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Vishal Ostwal

I Write About Life

Want to Achieve Your Dreams? Make Your Own Mistakes

I should've sailed - a short story

I should’ve sailed

Once there was an adventurer who resided near the banks of an ocean. He explored the places near him – islands, mountains, rainforests and everything that was there in his vicinity. Quite content he was.

But there was one thing he didn’t do, unlike the other merchants and adventurers – he never sailed the other side of the sea.

Whenever he had a moment of peace, he’d gaze at the merchants and other adventurers come back from other countries after months from the shore.

Though he wondered how their life was, he felt that he was quite in luck than those adventurists and merchants, because most of them didn’t always succeed.

Some came back empty handed, and some never returned. Perhaps, because they died, or maybe found some other place to live. To him, each of those things seemed like a mistake.

Taking up the journey to cross the sea seemed foolish to him. He had all that he needed and he was happy. Often, he cursed the merchants for taking chances that involved getting nothing and sometimes, death.

He took pride in learning from what other merchants did wrong and concluded one thing – it’s a mistake to sail at the other end of the sea. He bragged about learning from other’s mistakes. He felt safe to stay where he was. Life was good.

Years passed, all the merchants now stayed on the island and lived peacefully. Their children went for foreign trades while they sat gathered around a bonfire and talked about their travels.

The adventurer sat with them and listened to their stories.

Hakim, a small trader talked graciously about how he once survived a storm and finished his tenure for his master.

Ismael, a poor merchant who never made it to the other side of sea talked about how he had put all his life’s earnings in building a giant ship that sank and how he had to come back on boats after having lost everything.

All this time the adventurist talked of his stories. Some new, some old. But they were almost always the same.

He felt like he had missed something. A chance he had. An opportunity he could’ve used. His adventures astounded other merchants, but he felt blank.

He didn’t go to any adventures either, and stayed in a royal house with his family.

The marble was brought from a territory he never saw. He ate spices and dry fruits brought from distant lands, thought he never saw where they grew. He wanted to see all this.

He wanted to be an adventurist again, and this time, he wished to cross to the other side of the sea, but he couldn’t.

His white long beard and weak limbs showed how old he was, incapable of even making a long run along the shore.

Days passed, then years. Some of the merchants died. Some merchants who were assumed dead came back from places unheard.

All this time, the adventurist remained restless. The blankness within him remained. The stories he heard about failures and travels and successes made him wonder. He wondered what it would have been like doing all that.

But he shunned doing that due to his old age. Though, he looked at the audacious sons of merchants who sailed to take up their uncertain journeys.

Once calm evening, when all the sailors, merchants and fishermen were warming themselves near the bonfire, the adventurist fell on the ground. His head hit a log of wood and he groaned grabbing his chest.

The merchants instantly took him to the hakim. The hakim couldn’t find any symptoms of illness but supposed that the adventurist had suffered a stroke. He indicated that the adventurist wouldn’t survive much longer.

The face of the adventurist turned pale and blue. He lay without making a movement in the wooden bed as the grieving crowd gathered around gazing at him.

He waved his hand to call Rafi, the youngest son of Ismael.

“What was the other end of the ocean like?” he whispered leaning near the face of Rafi.

“It was beautiful!” replied Rafi.

A tear glided down the adventurer’s eyes as he heard Rafi. “I wish I had seen it,” he said weeping. “I should’ve sailed.”

The next day the adventurist died. Everyone attended his funeral and buried him at the cemetery near the shore.

Aren’t we all too busy looking at the shore?

We quit.

Even before trying.

We silently wish to start something, but don’t. No one comes to know about it. We accept being losers, even without trying.

That’s where most dreams end.

We already know what we want

You understand your dreams and passions – they’re your shore. Your destination.

You can either find a way to cross the overwhelming ocean or watch it until it makes you a coward.

You feel guilty when you don’t take your first step. This brings regrets. You become restless when you don’t pursue you wish for.

It doesn’t feel alright when others’ voices suppress your inner-voice.

But then, there’s a way to overcome your fears, or to succeed – do something.

Don’t just look at the shore.

Build a ship, or a raft.

Do it.

Do something to get closer to your dream, no matter how small. Break your limitations.

Everything follows that moment.

… they keep wondering

People don’t stop wondering about what they once wanted to do. This thought never leaves them.

Their lives are filled with lots of “what if I had …” moments.

If you can learn something from them, it would be doing what you wish for. Often, some wishes can be really little, yet they matter.

  • What is it like singing a song on the stage in front of a crowd of a hundred people?
  • What is it like making an imperfect video and uploading it on YouTube?
  • What is it like to take up a fight with someone who bullies you?
  • What does it feel like writing a poem to express yourself and narrating it to an audience?
  • What is it like starting a business, giving it everything that you’ve got?
  • What is it like to travel to a place you think you should go to but didn’t?
  • What is it like writing a book and getting some people to read it?
  • What is it like to travel alone to some faraway and solitary place?

You wouldn’t know any of these until you do them.

We can’t always be smart or act wise … because mostly, we’re not. We learn through our mistakes.

Here’s a tip – make your mistakes. You’ll be both wise and smart once you learn your own lessons.

We all do.

For now, live while you can.

Don’t stand looking at the shore. Step in and get your feet wet. Dive, if you feel like it. Dare to leap.

Don’t be so fearful of making mistakes that you give up doing what you want to.

That’s how you get where you want to be.

I feel my life’s an experiment when I make mistakes. At the same time, I feel like a fool. I never know whether it’s worth it. But it matters.

I feel more alive. I’m learning to be okay with it. I’m trying to make my own mistakes.

Till now, it has been worth it.

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