of more wisdom, more love and grace and compassion – and more empathy.  

It’s been a really tough few weeks, both professionally and personally. There have been setbacks and losses – and people close to me have also lost people dear to them.  

You would probably agree that we live in an imperfect world – a world where life is not fair. Life will never be fair… 

But I don’t think we appreciate the little things as much as we should – and life is short.  

We are not perfect. We’ve all said things we wish we never said and have done things we wish we didn’t do. Somebody has said something to you that has hurt your heart – and maybe you’re still carrying some of that pain and anger.  

You know something? You want people to forgive you – and I think it’s only right that we learn to forgive others. Sometimes I think it’s not so much about forgiving others as it is about learning to look in the mirror and forgiving yourself first.   

And we need to slow down a little bit… 

I share this with teens all the time: We need more sleep. We need better nutrition. We need to put the phone down and be more present with the people in our lives and more present in our communities. We need to replace expectations with a little bit of appreciation for these little things that I’m talking about.  

Sometimes we can’t control what happens, but we can control our responses and our attitudes. We can’t change yesterday, but we can choose to live better today. 

You are not a victim. You can choose to be a victor. Today. Now. 

And that is going to make your tomorrows better – that’s what we have the power to change.  

Focus on the objective instead of what you think somebody owes you. 

Why is it that we don’t learn these things until we have to? Did you ever notice that we don’t change until we have to change? 

Sometimes change is really hard for us because we want to play the victim card. We want to stay bitter and angry rather than choose to become better.  

I remember when I went through a nerve conduction test and the doctor came to me with the report and told me that I was fat. I could have gotten really offended and angry at his blunt approach…  

But it took that doctor telling me that I was fat for me to stop looking at myself in the mirror and telling myself that I was “just big.”   

At what point do we stop complaining that our parents tightened our diapers too tight when we were two years old?  

You can’t change the past, but you can choose today to be a little bit more appreciative, caring and loving. You can choose to slow down. 

Life is short.  

I want to invite you to stop and think. Where are you? Where do you want to go today, tomorrow, next month or next year? 

What do you want in life? What’s holding you back? 

I don’t want to hear excuses.  

We all have a story and we all make excuses – but your passion for living has to be greater than the excuses you can make.  

I want you to really do some soul searching.  

Make a change, my friends – because nothing changes if nothing changes. 

And you have the power to make a change.

Jeff Yalden is a youth motivational speaker on teen leadership, teen mental health, suicide, and suicide prevention, having worked with teens and school communities for more than two decades. Click HERE for more information.  

To order Jeff’s Amazon bestseller, Teen Suicide: The “Why” Behind America’s Suicide Epidemic, go HERE.  

To book Jeff to speak at your event, call Betty at 800-948-9289.