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3 Mistakes You Need to Stop Making Now to Avoid Lifelong Regrets

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3 Mistakes You Need to Stop Making Now to Avoid Lifelong Regrets

Events these last couple of years have sharpened my awareness of just how fragile we are. Suffice to say the sudden loss of a loved one or a grave illness settling in – well these things make us all a bit more aware of just how mortal we really are. In truth we are misers with our money and profligate with our time, and – as cliché says – Time is the one thing we cannot get any more of.

When our time is up, it is up. And we regret the way we spent it and the things we did not do, the kisses forgone, the laughs unheard and the thrills left unknown.

Here’s how to invite less regret into your life:

Trading Existing for Living:

Many of us spend 50+ hours working weekly. It is the biggest chunk of our available time that we regularly burn. If you hate your work you, will be miserable and likely unhappy at home. If you merely like it, you will be unfulfilled. If you love what you do, you will reduce the amount of regret accumulating in your life. No, I don’t believe in ‘find your passion and never have a job again’ – we have to pay our way.

The trick is not to let this become the norm and crush us down to mere day dreaming instead of dream making. If we keep working at our dreams, figuring out how to realise them; how to build them into our lives instead of waning on the periphery, then we can begin to live truly. It will not be easy; takes time, energy and focus, but it will be worth it. All too often we settle for mere existence instead of living. Don’t.

Focussing on the stuff and not the ride:

Whether we pass this way but once or again and again we all tend to accumulate stuff. Stuff that provides momentary joy via fleeting dopamine hit. Stuff that we look at a month later and wonder why we bought it. We focus so much on stuff that we miss the experiences all around us – watching a puppy swim for the first time, having a beer with your son, watching a sunset with your lover. The conscious experiences – the travel, the cruises, the road trips, the sports, the new skills, the woodworking, the painting, the flower arranging, the cooking, the theatre shows, the life events – all of these feed our soul and lessen regret. Don’t focus on stuff.

Letting other lives make ours seem smaller:

Keeping up with the Jones’ has plagued humankind ever since we began to measure our worth by what own. Facebook has amped this up the Nth degree – so many other people on Facebook (or Instagram or Pinterest or…) seem to be living the life of OUR dreams or living a larger one than us. This can make us feel smaller than we are; doubt ourselves, and our efforts. They make us jealous and jealousy is a small person’s emotion.

Accept this truth: People lie. And they often lie on Social Media to buttress their own self-image and ego. Facebook is no place to accept things at face value. Instead, realise that your journey is just that – yours. Either others are lighting the way, or they are following someone’s footsteps. By all means, admire their efforts but focus on putting your feet one after the other as you pursue your path.

Trading Now for Tomorrow:

We do this all the time – I’ll start <insert action > tomorrow. And like the saying goes tomorrow never comes. There is no guarantee that we will have a tomorrow. What was the last TV series you binged watched? How many hours did it burn from your life? What if you used 50% of that time doing something towards reaching a dream? How much regret would you be reducing in your life?

How about deciding to move one step, one-day closer to your dreams by starting today. Now. At the least, you’ll be closer to it tomorrow than if you do nothing today. Memory allows us to return to places again and again – but it doesn’t recapture the time we’ve spent.

Life is a paradox – we have all the time we need to do mighty things but never as much as we think. Decide wisely. End with a smile.

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  • Drew
    Reply

    Beautifully thought through article. Love the part “If we keep working at our dreams, figuring out how to realise them; how to build them into our lives instead of waning on the periphery, then we can begin to live truly”

    Well all need to think more about this.

  • Tracy
    Reply

    What a wonderfully composed article Geoff. I’m still ruminating on your phrase “How about deciding to move one step, one-day closer to your dreams by starting today. Now. At the least, you’ll be closer to it tomorrow than if you do nothing today. Memory allows us to return to places again and again – but it doesn’t recapture the time we’ve spent.”

    Something we all need to be pondering… Thank you

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