By Anubhav Srivastava ( Register for his Workshop – Build Super Confidence For Super Success!)
More often than not in life, no matter how high we rise up professionally, we always seem to make major mistakes that lead to some of the biggest life regrets. Regrets so deep that they often eat us from the inside and make us feel repeatedly that had we done things differently in the past, our present would turn out much better. Let’s look at 10 of the biggest life regrets most people are likely to end up having. Read through them, see if you are making any of these same mistakes and change course while you still have time!
Letting go of the right life partner
We all often come across a person who fulfils us so completely that you could call them a true love. However for one reason or the other we let them go because of our own mistakes and then forever miss them when no one else matches up to them. Thinking that the grass is greener on the other side or blinded by superficial problems in the relationship / attraction for someone else we often end up hurting the people we love the most and then end up living a life of regret when they go away.
A rule of the thumb to identify if you are with the life partner is 1) To ask yourself whether you love them and they love you. 2) Ask yourself whether you have similar life goals 3) Can you imagine a happy future with them despite the problems you are facing today. If the answer to all the three questions is a yes, you probably should not let them go. Letting go of the right person is indeed one of the biggest life regrets.
Staying with the wrong partner for too long.
Just as letting go of the right partner is going to fill you up with regret, staying with the wrong one for your entire life is also going to be one of your biggest life regrets. However, everyone feels their partner is wrong from time to time and so you need to be sure whether this just a case of thinking that the grass is greener elsewhere, or whether you are truly with someone who is massively destructive for your mind, body and soul. Life is short and you should live it out with someone who makes you happy. But for some people letting go of the wrong partner is extremely difficult. So the key is to identify where your happiness lies and asking yourself whether you will be hurt more by staying with the wrong partner or whether leaving them will hurt more.
Saying or doing things without thinking
A lot of times in anger we often say or do things that end up doing more harm than good and change the course of our lives considerably. A popular saying mentions that Words and actions are like arrows, once you send them out, you cannot take them back. The damage has already been done.
When you say or do the wrong things to the wrong people without being ready for the consequences you will suffer as a result. There are so many examples of talented people who destroyed their careers and friendships because they did not think twice before saying or doing things that the other person found offensive. This does not mean you should become tolerating of injustice, it just means you should think of everything before you act and only take action when you are willing to face the consequences. Don’t jump at something emotionally and then later regret it. It will only get you into trouble. In extreme cases the regret and the trouble maybe lifelong.
Saying or doing things after thinking way too long and then losing the opportunity.
This is the opposite of doing things without thinking and this too can leave you with great regret. Most of the opportunities we have are only there for a limited period of time. If you don’t come to a decision within that time period then those opportunities pass and may never come again. Whether it is asking out or saying yes to a love prospect, a career opportunity or having a desire to do something that you always keep postponing out of fear, you will miss out on all those opportunities if you keep delaying for too long and end up with big life regrets.
The person you like may fall for someone else, the career opportunity may go to another candidate, what you wanted to do earlier may never be possible again after a certain period of time. So if you are perplexed about something, take some time consult with family, friends and others if you have to and then come to a decision within a specified period of time. Indecision is the worst decision and contributes to life’s biggest regrets.
Ignoring your family
We all claim to love our family the most. We say whatever we do, whatever hard work we put in, whatever money we make it is all for them. But ironically, in the quest for money, career advancement and building new social connections we end up ignoring our family the most because we take them for granted.
You think you have all the time in the world to be with your family once you reach retirement, right? Well, if you think that way this too will turn out to be among the biggest life regrets you will ever have. Given the unpredictability of life, what guarantee do you have that you will even reach that age? What guarantee do you have that your children who become used to you not being around won’t start prioritising their own needs over spending time with you? What guarantee do you have that your spouse who is fed up with you not paying attention to them will care about you once you are around? What about your parents? They are the people who spent all their lives trying to give you a good life only for you to abandon them in their old age for the sake of your career.
If family is the most important part of your life then for gods sake treat it as such! Try pro actively to free up as much time as you reasonably can for your family and enjoy life with them while you can.
Sacrificing Your Health
The biggest asset that we all have, without which it would be impossible to do anything is our health and yet we have made a pattern of sacrificing our health for the sake of money and then spending the money to try and save our health (which doesn’t always work)
Of course many health problems are inevitable in some people with age, especially those with a massive genetic predisposition but then there are many that are created by us because we refuse to listen to our body and keep punishing it over and over again because we have been taught, “ No Pain, No Gain” Well you have also been taught,“ Health is Wealth” so why ignore that? The no pain, no gain philosophy should only be applied till it does not start to affect your long term mental and physical well being.
