The thought of lying on your deathbed with a bucket full of regrets is anything but pleasant. Nor is the thought of getting to an age when it’s simply too late to put things right. But is there a list of top ten failings most people end up with? What if you could get that list in your early 20s? Wouldn’t it be great if you could read it, actually take it on board and go on to learn the lessons most people learn too late? Would you take note and make changes?
All I can do is list the ten lessons many learn too late. Whether you’ll take them seriously or not, is entirely up to you. Whatever you do, don't come back to me in 50 years lamenting that you didn't.
Take a look at the top ten and see which ones you would like to learn.
- The Dream Is Important
Despite what sensible people may tell you about not building castles in the sky, your dreams are an integral part of who you are and you should honor them. Many people progress through life, following the sensible career and life path, they feel they ought to follow. Those brave enough to follow their dream end up happier, even if that dream doesn’t come through in the way they had envisioned. You may, for example, think of yourself as a world-renowned singer only to then realize that you simply haven’t got a quality voice. Should you, therefore, be ditching your dream? Should you allow it to develop and mutate into something perfect for you? It seems many people who do cast their dreams aside end up regretting it.
- Don’t Over-Emphasize Your Career
Many people get to retirement age and realize that they have missed out on family time. Their ambition drove them to success, however, the fulfillment never really followed. It seems relationships, love, and friendship are ultimately more important and infinitely more fulfilling than great professional achievements.
- Spend Time with Family and Friends
In the same train of thought, many realize they missed out on family and friend time when they are old and gray. They wish they had prioritized that time but realize that it’s too late. Life rushes by, kids grow up and today’s busy schedules don’t lend themselves to spending a whole lot of time with loved-ones. If you can, make time now, make time every week and cultivate relationships.
- Save a Little Throughout Your Life
Many people regret, not having saved a little cash each week. Even small weekly amounts add up and will make for a comfortable old age. If at 70, you have no money set aside, you’ll find it difficult to have a nice time.
- Don’t Stop Yourself from Doing Things
It seems when you get to the winter of your life, you regret all the things you didn’t do rather than the things you did. You regret not asking that girl out for a drink or taking that crazy vacation. You regret, not having tried to make that career change, in short, you regret not doing the things you knew in your heart and soul would have been good for you. Don't be afraid. Do them!
- Kindness Rocks
Many people wish they had recognized the beauty, simplicity, and power of kindness much earlier in life. Everyone is busy getting ahead, competing, often at the cost of kindness. Looking back over an entire life, many begin to value the kindness given and received and come to grasp its gentle power.
- Be True to Yourself and Others
It seems important to be true to yourself and not go through life trying to impress by pretending to be someone else. Authenticity and showing the odd bit of vulnerability appear to be a recipe for a happier life and better relationships.
- Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
Spending lots of time worrying about rather irrelevant stuff also appears to be a no-no. Many people realize when they are old and frail, that the needless worry only caused stress and did not have any positive impact. Many things are beyond our control, regardless of whether we worry about them or not. Life itself produces enough real issues in need of attention and people need plenty of energy to deal with the big stuff.
- Don’t Obsess About Possessions
Though luxury items and a fat bank account can be a source of joy, a lot of people come to the realization that this joy is only skin-deep and does not compare with the joy produced by simple things like spending time with others or having a good laugh. Having a big villa when old does not seem to be a recipe for happiness either, nor can you bring that stash of cash into the grave. Instead, making plenty of happy memories to draw from when you are too old to seek adventures seems to be the wiser choice.
- Live and Let Live
Bossing people around or allowing others to determine your life is also a recipe for misery and there is a lot to be said for the “live and let live philosophy”. Trying to control others or allowing other to determine your fortunes does not make for a happy existence.
Perhaps it’s important to learn early on in life that the best things in life really are free and do not cost any money. The often-futile pursuit of power, status and wealth may produce some happiness and satisfaction, however, meaningful relationships and fun appear to be far more enriching. Having the courage to follow your heart to a sensible degree and leading an authentic life can also fulfill.
Remembering that life is short and flies by quickly should also make you do as much happy stuff right now as you possibly can. Before you know it, you’ll be old and gray too, and hopefully, you’ll have no regrets whatsoever. Carpe diem!