Charlie Daniels: If I Could Go Back, Is There Anything I Would Change?

By Charlie Daniels | November 6, 2018 | 2:07pm EST
Charlie Daniels

Frequently, I am asked in interviews, ‘If I could go back and change anything about my life or career, what it would be?’ My stock and honest answer is that, I believe that there is a reaction to all actions and that anything I could reach back and change would have an impact on the way things turned out, and that, since I’m pretty happy about the way things did turn out, I would leave well enough alone.

I would, however, add one small caveat to that conviction, and that would be that I wish that I had paid a little more attention to detail – not that it would particularly change the outcome of what has happened to me, but the quality of my personal and professional habits and abilities.

For instance, when I learned to play guitar: instead of taking the time to learn and become proficient at chord structures, progressions and the different ways to play them, I rushed forth to learning to play the lead parts, bypassing the ear training and basic musical knowledge that can only be acquired by learning rudimentary theory, the construction of chords and the notes that make them up.

Now, I’m not complaining. I think things turned out pretty well, but I have to put a little more time and effort into working out my parts than the guys who understand how everything fits together and where to find the pertinent progressions in different octaves and positions.

And take handwriting for instance: I learned how to write, but I never really tried to develop my penmanship. And over the years, my longhand has deteriorated to the point that I can’t even read it myself, and any handwriting I do has to be done in block letters for anybody to be able to decipher it.

Even if I hand write a letter, unless I want to painstakingly devote a lot of time constructing a couple of paragraphs, I have to do it in printed form, making my correspondences resemble something a third grader would do.

Now, I am not an athlete. I’ve never had the smooth moves and liquid action natural athletes are born with, but if I could only have concentrated on the mechanics of the sports I tried to play instead of jumping way ahead of the limited talent I had and doing things I didn’t have the ability to do, I would have been way ahead of the game, pun intended.

And although I use computers every day, I still find myself an analog sort of guy, stuck in a digital world, and if I hit a glitch – and I’m speaking elementary kinds of problems – I’m staring at a screen completely out of my control that usually a simple phone call to my son can remedy. Usually it’s, “Dad, just turn your computer off and turn it back on,” which I have at least learned is called a “reboot.”

If I had only started with actually learning the capabilities of the machine and how to put it through its paces, I could have saved a lot of aggravation.

I love to fish, but I marvel at those who really take it seriously and know which lures work in which conditions, those who have developed the sixth sense for the exact second to set the hook and those who have had the patience to learn the finer points of fly fishing, putting the bug on the riffle or under overhanging brush with the flick of the wrist.

I had a great chance to learn too. My granddaddy was a master at such things, who could scull a boat with one hand and handle a cane pole with a popping minnow tied on, placing it where he wanted to under the overhanging trees where the fish hung out.

But unfortunately, I never took the time to learn the finer points of fly fishing, tending a trot line finding the places where the squirrels were plentiful or where the big bucks would cross the road – all things my granddaddy would have gladly taught me.

It seems that I’ve forever been in a hurry, going somewhere, doing something or just dreaming my dreams.

I honestly wouldn’t trade places with anybody. I am very content with my lot and the many blessings God has bestowed on me, but looking back, I could have paid a little more attention to the little things that go to make up an orderly approach and a knowledgeable understanding of the details.

Seems I’ve always been attracted to the big picture, leaving the examination of the pixels to those more meticulous souls with the inquiring minds.

What do you think?

Pray for our troops, our police and the peace of Jerusalem.

God Bless America

— Charlie Daniels

Charlie Daniels is a legendary American singer, song writer, guitarist, and fiddler famous for his contributions to country and southern rock music. Daniels has been active as a singer since the early 1950s. He was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry on January 24, 2008.


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