Do you know what the top regret is of people who are on their death bed?
“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
That somber quote is from Bronnie Ware, a nurse in Australia who wrote the book “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing.” She spent more than a decade counseling dying people. During that time, she recorded the top regrets that people have on their death bed.
Why is this such a common regret at the end of life? After all, we are all in the driver’s seat. Nobody is forcing us to live in a way that we don’t want to live. But somehow, many still end up wishing they had lived in a way that was more true to themselves.
Mark Twain said it best – “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.”
How can you make sure that you don’t end up having the same regret?
I believe that regret is usually the result of not having a clear purpose in life. In other words, not being clear about what you most want in life and what you will sacrifice to get it.
If you never get very specific about what is really important to you, then you’ll end up doing the bare minimum. And when you don’t have a clear purpose driving you forward, you will default to doing what other people want you to do.
Regret is something everyone experiences at one point or another. It would be impossible to go through life without experiencing any regret at all. But sometimes, people put themselves in positions where regret is almost guaranteed.
Getting to the end of your life and realizing you have regrets is something everyone wants to avoid. To know that you’ve had your shot and there’s no way you’re going to get your life to live over again is the ultimate regret.
That’s why it’s so important that you don’t miss out on opportunities along the way to achieve your dreams. Today we’re going to look at 11 ways to do just that, and ensure a life with no regrets!
1. Know what it is that you must become and never give up. Nothing is as important as knowing exactly what you will become. Nothing. If you know, then you’ll find a way to get there. The person that has specific demands of himself is more powerful than the one who has vague aspirations of success. Know this: The most well intentioned person in the room seldom beats the person with the most passion and determination.
2. Be true to yourself. Your father may have picked your career and maybe your mother picked your spouse. The problem is they can’t get inside your head, so they don’t know what you really want. And even if they do know, they’re judgment is so clouded by their own wants and desires that your needs end-up taking a back seat. Make your own decisions. Make the decisions that are right for you, not the decisions that other people think are right for you. No one knows you better than you. You may hurt some feelings, you may even lose some relationships, but neither of those are as important as you living the life you were really meant to live.
3. Never give partial effort to something that requires your all. Don’t be afraid to go all in. Success and happiness are direct byproducts of you giving it all you’ve got. Great achievement involve great sacrifice – nothing ventured, nothing gained. Go venture. Wherever you are, be there. Don’t fall into the lazy habit of just showing up.
4. Say no to excuses. Excuses are probably the number one reason people live with regret, because they stop you from doing what you want to, achieving your goals, and creating a life worth living. Get really clear about what you want and why you want it. Then the next time an excuse tries to creep it’s way in, ask yourself, “Is this excuse more important than my goals?”
5. Never let the odds keep you from pursuing what you know in your heart you were meant to do. Those who have achieved greatness never calculate probabilities, even if the chances are one in a million. You are just as likely to be that one in a million as anyone else.
6. Every so often, push the boundaries – push slowly and deliberately, but be ready to go past the point of no return occasionally. We grow the most at the edges of our comfort zone.
7. Have your ear to the ground. Opportunity usually doesn’t knock, it whispers. Everyone gets opportunities to improve their lives. Unfortunately, most people fail to recognize and take action on them when they occur. Remember, most people miss opportunity because it shows up at their door dressed in work coveralls, not a fancy suit.
8. Go with your heart. You know exactly what your heart is guiding you towards, but you may be afraid to follow it. You may be afraid that people may criticize you. You may be afraid that you could fail. You may be afraid that you could be judged. Listen to your heart, follow your passions, and let the naysayers talk all they want. Let your results prove them all wrong.
9. Move the ball down the field instead of looking for the perfect play at the perfect time. Perfection is the enemy of good enough and determined action beats contemplation every day of the a week.
10. Remember that winners do what losers won’t do. It’s great to work smarter but there’s no replacing simple hard work. Be known as the hardest working person you know. Grind it out. Hanging on just one minute longer can make you the winner, as persistence is often what separates the winners from the losers.
11. Embrace big problems. They can present big opportunities – successful people turn challenges into opportunities. Embrace problems, never flee from them.
You get to choose your ideal life
If you want to live a life free of regrets, then simply decide what you really want and go out and get it. Continue striving, pushing, working and driving until you get what you want in your life. Don’t let anything or anyone hold you back.
And enjoy the process!
Be free. Nothing else is worth it.
Latest tweets from Monty!
“How to make today even better than yesterday? Ask yourself this question: What is one thing you could have done better yesterday?”
“Are you creating your next financial crisis? Not saving or building an emergency fund today, plants the seeds for financial ruin tomorrow.”
“How to know if you’re a victim? You have a pet scapegoat that you brush every day. Victims find excuses. Victors find a way.”
Ready for more tips on how to achieve the free life? Check-out these articles from the blog archives: