Sunday Thought For The Day

by Lance Ekum on · 43 comments

Lorain lighthouse at sunset
Creative Commons License photo credit: ronnie44052

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~ Mark Twain

Lance writes stories from his heart, aiming to inspire and motivate, as you align more fully with YOUR true peak. When he's not here, you can find him hanging out with his family, riding a bike, or just generally acting goofy.   Sign up for the Thoughts from the Treehouse newsletter and get additional inspiration in your email inbox!
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{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

Dave Fowler October 5, 2008 at 5:39 am

Lance, in this quote lays a little regret for me. I wish I’d tried just that a little bit harder 20 years ago.

If I had, I feel sure I would have earned my Judo Black Belt. As it is, I’ll have to be content with my brown belt until I can get back to it. It would have been much easier at 20 than 40. It’s been bugging me for years.


Dave Fowlers last blog post..Flaps. Check. Undercarriage. Check.


Spiritlight October 5, 2008 at 7:31 am

I am sailing *smile*, but I am going to bulid me a bigger boat so I can get out on my greater fears!!

Thanks for the good qoute

Spiritlights last blog post..Svarar i kväll!!


Cath Lawson October 5, 2008 at 8:54 am

Hi Lance – this is a great quote. Elizabeth Kubler Ross said this was also true of dying patients. The things they regretted most were the things they hadn’t done.

Cath Lawsons last blog post..Is Ebay Trying To Get Rid Of All Its Sellers?


Stacey Shipman October 5, 2008 at 9:26 am

I heard a quote once that said “It’s better to regret the things you’ve done, than regret the things you haven’t done.”

Sometimes fear leaves us thinking “What if…” But to leave this world without trying is an even great “What if” in my opinion. I want to be remembered because I “gave it a shot” and lived life to the fullest. At 35, I have plenty of time to do it.

Nice thought for an overcast Sunday here in Boston.

Stacey Shipmans last blog post..Allowing Room for “No”…From Someone Else


Writer Dad October 5, 2008 at 9:30 am

This is one of my favorite quotes. Ever.

Writer Dads last blog post..Behind Their Eyes


Julie October 5, 2008 at 9:39 am

Synchronicity always amazes me. I’ve been struggling with untying those bowlines. This is exactly what I needed to hear today! Thank you, Lance!

Julies last blog post..I’m Becoming Someone Else


Bamboo Forest October 5, 2008 at 12:40 pm

I sure do agree with this quote. Best to get out of our comfort zone, now.

Bamboo Forests last blog post..7 Things That Happen in Movies – But Probably Not to You


Laurie October 5, 2008 at 12:45 pm

Love the quote. I am in the midst of some transformation where this quote is key. I want to live full out, enjoying the adventures this life has to offer.


BC Doan October 5, 2008 at 12:53 pm

Love the quote Lance! I always come back for your Sunday post since it is so soothing..Thanks!


Maya October 5, 2008 at 1:19 pm

I am starting my company now. My dad (71 years old) who started his company when he was close to 50 always tells me how he regrets not having started his business earlier. He ALWAYS tells me he does not want me to have the same regret. I am so scared of what I have committed to in some ways, but my desire to explore and discover is greater I guess.

Yet another good one from you Lance!

Mayas last blog post..The key to happiness and balance is right with you, just learn to use it – Part 1 of the thinkmaya framework


Tony October 5, 2008 at 1:46 pm

I was just reading different blogs, trying to figure out what to do with mine, when I happen to stumble upon yours and just wanted to tell you that you have a great way of writing. I really enjoyed this blog. The story is great. I’ve been taken by surprise at the kindness of strangers and I’ve seen people like my mom do something much like that lady did for you and your family. Keep up the good work. I will visit your site a lot more often. Take care

Tonys last blog post..Eating off another person’s naked body…


bobbi October 5, 2008 at 1:51 pm

One of my favorite quotes! With all thats going on in my life, it should be added in my misson statement of life:) thansk!


