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Regrets you would have?

An imagination question...

Einstein was able to discover hidden secrets of the universe by doing mind experiments. We don't need to be an Einstein to do mind experiments about our own life to discover what may not otherwise be obvious to us.

You're probably not going to die within the next three months. Or, even if you are, you don't know about it yet. But imagine the following:

  • Whatever your current age, imagine that you're at least 70 years old. Let's make it 76.

  • Also imagine that up to this point at 76 years old you had continued to live your life in the same basic manner that you have lived your life up until now at your current age, whether that is 32 or 52 or whatever. 

  • A doctor, backed up by a second opinion, both of whom you have strong reason to trust, says that you'll be dead within three months. You're not going to reach 77 years old. You're coming to the end of your life.

  • What would you regret about how you have lived your life? Hint: it would be similar to what you would regret now if you knew you were dying within the next three months since you're imagining that you did not change your basic manner of living your life. Your #1 regret? Your #2 regret? Your #3 regret?

Answer this question before continuing with this page.

Compare your answers to the real dying

Bronnie Ware was an Australian nurse who spent several years working in hospices, caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives. Deciding to interview her patients, she asked them, "What have been the biggest regrets of your life?" From their answers, she wrote the book, "The Top Five Regrets of the Dying."

Here is what she discovered.

  1. "I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me."

  2. "I wish I hadn't worked so hard."

  3. "I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings."

  4. "I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends."

  5. "I wish that I had let myself be happier."

Their regrets reflected their lack of integrity in the way lived their lives

I don't mean "integrity" like "honesty" and "keeping your word," although these can be important. I mean fundamental integrity as outlined in Anatomy of Integrity and as addressed in the FFI toolkit, the NNI toolkit, and the OOI toolkit.

Let's look at regrets #1, #3, and #4.

These regrets, especially #1 and #3, indicate a lack of Oneself-Others Integrity as well as Frightened-Fearless Integrity (also known as courage). 

Regrets #2 and #5 are strongly indicative of a lack of Now-Next Integrity, including Pleasure-Plan Integrity.

We can learn from the "mistakes" of others

Unless you're indulging in the fatebelief of karma and reincarnation, which I am not, you're not going to believe that you get to experiment with this life, or any life, again from the beginning to end. This life is it.

Let's learn from the regrets of others so that we're less likely to have them ourselves. I recommend doing 14:24: the key to your life as the closest thing to guarantee that any regrets you currently have will disappear and that no new ones are likely to develop.

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