When I was a kid, two anecdotes in Reader’s Digest captured a place forever in my emerging philosophy of life. The first was called, “I’ll Take the First Circus.” It told of a child who lived in a rural town where three circuses would visit that summer. The first circus would be small, the second a bit more substantial, and the last one would be the biggest and the best.

The child’s parents told him they could only afford to let him attend one circus that summer, due to their financial considerations. The child didn’t hesitate, but immediately chose to attend the first circus. A few months later, when the second circus came to town, the family’s finances had improved, and he got to attend the second circus as well. And yes, you guessed it, the same thing happened when the third circus arrived, and the boy was privileged to see all three circuses that summer. He didn’t miss a thing.

This story has had a great impact on my view of the world. I’m sure I read it over… uh… 40 years ago, and yet it stays with me. It prompts me to leap at opportunities when they first appear and not conservatively turn them down waiting for something better to come along. The idea here is not to end up regretting having let something I really wanted pass right on by. Most often the regrets I have had are the result of NOT buying something, or NOT taking that trip, or perhaps even of NOT attending that first circus.

A popular bumper sticker and t-shirt slogan tells us, “Life is Uncertain, Eat Dessert First.” So what are you passing up today that you’ll later wish you hadn’t?

I urge everyone to jump right in with both feet and Take the First Circus!