One successful entrepreneur reflects on his last conversations with his father, who died unexpectedly at 54, and vows not to live a life of regrets.
“At the end of our lives we all ask: Did I live? Did I love? Did I matter?” ~Brendon Burchard
In April of 2012, my father died at the age of 54. He was relatively young, and his death was a shock. As I sat thinking during his funeral, I kept replaying the last few conversations we had.
The one thing he said in those conversations was he wished he had done more. He told me he had so many dreams and goals that he had never done anything about. He told me to learn the lesson he never learned: don’t die with regret.
His death was a wake-up call and started me on a journey where I lost 170 pounds, moved from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to our dream designation of Maui, Hawaii. I left a job I was miserable at to follow my dream of writing.
Along the way, I learned seven key lessons to not living a life of regret. Here are seven choices you’ll regret at the end of your life if you don’t do something about them today.
- Not truly living. Too often we let our doubt and fear hold us back from the incredible life we all can live. We have so many things we want to do in life yet never do. Truly living doesn’t mean you’re skydiving every other day. It means you don’t hold back; you chase those dreams. You ignore those doubts and create that amazing life. It means that no matter how many times you fall, you get back up and keep pushing forward.
- Not chasing your dreams. Most people spend 40-60 hours of their week working. When you spend that much time doing something, it will affect your life one way or another. If you’re doing work that makes you miserable, every other part of your life will be affected. There are opportunities all around us, and people are making their dreams a reality as you’re reading this. It’s not going to be easy, and it will take time, but it will be worth it.
- Accumulating too much stuff. When we moved to Hawaii, we were shocked by how much stuff we had. We go through life getting things and saving them; we’re afraid to throw things away that we don’t use. Generally, if you haven’t used something in the last year, you probably don’t need it (there can be exceptions of course). That stuff creates clutter, which will lead to stress. At the end of your life, you won’t remember any of that stuff but you will remember any incredible experiences.
- Letting jealousy win. Unfortunately, jealousy is a part of human nature but there are some who know how to deal with it. If you can’t control jealousy, you’ll live a life of regret. Be grateful for your life. Be thankful that you are alive. You may not have as much as someone else but you can and you will if you do something about it.
- Constantly comparing yourself to other people. As I made big changes in my life, one way I measured my progress was comparing my results to what others were doing. I learned the hard way that comparing yourself to others only leads to bitterness and heartache. Your journey is YOUR journey and shouldn’t be compared. Make changes at your pace. As long as you’re moving forward you’ll get there. If someone gets there before you, congratulate him or her and then focus on your journey. Getting caught up in the comparison game won’t help you.
- Letting negative people hold you back. We’re excited to tell our friends or family about changes we’re making in our lives. Sometimes they’re not as excited as we are, and sometimes they’re even negative. If you want to move forward, you have to stay away from negative people. Negative people aren’t happy with themselves and will poison your progress. Pretty soon you’ll start to believe what they’re saying and quit. Get rid of the negative and you’ll live a happier life.
- Starting tomorrow. We always think we have more time when the reality is we’re not guaranteed a tomorrow. Every day is a gift, and we should live each day as if it were the last. The time to start isn’t tomorrow because tomorrow may never come. Start today and tomorrow you’ll be close to living out your dream. Start today and you won’t die with regret in your heart.
I can tell you from personal experience that chasing your dreams is hard work. There are many ups and downs. There are many days when you want to quit.
The best thing you can do is to take it one day at a time. Instead of focusing on the big changes you want to make, focus on waking up and doing what you have to do that day. As you take it one day at a time, you’ll look up after a while and realize you there.
Life is too short to spend even a single moment miserable. Start reaching your finish line and create that amazing life. Come to the end of your life with a smile on your face knowing that you have no regrets.
How are you living a life of no regrets?
Originally published on Huffington Post.
Photo: Flickr/Artis Rams