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Adii Pienaar

Now working on Receiptful. Co-Founder & ex-CEO of WooThemes. Author of Brandiing. New Dad. Ex-Rockstar.

Swinging For The Fences

A couple of weeks ago I read Ben Huh's post about how he got really depressed and contemplated suicide. One thing really stuck with me:

"Failure is an option, and a real risk. Failure and risk something entrepreneurs understand well, and learn to manage. However, death isn’t an option, it’s an inevitability. And before I die, I want to take as many swings at the fence as I can."

Swinging for the fences.

I'm only 28 years old. I haven't had a near-death experience. I'm relatively healthy and my life expectancy is good.

I've also had a good - maybe even great - life thus far. I'm married to my beautiful wife, who doubles as my soulmate, best friend & muse. I have a 16-month old son that is starting to look & act more like I do every day. I had the opportunity to take a chance (on myself) when I was quite young and that chance has lead to immense success at WooThemes (which has in turned spawned more opportunities).

But if you ask me how many times I've taken a swing for the fences, I could count those attempts on two hands.

Ever since reading Ben's post, I've felt this desire & passion to take a few more swings.


As I settled into bed last night, I opened up Twitter to do some pre-sleep reading when I stumbled onto various tweets about the Boston Marathon bombings. I subsequently struggled to go to sleep and when I eventually dozed off, it was an uneasy sleep at best.

When I woke this morning, I enjoyed my coffee along with CNN's special coverage of the bombings. The same uneasiness that I took into dreamland was still there.

Throughout the day, I wasn't able to think about much else than the bombings. When I heard the news that the first (confirmed) victim was a 8-year-old boy, I immediately felt the need to hug my own son and hold him close. I also hugged my wife.

I felt vulnerable. Life felt fragile.

Even though I was about 8000 miles away from Boston and the bombings, I felt the emotional impact as if I was there.


I'm not one to crawl into a corner. I needed a nudge in the opposite direction today.

That nudge turned out to be these awesome and inspirational words from Patton Oswalt.

His words spoke to me and made me feel less vulnerable. His words encouraged me to try make a dent in the universe and swing to the fences.

I've since decided that yesterday's bombings and all of my emotions will serve as a constant reminder of the following:

  • Life is way too short. And I have absolutely no idea how much time I'll have.

  • Regret manifests way too easily. And it's not like my decision-making is perfect.

  • I can however control how many times and how often I swing for the fences. It doesn't even need to be perfect; I just need to keep on taking those swings.

How will you swing for the fences today?

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