10 Regrets Too Many People Will Have in 10 Years
1. Not spending enough quality time with the right people. — At some point, you’ll just want to be around the few people who make you smile for all the right reasons. So today, spend more time with those who help you love yourself more—spend more time with those who make you feel good, and less time with those who you feel pressured to impress. Never be too busy to make room in your day for the ones who matter most. And remember that nothing you can give will ever be more appreciated than your sincere, focused attention—your full presence. Truly being with someone, and listening without a clock and without anticipation of the next event, is the ultimate compliment.
2. Not expressing your love openly and honestly with those you love. — Without question, you’re going to lose people in your life. Realize that no matter how much time you spend with someone, or how much you appreciate them, sometimes it will never seem like you had enough time together. Don’t learn this lesson the hard way. Express your love! Tell people what you need to tell them. Don’t shy away from important conversations because you feel awkward or uncomfortable. You never know when you might lose your opportunity. Is it really possible to tell someone what you feel? Yes, it is. They won’t always understand, because even when they’ve heard you, they can’t feel exactly what you feel inside. But you still have to speak up for your own peace of mind. If you appreciate someone today, tell them. If you have something else important to say, say it. Hearts are often confused and broken open by words left unspoken.
3. Basing a significant portion of your self-worth on other people’s opinions of you. — We tend to forget that most people judge us based on experiences from their own life that have absolutely nothing to do with us. For example, a person might assume things about you based entirely on a troubled past experience they had with someone else who looks somewhat like you. Therefore, basing any part of your self-worth on what they think puts you in limbo—you are literally at the mercy of their unreliable, bias perspective. If they see you in the right light, and respond to you in a positive, affirming manner, then you feel good about yourself. And if not, you feel like you did something wrong. The bottom line is that you will never find your worth in another human being—you find it in yourself, and then you will attract those who are worthy of your energy. And in the meantime, not overreacting or taking things personally will keep your mind clear and your heart at peace.
4. Being too busy impressing others and forgetting about what matters to YOU. — Ten years from now it won’t really matter what shoes you wore today, how your hair looked, or what brand of clothes you wore. What will matter is how you lived, how you loved, and what you learned along the way. So forget about impressing people for the sake of it. Be real instead! If you want to impress someone, impress yourself by making progress on something you’re sincerely proud of. Focus on what matters! It’s truly amazing what you can accomplish in a day when you aren’t incessantly worried about what everyone else in the world is thinking and doing. Just show yourself that you can grow and get better. It’s never about impressing or competing with others. In the end, it’s just you vs. you.
5. Letting uncertainty paralyze you. — Trust me now and thank me later, embrace uncertainty! Because some of the most incredible chapters of your life won’t have a title you feel comfortable with until much later. Living is risky business. Every decision, every interaction, every step, every time you get out of bed in the morning, you take a small, uncertain risk. To truly live is to know you’re getting up and taking that risk, and to trust yourself to take it. If you don’t—if you let uncertainty win—you will never know anything for sure, and in many ways this unknowing will be worse than finding out your hunch was wrong. Because if you were wrong, you could make adjustments and carry on with your life without ever looking back and wondering what might have been. Remember this, and find the courage you need! You don’t need guarantees 24/7. That’s not how life works. In life you can be comfortable or courageous, but not both at once.
6. Focusing on failures instead of opportunities. — Well, it’s true, you have failed and you have been hurt in the past. But it’s also true that you have loved, and been loved. That you have risked, and received. That you have grown not just older, but wiser. And all of this carries a weight of its own—a greater weight than any particular failure or wound. In fact, it’s better to have a life full of small wounds and failures that you learned from, rather than a lifetime filled with the regrets of never trying. Think about it! Have you ever seen a toddler learn to walk? They stumble and fall numerous times before getting it right. The falls are learning opportunities. Oftentimes it takes pain and patience to make lasting progress. So don’t let time pass you by like a hand waving from a train you desperately want to be on. Don’t spend the rest of your life thinking about why you didn’t do what you can do right now.
7. Holding on too tight to every ideal, and then missing out on real opportunities. — You can’t lose what you never had, you can’t keep what’s not yours, and you can’t hold on to something that does not want to stay. But you can drive yourself mad by trying. What you need to realize is that most things are only a part of your life because you keep thinking about them. Stop holding on to what hurts, and make room for what feels right! Do not let what is out of your control interfere with all the things you can control. In other words, say “goodbye” to what didn’t work out so you can say “hello” to what might. In life, goodbyes are a gift. When certain people walk away from you, and certain opportunities close their doors on you, there is no need to hold on to them or pray to keep them present in your life. If they close you out, take it as a direct indication that these people, circumstances and opportunities are not part of the next chapter in your life. It’s a hint that your personal growth requires someone different or something more, and life is simply making room.
8. Playing the victim for far too long. — If you always play the victim, you will always be treated like one. Life isn’t fair, but you don’t have to let the past define your future. Remember that time you thought you couldn’t make it through? You did, and you’ll do it again. Don’t let your challenges get the best of you. Don’t let your insecurities bully you into a corner. Don’t be your own victim! Take the next smallest step. The greatest of all mistakes is to do nothing simply because you can only do a little. And you can ALWAYS do a little! Where you are right now is necessary. Sometimes we avoid experiencing exactly where we are because we have developed a belief, based on our ideals, that it is not where we should be. But the truth is, where you are right now is exactly where you need to be to take the next smallest step forward.
9. Waiting, overanalyzing, and never taking the necessary steps. — Too often we waste our time waiting for the ideal path to appear, but it never does, because we forget that paths are made by walking, not waiting. Remember this! It’s easy to be lazy and wait around. It’s easy to waste another day. But you need to do the opposite! Decide what you want to accomplish and get it done. Action is worry’s worst enemy. Action is the best ammunition. Action brings progress! So do not confuse senseless movement with real action. Whenever you find yourself at a point of intense decision-making where you’re caught in a cycle of over-analysis and hesitation, and you’re making zero progress, take a deep breath, break the cycle, make an educated guess on the next logical step, and take it. Even if you get it wrong, you will learn something useful that will help you get it right. A daily ritual of small, positive steps is the ultimate key.
10. Being too busy to appreciate your life. — Take action, work hard, but don’t forget to pause and pay attention to life’s little moments too. That’s honestly the best advice there is. Realize that life is simply a collection of little chances for happiness, each lived one moment at a time. That some time each day should be spent noticing the beauty in the space between the big events. That moments of dreaming and sunsets and refreshing breezes cannot be bettered. But most of all, realize that life is about being present, watching and listening and working without a clock and without anticipation of results at every moment, and sometimes, on really good days, for letting these little moments fill your heart with intense gratitude. Truth be told, you will inevitably, whether tomorrow or on your deathbed, come to wish that you had spent less time worrying and rushing through your life, and more time actually being mindful and appreciative of each day.