Do whatever is under your control to take control of your health now, put exercise on the same priority as your work, start taking care of diet and adopting healthy habits. The more you can take care of your mind and body the more it will be in a position to take care of your work.
Taking your life decisions based on what others say.
There is no doubt that others can offer valuable advice and opinions that can be helpful, the problem is when they force their decisions on you, decisions that can change the course of your life tremendously. Decisions that will make you miserable but you take them anyway to make people around you happy or to avoid criticism.
Compromising on your life goals for the sake of other people around (For example parents) in the short term may seem like a safer and much less riskier option but in the long term it will only harbour intense anger, resentment and regret. Always remember that even if you fail when you take your own decisions, at least it will never lead to resentment because whatever you chose to do was your own decision. On the other hand if you live a life dictated by others you may slowly grow to hate and resent even the people you love. This can become one of your biggest life regrets.
Spending your money to impress people who don’t care about you
No doubt money is meant to be spent but where you spend your money and the consequences of it will play a major role on whether it becomes one of the biggest regrets in life. A lot of times we blow away our hard earned money or our parents money for the sake of other people on things that we do not even enjoy.
There are countless examples of people spending their life earnings on something they don’t want to do just to make their spouses happy. There are countless examples of people who in an attempt to look wealthy spend lavishly on people in society. The same people maybe neck deep in debt but in an order to hide that they continue their bad habits. Eventually the truth catches up to them and so do the creditors and they end up being broke.
It is ok to spend money on things you truly enjoy and things that make you happy but it is incredibly stupid to spend money on things you hate just to impress other people who don’t even care about you. On the flip side being excessively miserly and hoarding up your money without putting it to good use is a stupid financial decision as well because money is meant to be used to live a productive and fulfilling life. So spend the money when you need to. Make sure your financial habits do not become one of your biggest life regrets.
Not having enough fun in life
Of course fun is subjective and what is fun to someone may not be fun to someone else. Some like partying, others like travelling, others just want a nice quiet time by themselves or with their loved ones. But most of us get so caught up in careers and dream jobs and family responsibilities that we forget to actually enjoy life. We get stuck in a rut whether it is in a 9 to 5 job, that actually makes us work 60 hours a week or working constantly when you run your own business. It’s always about planning for the future, it is always about trying to make it secure for ourselves and for our kids.
In the process of this constant rat race we forget that we are not meant to be robots. Robots work all the time without any need for fun, relaxation or pleasure. But we are humans, our lives are so much more than just constantly working or planning for the future. When you die it is not the number of hours you spent working on that office project you will remember, it is the fun and positive memories you create for yourself, moments where you were truly carefree and happy that will matter. Make sure you create a lot of those memories while you still can! Don’t make a boring life one of your biggest life regrets.
Never trying to go after your dream seriously, even once.
Everyone has dreams that they see as children, a lucky few see them come true and a majority of people do not. The sad part is that it is not that most people do not accomplish their dreams because of repeated failure, they don’t accomplish it because most of them never even gave it a serious shot even once.
Dreams and aspirations are what make us human and separate us from animals. Animals live life doing the same things everyday without any aim or meaning. Their life is a meaningless repetition. Sadly, most people do the exact same thing. In the rat race to make a living, they forget how to live. But the great thing about humans is that we have the power of conscious choice, in other words we can make a choice to do things differently should we really want to. It is likely that we only have one shot at life, why live with regret? Go after your dreams and try again and again and again. Either do not give up or give up only after you have tried your extreme best. At least this way even if you fail, you will never end up with one of the biggest life regrets of them all – The regret of failing because you never tried.
I hope you have found this article useful. The thing with these biggest life regrets is that a lot of it comes from experience and it’s hard for you to know if you are doing the wrong thing until your decision doesn’t work out the way you thought and comes back to bite you hard. However, the good part is you don’t always have to make your own mistakes to learn from them, you can learn from others mistakes. The list I presented to you is based on a pattern of things that a large percentage of middle aged and older people consistently mention among the biggest life regrets they have had. So learn from these mistakes. You maybe able to change course when you still have time and ultimately live a life that has more joyful memories in it than it has regrets.
The author of this article, Anubhav Srivastava is an author, motivational speaker and the director of Carve Your Destiny, a first of its kind inspirational documentary featuring some of the most famous personalities from diverse fields, who teach the viewers how they too can make all of their dreams come true. The movie itself has been seen on Youtube by close to 600,000 people. Anubhav has also been featured in numerous International and India Media outlets such as BBC , The Times of India, Hindustan Times, Rediff.com, Leicester Mercury and many others.
Email Anubhav Srivastava for coaching, consulting or motivational speaking queries at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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