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Biggest Regrets in Life and How to Avoid Them

The older I get the more I am concerned about the biggest regrets in my life and now, how to avoid them.

There are things in the past I can’t do anything about. But some of the biggest regrets I could potentially have I can still do something about.

Some of the biggest regrets in our final days according to Bronnie Ware’s Live Without Regret:

  • I wish I had had the courage to do what I wanted to do. Not what was expected of me.
  • I wish I had followed my passion.
  • I wish I had listened to my gut more.
  • I wish I had allowed myself to be happier
  • I wish I hadn’t worked so much (especially if it was unfulfilling)

If you have to ask those questions at the end, the answers are most likely, tragically disappointing (you wouldn’t be asking them if you could answer in the affirmative).

In the latter phase of life, we hear the clock ticking and we begin to wonder what our legacy will be. We focus on missed opportunities. Things we didn’t go after. Wondering if we made a difference. Did we live up to our potential?

Those are the biggest regrets in life, now how do I avoid them?

I call this the “Rocking Chair” test. Imagine sitting in a rocking chair and you know you have little time left in life. Ask yourself the questions that are important to you and then imagine how you will feel when you answer them.

Some of the most common questions asked in our dying days:

  • Did my life have meaning?
  • Did I make an impact?
  • Was (am) I happy?
  • (Your question here).

Not the answers you want? A feeling of regret already?

Take heart. It’s not too late and in fact, you have just given yourself one of the greatest gifts you could ever receive.

“Figure out those questions (and discover your answers) and then live each day intentionally so that you are happy with your answers at the end.”

Brendon Buchard on Tom Bilyeu’s Impact Theory

While there’s still time, take action.

Are you afraid you’be blown it or that you won’t step up and find a new way forward to make it otherwise? That fear can actually be a good thing.

Fear is one of if not the most powerful motivational forces there is. Facing and overcoming that fear makes your undertaking an absolute necessity, not just a desire. Using fear “constructively” is a very powerful tool.

“You’ve taken your first step into a larger world.” –Ben Kenobi, Star Wars IV

The awareness you’ve gained and your strong emotional motivations will open you to new possibilities. This effort can shift your mindset and change the trajectory of your life.

My answers to Brendon’s questions have been largely full of regret. Yes, I am incredibly grateful and proud of a 40+ year relationship with my companion. Yes, we raised two incredible sons. Yes, I have had two highly successful careers. Yes, I have a lot to be grateful for.

Yet, outside of my sons, I feel I am not leaving much of a legacy and I have definitely not lived up to what I believe my potential is nor the impact I could have made. I am truly fearful of being on my deathbed with a lot of regrets largely because I just didn’t aim as high as I “coulda, shoulda, woulda”.

I am using that fear as a motivator when I need it. Primarily I am envisioning what I am going to do to assure I don’t fail my own rocking chair test.

New Way Forward is what I am doing. Succeed or fail, at least I tried and I am enjoying and being fulfilled by the effort each step of the way. I am following Brendon’s advice as if my life depended on it (and in a way it does).

A wonderful life, NOW!

By simply pursuing the actions necessary to give you the answers you desire you will instantly raise your happiness. Each step along the journey you will be fulfilled. You will experience some of, if not the best years of your life and have a chance to achieve the results you want and desperately need. So, it bears repeating.

“Figure out those questions (and discover your answers) and then live each day intentionally so that you are happy with your answers at the end.” 

There is no better time in life to do this. As someone in this latter phase of life, you have the experience, the knowledge and the motivation to achieve amazing results and fulfillment.

At this point in life, you are far beyond having to make life choices as a college-age student with limited life knowledge and perspective.

You know and you can. You now know what your potential biggest regrets in life and are and how to avoid them and the time is probably just right.

The encumbrances of building a career or providing for a family are probably lessened or removed so you have more freedom.

The world has changed to allow for incredible opportunities for anyone who has the motivation and desire to go after them. Even if your financial needs are a priority, why not set a direction to fulfill your needs and fulfillment while still earning what you need?

You have nothing to lose and EVERYTHING to gain.

“Don’t die with your music still in you.”  – Wayne Dyer