One of Man’s Greatest Fears is Dying With Regrets, Here’s How to Conquer It

Craig Stanland
6 min readMar 23

One of our most significant desires is to connect with and unleash our full potential.

We crave to stand in our power.

We harbor this desire because it’s innate to us; it’s who we are at our center.

We long and desire to embody and live from this place, yet we’ve been conditioned to do the opposite.

To shrink, to hide, to not stand out from the crowd.

The first word most babies hear is “Shh.”

As we grow, we understand fitting in is easier than standing out.

If we step outside the norm of our group, we risk being ridiculed and judged.

It’s better to follow the slice of lemmings than step outside the flow and forge our own path.

Our families, friends, and society erode our potential with the slow drip of phrases like,

“Don’t be cocky.”

“You can’t do that.”

“No one likes a show-off.”

“Who do you think you are?”

“Remember where you came from.”

And many more.

Each of these unto themselves is merely a drip; collectively, they create a river, carving beliefs around how we believe we must show up to be safe.

Because that’s all fitting in and hiding are, a bastion of safety in the “unsafe” world outside of our beliefs.

At around the midpoint of our lives, we often find ourselves lost, frustrated, disillusioned, and longing for more, even if we’ve reached the pinnacle of professional and materialistic success.

We begin to grasp how far we’ve traveled from our true selves and our full potential.

We feel it growing inside, but we have no idea how to let it out.

It lives, breathes, and rattles the cage of the self-imposed cell we’ve imprisoned it in.

Knowing there’s more to ourselves and our capabilities but not being able to access and express them is one of the most painful experiences of our shared human existence.

Craig Stanland

I write about my journey from corporate success to federal prison and finding joy, mission, meaning, and fulfillment beyond professional and financial success.