Davina October 5, 2008 at 2:54 pm

Hi Lance. Happy Sunday. This quote gets me to thinking about what I “wished” I’d done in highschool; become a cheerleader (cause I like to dance–and win!) and join the drama club and/or the school newspaper. But it also makes me appreciate what I have done and to keep doing more. Thanks.

Davinas last blog post..Creative Luny Landing In The Sand


Jean Browman--Cheerful Monk October 5, 2008 at 3:21 pm

My latest post has a different point of view: Honoring Our Comfort Zones. It doesn’t say don’t try new things… instead it thinks in terms of the Yin-Yang balance between activity and rest/reflection to keep us from falling into our cultural fallacy that we should always be striving for more. It’s not an either-or thing.

Jean Browman–Cheerful Monks last blog post..Creating a Sacred Space


Jean Browman--Cheerful Monk October 5, 2008 at 3:43 pm

I’m a firm believer in having enough challenges in our lives to keep us feeling fully alive, and I also believe in enjoying the simple things in life. This is a comment I just left at ( ):

My husband and I have always lived below our means, partly to give us options in how we spend our time but also so we wouldn’t be distracted by stuff.

Some of my happiest memories are of the two of us shopping together every other day (now, after our daughter has grown up) and of when my daughter was little…we would do housework together then walk downtown to run errands. We would buy a bag of popcorn on the way home and share it. That was a gazillion years ago, but it’s still up there at the top of the list. I could go on and on.

I read posts on how we should dream, go out and do things so we won’t have regrets when we’re older. Well, I’m not sure what I’ve done is what they’re talking about, but I sure don’t have any regrets. I have wonderful memories.

Jean Browman–Cheerful Monks last blog post..Creating a Sacred Space


Marelisa October 5, 2008 at 3:50 pm

This quote is so true. Before you back down from doing something because you might fail or others might ridicule you, visualize yourself sitting in a retirement home at the age of 89 telling yourself: “Why on earth did I care so much what so and so thought that I was willing to live a life full of limits just to make sure they wouldn’t think badly of me?”.

Marelisas last blog post..Four Outstanding Thoughts on Innovation


Bamboo Forest October 5, 2008 at 5:19 pm

@ Marelisa: hah… That’s a good reflection.

Bamboo Forests last blog post..7 Things That Happen in Movies – But Probably Not to You


Jamie Simmerman October 5, 2008 at 5:24 pm

Hi Lance!

I hope you are recovering from last night’s disappointment.

I love this quote, it ties in with the book I’m reading “One month to Live: 30 Days to a no Regrets Life” Funny how things in life just seem to tie together, eh?

Jamie Simmermans last blog post..Pick Another Pen Men Brain: Charlie Pabst


Jarrod - Warrior Development October 5, 2008 at 6:14 pm

Don’t regret anything in 20 years time. There is no need to be unhappy in 20 years time.

You always tried to make the best choice that you thought you could.

Live and Grow

Jarrod – Warrior Developments last blog post..Continuous Improvement: Plan and Reflect Daily


Pink Ink October 5, 2008 at 7:19 pm

Thanks for your kind words on my blog, Lance. I appreciate your thoughtful comments. 🙂

What a wonderful quote. I’ve always loved the ocean and love the adventure it represents to me! I hope to venture out farther this year, farther than I’ve ever been before.

Pink Inks last blog post..I am Saucy!


Simple Sapien October 5, 2008 at 7:27 pm

I love that quote… fear is a big factor in my life and I need to overcome it. I need to DO things!

– Jack Rugile
Simple Sapien

Simple Sapiens last blog post..7 Reasons To Turn Off Your TV


Lance October 5, 2008 at 8:42 pm

@Dave – I think we all have “some” things we wish we had tried differently in our lives. And I think that’s ok. We don’t live perfect lives. I like to look at this quote as being forward-looking. As in, starting today, what can I really do to explore, dream, and discover. And, to your earning only a brown belt – I think that is very impressive – and look at it for what you did accomplish. And, looking at it that way, you did great Dave!

@Spiritlight – That’s awesome Spiritlight! Build a bigger boat – I love that thought!

