Regrets. We all have them. In Bronnie Ware’s book The Top Five Regrets of Dying, Ware discusses the many years she spent caring for people who are close to their own mortality. She questioned those who are dying about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently. She found five common themes in the answers she heard from them.
- “I wish that I’d let myself be happier.” They realized too late that happiness is a decision.
- “I wish I’d stayed in touch with my friends.” They failed to give their friends the time and effort they deserved.
- “I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.” Keeping our feelings and thoughts to ourselves can often be a heavy load to carry.
- “I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.” Too much time spent earning a living over actually living life caused much regret.
One stood out above the others. This was the most common regret:
- “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” Unfulfilled hopes and dreams…this was the number one regret expressed by the dying. According to Ware, “Most people had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.”
According to Gilovich and Medvec in their research, “When people look back on their lives, it is the things they have not done that generate the greatest regret… People’s actions may be troublesome initially; it is their inactions that plague them most with long-term feelings of regret.”
Let’s learn from those who have been there. Let’s honor our hopes and seek to live productive lives with a purpose. They have sent a clear message. No regrets.
As Gary Keller puts it, “Make sure every day you do what matters most. When you know what matters most, everything makes sense. When you don’t know what matters most, anything makes sense. The best lives aren’t let this way.
Do you identify with any of these regrets? What steps can you take toward turning your regrets into accomplishments that bring you joy?
Are you stuck and looking for a way to move forward? You may benefit from having your LifePlan conducted. Click here to learn more about what is involved in having your LifePlan conducted.
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