Top 5 Regrets People Have

Top 5 Regrets People Have

Top 5 Regrets People Have

I was reading a book the other day and right at the start it mentioned three numbers:

168,     480,     &         960

The last one really through me.

Any ideas?

168      The number of hours in a week.

480      The number of minutes in a 8 hour day.

960      The approximate number of months you are going to live.

Scary isn’t it!

I have more months behind me than I have in front of me, (by a long way), how are you doing?

It seems only yesterday, well, only a few years ago, then, that I moved to Dubai with my kids who were 8 years old at the time.

Today is their 32nd birthday, both my daughters are married and one has made me a grandfather.

Where has the time gone? L

If you don’t take action in the near future, what regrets are you liable to have when your 960 hours are up?

We’re all going to die.

What is it they say? Only 2 things are certain in this world, death and taxes.

So, assuming they’re right, about the only thing you can count on, is your not getting out of this alive!

Morbid subject, right?  

Since we’re all going to end up there, isn’t it worth spending some time thinking about it, especially when we still have time to make changes?  

Isn’t there value in learning from those who have gone before, to avoid making the same mistakes?

A while back, I read an article in Business Insider, and it’s stuck with me ever since.

It’s an article about Bronnie Ware, an Australian palliative care nurse, who recorded her experiences with dying patients.

She said folks gain “phenomenal clarity of vision” at the end of their lives, and common themes surfaced again and again from folks in their final days.

Here then are the Top 5 Regrets, followed by my personal thoughts on how you can avoid having the same regret at the end of your life. 

1. I wish I’d have the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

The #1 regret. Interesting.

I struggle a bit with what this means, but suspect it reflects the regret of not achieving personal dreams.

Perhaps it indicates the feeling that people have sacrificed their own personal dreams for the sake of others?

How to avoid this regret:

Focus now on what you want to achieve in your life.

Communicate with your spouse, agree on your priorities.

Carve out space for both your individual goals, as well as your goals as a couple.

Address expectations up front, and make a plan to achieve your highest priorities.

Take time alone to understand what “true to myself” means, then be firm on your convictions.

2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

Men – this one’s aimed at you, as Bonnie claims “this came from every male patient that I nursed” (though she also noted it’s surfacing more with younger woman, who are facing the same regret as “dual income” becomes more the norm).

Can you imagine – EVERY man she talked with in their dying days had regrets that they had the wrong focus on their priorities during their working careers.

Learn from this.

How to avoid this regret:

Prioritize life outside work, now.

Take time to go to your children’s activities.

Take a day off for your partners’ birthday.

Recognize that work, in reality, is not as important as it feels on a daily basis.

I know, I know you’ve got a million reasons why you can’t take tomorrow off.

There’s that huge deadline (which, by the way, will mean nothing 2 years from now).

Fine. You’ll end up with the same regret as every other man on earth.

Do you really want that?

Change your priorities.

Make a personal decision to change your priorities.

Retire early.

Jim Rohn says, “we should do what we have to as fast as we can, so we can do what we want to, as long as we can”.

Enjoy this life, it’s the only one you’ve got.

3. I wish I had the courage to express my feelings.

This one’s difficult.

We often hide our true feelings to protect feelings, to keep peace.  (One of the reasons we do this is we don’t have set boundaries, more on this in another post).

There’s a place for that, but it’s often overdone.

When bitterness and regret result from our feelings towards others, but we say nothing, we’ve gone too far.

Be aware of the trade off of keeping your feelings to yourself.

How to avoid this regret:

Listen more than you talk.

But don’t keep all of your feelings inside on issues that are important to you.

Balance this with the need to keep peace, but be conscious of your decision.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

“Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver, the other gold” comes to my mind as I write this.

More important than material wealth (which, importantly, did NOT make the Top 5 list!) are our relationships.

Make them a priority in your life.

How to avoid this regret:

Be intentional with your relationships.

On my “bucket list”, I’ve created a “Relationship” bucket, and am trying to capture specific actions to maintain and strengthen relationships.

Don’t overlook the importance of friends.

(True friends are the one’s that are there when you need them, not when they need you, remember the difference).

Make time for them.

We all know “self-absorbed” people, who seldom focus on life beyond their own concerns.

Don’t be one of these people.  

Be generous, be giving.

Put others ahead of yourself.

Be a friend.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

“Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice”, said Bronnie.

How to avoid this regret:

Make a personal choice to be happy.

Happiness comes from within, it’s a choice, your choice.

Make a personal decision to be happy.

The definition of contentment as a noun a state of happiness and satisfaction.

(Happiness is NOT having what you want, it is wanting what you have).

Only you can choose this one for yourself.

Choose wisely.

Time passes so quickly.

As an exercise, count up how many months you have already lived and take that from 960 that’s about how long you have left.

What are your plans for the rest of your life?

If you’re not sure then I suggest you get in touch with me, or start thinking about your top 5 regrets.

To your future success.


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