Top 10 most common dying regrets

TOP 10 Most Common Dying Regrets People Have

What are the dreams you say “one day‌” to over and over again? What are the things you’d love to try and places you’d love to see? What would you do if you were not scared of failing, being rejected, or just finding out it won’t work?‌ We keep procrastinating and prioritising with the wrong things thinking life is long, and we’ll have plenty of time to do it later. You may do now, but one day you won’t. If you knew how much time you have left, would you do things differently?‌ Let me tell you a true story.  Bronnie Ware was a nurse providing palliative care. She often supported her patients through the last weeks of their lives. She said; 
“Some incredibly special times and conversations were shared, sometimes about regrets people had or things they would have done differently.”
It had such impact on her that she wrote a book about it “ The Top Five Regrets of the Dying – A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing” where she shares a few common themes that emerged in her conversations.  Brownie’s book is truly moving and is one of many reports of how differently people look at life when their final days come and what they’d do differently if they had the opportunity again.  I want to share with you the ten most common regrets people have. Hopefully, it will get you thinking and will give you the push you need to do something about it while you can. 

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

This is by far the most common regret people have. The regret of not following their dreams, callings, and not living according to their own values. We are constantly bombarded by opinions and expectations of how we should be, what’s right for us, whether by our parents, peers, or society as a whole.  If you have dreams, give them a try. There is no guarantee that you will succeed. But when you’re on the journey you will feel truly alive, you’ll grow a lot, and whether you make it or not, you’ll be content that you’ve tried. 

2) I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

It’s easy to get absorbed by work and career progression at the expense of everything else. There’s a lot to gain, but also a lot to lose. People often regret putting work above everything else, especially family and spending time with their children and partners. We often want to provide better for the people around us, but it may not be a bad idea to ask them whether they actually want more comfortable life or having you around more.  There is a saying I‌ think sums it up.  Everyone knows money won’t bring you happiness, but everyone wants to find out for themselves.  Try to find the right balance between the things you care about.

3) I wish I didn’t care so much about what other people think.

I so can confirm this.  It’s a fear and regret many people have throughout their life, not just at the end of it. That paralysing fear of others judging us. The funny thing is that people don’t care about us as much as we think.  They are probably busy worrying about what you and others think of them.  I always say: You’d be so disappointed if you only knew how little people think of you.  The average person has around 50,000 thoughts in one day. Even if they had ten thoughts about you, that’s just 0.02%. 0.02%! Let them have it. Who cares. Is that worth you being unhappy and not being yourself?‌

4) I wish I had let myself be happier.

This is a surprisingly common one. Whether you believe it or not, happiness is a choice. We often make happiness conditional to “when I‌ have something, or when I am someone”. Sadly it often takes an extreme circumstance to realised that we can be happy just because we want to.  Happiness is an art of appreciation.  If you don’t know how to appreciate what you have now, there’s no point getting more.  Don’t wait for the final days to realise you can be happy. Enjoy and appreciate every day and every little thing as if it was for the last time because one day it will. 

5) I wish I hadn’t settled for what was easy.

As you can imagine, this one resonates with me a lot. We all have a tendency to settle for what’s easy and comfortable.  It’s human nature.  But we pay a high price for it – living with knowing that we could do better if we really tried.  Many people regret not being more courageous and disciplined rather than fearful and lazy.  Life has so much to offer. And from all the work I’ve done with others and on myself, the biggest joy is often not the “success” or material gains, but rather who we’ve become in the process and being proud of who we are. 

6) I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

We all bite our tongue from time to time. I get it. Not many people enjoy conflicts and arguments.  But many people suppress their feelings just to keep peace with others. It creates bitterness and resentment people carry around, and it often develops into illnesses as a result.  You don’t have to rub in everyone’s face what you think. But you should always be true to yourself. Do you want to be respected for being honest or liked for being fake?‌ Honesty will allow you to create and grow genuine relationships in your life and push away fake and unhealthy ones.  Either way, you win. 

7) I wish I had taken care of my body.

It’s usually our health that cannot keep up anymore in our final days.  Our body is our temple. It is what keeps us alive. Although we don’t always treat it that way.  It’s so easy to live an unhealthy lifestyle. A bad diet is cheap and convenient. To avoid exercising you literally need to do nothing. Please don’t get fooled by anecdotal evidence of people who smoked 60 cigarets a day and lived to be 100 years old.  You can get away with it for a bit, but not forever. Most of us have incredibly easy access to healthy food options and find ways to exercise. It may not be your first option, but your health should be.  But the better you take care of your body, the better it will take care of you. 

8) I wish I travelled more to see the world

Are there places around the world you’d love to see or things to experience?‌ The Great Pyramids, Amazon, Statue of liberty, or maybe seeing your favourite band playing live? Make it happen if your health still allows you to. Money and logistics can always be worked out. If you need to save up for it for some time, so be it.  Travelling will enrich your life and help you see the bigger picture of life. (You will have great stories to tell). I’ve visited around 20 countries, and it all has been an incredible experience. There are still many more I‌ want to see.  Studies show that travelling can improve your health and enhance your overall happiness and creativity.  Make the time to see the places on your bucket list. It will be worth every moment and every penny. 

9) I wish I didn’t worry so much

Do you worry a lot?‌ You’re not alone. People worry A‌ LOT. How many of the things you worried about and catastrophised in your mind have actually happened?‌ Not many, if any at all.  Things can go wrong in life, I get it, but does worrying help it in any way?‌ Next time you worry about something, ask yourself: – Does it really matter in the grand scheme of things?‌ If not, let it go.  – Is there something I can do about it?‌ If so, do it. It will empower you.  – If not, let it go. 

10) I wish I had tried harder to figure out what will fulfill me

Not being clear on what, what we love, and what fulfils us is a recipe not only for a painful regret at the end of our days but also for a life that we get through rather than truly live.  People often expect that they should just know what their purpose in life is or what would fulfil them.  That’s not how it works. We have to figure it out.  Sometimes it takes years of exploration, trials, mistakes and failures.  That’s the price to pay.  It’s probably the biggest joy in life, so don’t expect it to come easy.  I can assure you that there is something out there for you.  You just need to find it and give yourself the opportunity to fall in love with it.  So, these were the ten most common dying regrets.  I hope it stirs you into action.  Don’t wait, live so you will have no regrets.  Let the fear of missing out get the best out of you.  If you want to start following your dreams, take action and have no regrets, get a coach. Maybe I’d be the right life coach for you and you the right client for me. Contact me and let’s schedule the initial discovery session and find out if we’d be the right match. Check out my YouTube channel


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