@Cath – Yes, when we’re on our deathbeds, what will we be thinking about? What will matter? It will be the things which make our heart sing and our mind soar! And our regret will probably be that which we desired but didn’t do… A great reminder that fits perfectly with this quote. Thanks, Cath, for sharing it!

@Stacey – That quote is very empowering Stacey. It screams “do”. As in, do what you really “want” to. Maybe you’ll regret it in the end, but what if you never try… Which leads into “what if”. And I agree that the biggest what if is in not trying something you really wanted to. And, at 35, you have a lot of life ahead of you. Unless you don’t. You just never know what tomorrow will bring. So, I say, start today Stacey – go out and live your life the way you want to (I’m guessing you do). No regrets…

@Writer Dad – I, too, find this to be a very powerful quote!

@Julie – Sometimes things just fall into place, don’t they! I’m glad you stopped by here today!

@Bamboo Forest – This really does talk of getting out of your comfort zone. And creating new and exciting things in your life…

@Laurie – I know you will live full out Laurie, you’re well on your way! Life has many great adventures in store for you!

@BC Doan – I’m glad you enjoy these! I do too!

@Maya – I wish you well in your new ventures Maya! It sounds like a very exciting time for you. Use the scariness to your advantage. There is much energy in being a little scared. And I think it’s great that your forging forward, even with the scariness and unknown that lie in front of you. I’m sure you will do well. Know that many people will be pulling for your success (including me!).

@Tony – Thanks for stopping by, and I’m glad your enjoying the stories here! Come back often…

@Bobbi – I think you’re living it Bobbi! Congrats on the successful marathon run this weekend!! And, that’s a great example of what this quote is all about!

@Davina – Yes, there are things all of us might have done differently, were we to do them over. But, look at who you are and how you turned out. It’s great that you are the way you are! And yes, there is much we all have to be appreciative for. I like to look at this quote as “what can I do going forward from here”. And think about where I want my life to go – and what I can do to live my life to the fullest – on my terms.

@Jean – You bring up a great point. And, that is – what works for one person, isn’t what will work for another person. Sometimes the best thing can be that which we “are” doing – and we don’t need to change. There is much value in comfort. And being there is not a bad thing, in fact it can be a very good thing. As long as we’re there for the right reasons. Thank you for bringing up your viewpoint Jean. It’s in thoughts like this that we can all learn and grow, not just by accepting what has been said, but of talking through what that means to us individually.

@Marelisa – If we could really do this and believe it – what it would be like to be older and thinking back to where we are today – yes, we would throw out the bowlines more often, take some more chances, and live how we (individually) wanted to live. Why is this so hard to do? Is it our ego that gets in the way? Is it fear of acceptance? We do hold ourselves back, and I love the way you describe it here Marelisa – to look at our life as if we were on our deathbed – and what would we see? This is a powerful thought…

@Jamie – I’m recovering from the Badger loss – only to move onto Brewers and Packers losses today… (we’ll get you next time!). Yes, it is funny how things do seem to tie together. Sounds like a good book, are you liking it?

@Jarrod – Yes, we make decisions and live with them. Whatever they are. I like to look at this quote going forward and say – what can I do in my life that will challenge me, and lead me down the journey that I desire.

@Pink Ink – Your welcome! The ocean is a great metaphor for life. Like the ocean, our lives are filled with periods of turbulence, or calm, and of a vastness that extends as far as we are willing to travel and explore. I wish you much success as you venture out into uncharted waters for yourself. I’m sure it will bring much joy into your life.

@Simple Sapien – All of us have fears, know that you are not alone. The act of doing is a great way to get over your fears. This reminds me of when I went skydiving. I was very fearful of this act, but in doing it, I found both exhilaration and peace. And I found out that in doing, I was able to overcome the fears I had associated with skydiving. And, this one act also has helped me when I’ve had other fears. In remembering this moment, I am able to tell myself that I can overcome any fears that come my way- and it’s in “doing”. So, thanks Jack, for the reminder that it means we sometimes just need to “do”…


Glee Girl October 6, 2008 at 3:16 am

Love a maritime-themed quote! Another of my faves is “I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails.” (Can’t recall who said it.)

