I’ve always liked reading articles where someone interviews older people and asks them what regrets they have, what they would do differently knowing what they now know.
There are 3 common notes that stand out to me.
1) I wish I’d had the courage to be who I wanted to be.
Tony Montana said it best in the movie Scarface: “You all a bunch of fuckin’ assholes. You know why? You don’t have the guts to be what you wanna be. You need people like me. You need people like me so you can point your fuckin’ fingers and say, “That’s the bad guy.” So… what that make you? Good? You’re not good. You just know how to hide, how to lie. Me, I don’t have that problem.”
This is one I can see in people even when they’re “young:” living a life that’s not theirs, never pursuing the person they really want to be — all the while, fully knowing it.
But being who they wanna be doesn’t pay well. It’s risky. They’d be giving up a good job. The husband / wife would object. They have kids to take care of. And so on.
I’m not saying they’re wrong. It’s just what I’ve seen and heard many times.
I recently met a woman who’s very much into saving the environment and taking care of the planet. She does yoga and all kinds of meditations; she’s traveled the world and had “spiritual awakenings.”
She was earning a high-six-figure salary working in the oil & gas industry.
She kept that job for a long time, though, because she was great at it and it paid well. She finally quit because she knew she was being a hypocrite. Now she’s going to start her own business coaching people and helping them have their own awakenings.
2) I wish I had kept in touch with my friends.
This one is kind of an oxymoron: your real friends won’t disappear on you. Those who do, were never actually your friends.
Yet, I know many people who, last I spoke to them, everything between us was cool — but they got missing on me. I can’t find them online because they don’t want to be found.
There was a movie years ago called “I Love You, Man” about a guy who was engaged, with one problem: he didn’t have any friends. There were no men he could call on to be in his wedding party, while his fiancé had lots of female friends.
Don’t be that person. Go to lunch. Make a phone call. Send a text. Hold on to those who you have.
3) I wish I hadn’t worked so much.
This one is usually accompanied by regrets of not spending time with your kids or other loved ones, time that was traded for career-chasing. I work a lot. As of this writing, I don’t have kids, so I have an excuse.
A good thing about the world we live in now is that we can design our work around our lifestyles and have both.
Listen to my episode talking about these dying regrets, #494: Biggest Regret Of The Dying: “I Didn’t Take Chances”, here: http://DreAllDay.com/494-