Regretting what we don't do

People regret their inactions more than their actions in the long term.

  • A mistake makes you feel a great deal of regret, but you get over it quickly because you most likely can fix it.
  • You can’t fix what was never done in the first place. Inaction, the utter lack of trying, is what will truly haunt you. 
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Self Improvement

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What we regret

The regrets that bother us the most involve failing to live up to our “ideal selves.” 

We’re not as bothered by the mistakes we’ve made or the things we ought to have done as we are bothered by never becoming the person we truly wanted to be.

  • The actual self is what a person believes to be now, based on current attributes and abilities. 
  • The ideal self is comprised of the attributes and abilities a person would like to possess one day— goals, hopes, and aspirations. 
  • The ought self is who someone believes they should have been according to their obligations and responsibilities.

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Common themes surfaced again and again...

Bronnie Ware is an Australian nurse who spent several years working in palliative care, caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives.

She recorded their dying epiphanies in a blog called Inspiration and Chai, which gathered so much attention that she put her observations into a book called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.

"When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently," she says, "common themes surfaced again and again."

Top five regrets of the dying

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Big decisions are significant because they are rare

We make decisions throughout life. Some decisions are big and affect our lives for years or even decades.

A big decision is so significant because it is rare. You don't get an opportunity to learn from your mistakes. This makes it important to learn from others who have been there before.

I asked hundreds of people about their biggest life decisions. Here's what I learned

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Not Asking for Help

There are a handful of reasons we don’t ask for help, but it’s usually because we’re too proud or scared, and that’s a huge waste of time, because it keeps you from moving forward.

If you feel stuck in your career or need to learn new skills and have no idea how to get started, talking to other people in your field will go a long way. 

The Biggest Wastes of Time We Regret When We Get Older

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