While I’m pretty content with life at the moment, I do have a faint little voice in my head suggesting I’m still bobbing about in a safe harbour… *wanders off to navel gaze* (I hope that expression translates outside Australia!)


Dave Fowler October 6, 2008 at 4:43 am

Thanks Lance. Of course you’re right. It’s a fine achievement in itself. And I suppose I missed the point completely.

I could spned the next twenty years regretting the same thing or I could start to make things happen to take me to that goal.

By the time I’m 60 (in another 20 years) I’ll have my black belt. I just hope it won’t take quite that long. LOL.

Dave Fowlers last blog post..Flaps. Check. Undercarriage. Check.


Evelyn Lim October 6, 2008 at 6:29 am

I just love this quote! I like the idea of dreaming, not getting tied down to limitations, expanded possibilities and a journey of discovery.

Thanks for sharing!

Evelyn Lims last blog post..What Enneagram Profile Type Am I?


Kelly@SHE-POWER October 6, 2008 at 7:08 am


I love Mark Twain and I love this quote. It’s so true. Life is such a gift and you really have to try and do everything you yearn to, otherwise you’re not making the best use of this gift and you’ll regret it when you’re old and grey. My step brother died at 16 and it was a huge lesson for me to embrace life. He didn’t get to do so much and because of that I try hard not to back off from life due to fear. I don’t always succeed, but mostly I’m a gutsy lass and I hope I can keep smiling, dreaming and actively making the most of my life ’till the day I die.



Lance October 6, 2008 at 7:30 am

@Glee Girl – I like the quote about the sails – so true! Some things we can’t control, but we can control how we respond to them. Navel gazing….maybe it’s just me…but this was a new term!! I figured it out though, so thanks for providing me with something new to think about this morning! Navel gazing, yes, we all can stand to do that once in a while.

@Dave – No, I don’t think you missed the point. I think you just looked at it a bit differently than I did. Hey, you well on your way to getting the black belt – and that’s mighty impressive itself. Plus, you’re thinking about what’s next…always good!

@Evelyn – I love it too! It says to me that when we look forward from today, let’s let’s live our lives the way WE desire to. And that leaves open the possibility for much discovery as we move forward!

@Kelly – I’m sorry to hear about your step-brother. And I can really see how that happening can really open your eyes to just how precious life is, and how quickly it can be taken away. A powerful lesson in living the life we want NOW. Not tomorrow, not next week, or next year. Because we have no gaurantees that those moments will be there. And none of us always succeed, but it’s in going out there and living life on our terms. You are! And that’s awesome!


Mark Salinas October 6, 2008 at 9:25 am

So true! I often find motivation in fast forwarding my thoughts in my mind (visualizing) to what could have been or what would/could be. Usually this it all it takes to get me moving. Very nice Lance…thanks!

Mark Salinass last blog post..Yoga and Basil: A Common Thread


Suzie October 6, 2008 at 9:42 am

Im trying to get on my boat but can I have a nap first? I am very tired

Suzies last blog post..You Just Gotta Laugh


Sagan October 6, 2008 at 11:18 am

Such a classic! I’ve always been a big fan of that quote.

And that photo REALLY makes you want to go out adventuring…


Jennifer October 6, 2008 at 11:38 am

Lance, this is so true. I have a lot of regrets from earlier in my life and I’m working hard not to have more regrets of things I didn’t do. I do love this quote!


chris October 6, 2008 at 11:54 am

WORD UP! I guess the only thing lacking is the courage to do it!

chriss last blog post..GUT CHECK!


Lance October 6, 2008 at 12:20 pm

@Mark – I like the idea of visualizing — looking to where we want to get to. What an excellent idea for living the life we want!

@Suzie – Yes, take a nap!! You want to be well-rested when you head out into these uncharted waters of life – you adventures await…

@Sagan – I loved the photo too, really makes me feel like this quote is coming to life…

@Jennifer – We’ve all done things that we would probably do different, were we to do them again (I have, anyway). I guess that’s part of life. You’re doing awesome stuff now, and that’s what counts! Continue to be and do what makes YOU happy, and brings you fulfillment in your life!

