“Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time;Sydney Smith
It is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.”
What do you think goes through people’s minds as they lay on their deathbeds?
What do you think they wish they had done, or hadn’t done?
A nurse who cared for the dying recently shared her experience – and the regrets her patients had during the last few weeks she shared of their lives. It really made me think about my own life, what I might regret in the future – and maybe different actions I could take today.
Here’s a list of the five most common regrets her patients had:
- I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
- I wish I didn’t work so hard.
- I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
- I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
- I wish that I had let myself be happier.
Unlike these people who were so close to their en, you may not have just a few weeks to live. I hope you have many years ahead of you.
But…knowing now what they only realized as their life was slipping away, what lessons can you take away today to make your life better?
Rule #1: Live A Life True To Yourself
She says about the courage to live a life true to yourself:
“This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled.
Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.”
How To Live With No Regrets
In times of uncertainty, you may wonder how to make a decision – which path to take, which course of action is right. Standing at the edge of the rest of your life and wondering which way to go. The research (referenced below) shows a couple of clear patterns –
- We regret opportunities we let slip away
- We especially regret anytime that we could have taken action, but didn’t
It’s interesting to see research back this up, but that’s something I think you may also know intuitively – and perhaps have experienced in your own life.
I don’t have 10 “next steps” for you to take today.
I have just one.
Do not let this moment and this opportunity slip away.
We always regret the dreams we don’t follow through on and the things we don’t do. The question isn’t just then what action will you take today – it’s also, what action will you regret not taking?
I don’t have all the answers.
But I do know that if there is a secret to living a life with fewer regrets, it probably goes something like this:
Bet On Your Dreams – And Take Action
A couple quotes I really like
“A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams.”John Barrymore
“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