@Chris – Courage…yes, that can be the kicker. How do we overcome that one? I think it comes from “doing”. Whatever it is, sometimes all we need to do is start, in order to get us heading the way we desire.


Sarah October 6, 2008 at 3:24 pm

I’ve been noticing lately that it’s fear that keeps me from doing the things I’d really love to — fear of failure, or fear of success, whatever. I’m trying to move on past that. This quote really hit the spot.

Sarahs last blog post..Another Look At Photography and Algae


meleah rebeccah October 6, 2008 at 4:50 pm

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. ”

Oh How Profound…..

meleah rebeccahs last blog post..I Need To Know


Ellen Wilson October 6, 2008 at 7:09 pm

Hi Lance,

I like the picture. It looks like it was taken with a red filter and everthing is in good proportion. And you know as a photographer that makes me happy.

I also like Mark Twain. He’s a Sagittarian like myself and I know he was adventurous. I adhere to this kind of philosophy, the only problem being is that sometimes I can’t get away as much as I’d like with having an 9 yr old daughter. It’s a good thing she likes to travel!

Ellen Wilsons last blog post..Happy Pigs Play in the Mud


Robin October 6, 2008 at 11:44 pm

Lovely thought and lovely picture, Lance.

Robins last blog post..Why We Want To Live


Lance October 7, 2008 at 3:48 am

@Sarah – Fear is a big one that can hold us back from really achieving what we desire. For many of us. For me, it comes down to the “doing”. Once I start doing something, it seems less scary. I know it’s easy to say that, and not always easy to do it, also. Try to find ways to make small steps toward where you want to get…

@Meleah – It is profound, especially if you really think about what is being said…

@Ellen – I really like the picture too, but you’re looking at it from a much more technical standpoint than I do! And that’s pretty cool – looking at how a picture was taken. Kids…they change things in our lives. Having three of them, I know. Sounds like your daughter is turning out to be an adventurer too!

@Robin – Thank you!


Stacey / Create a Balance October 7, 2008 at 6:33 am

This quote is a perfect example of why I created my blog (to help myself and others incorporate what is important in their lives). Sure I may have regrets in 20 years from now, but I know I will also be able to look back and enjoy the actions and decisions I did make along the way.

Stacey / Create a Balances last blog post..Spa. Dinner. Drinks. Quiet.


Tammy Warren October 7, 2008 at 1:46 pm

Leave it up to me to show up at the end of the comment section. I am here….I seem to have been in a catch up mode of operation last week. I am doing my best to make my rounds and read my favorite blogs.

You know, I did try a great deal 20 years ago. I was just thinking today I wish I had that “power of the challenge and thrill” that I had back then. I use 20 years ago as my inspirational time in my life. Would I change anything…I guess I would probably take more pictures of those times. That might seem like a selfish statement but it is true. I was truly a happy person. I was broke and no pictures to show for it. As the memory fades…I wish I had them.

This was a great post. I have spent most of my time reading the comments. You have a wonderful group of readers.

Tammy Warrens last blog post..My "wound" heart


Lance October 7, 2008 at 2:06 pm

@Stacey – …help myself and others — Stacey, that is it! When we help others and ourselves, how can we not feel that we have a life fulfilled. And a fulfilling life is one where we’ve taken some chance and dared a bit. I know you will do well…

@Tammy – Hey, better late than never! And I understand about catch up mode (kids, they get in the way sometimes don’t they…). I don’t find your statement selfish at all. To have a time in your life that is inspirational is good. It can be a reminder of where you really came alive… No money and no pictures. I, too, remember days like that. It’s good to have a little of both…


Jenny October 13, 2008 at 11:42 am

What a marvelous picture, it is absolutely inspiring. The quote itself is just as inspiring. You only grow from taking risks. Unfortunately people don’t always realize this!

Jennys last blog post..Moments


Lance October 13, 2008 at 9:06 pm

Jenny, I agree the picture and the quote really are inspiring. And…sometimes I don’t realize this! It’s a good reminder for me….


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