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  • Writer's pictureJoe Arnold

What's really important?

Human potential is something that I am really interested in, and I regularly question whether or not I am living life to the fullest. I read a lot of books and listen to a lot of podcasts and audiobooks on the topics of personal growth and self-development - there is a lot of information out there to absorb and process! How can we digest this abundant and sometimes overwhelming amount of information to determine what is really important to us in life?


If only we knew the thoughts of all the people who have lived a life. What were their best times? What were their worst times? If they could go back and live life again, what would they do differently?


Well… I recently came across a book by an Australian palliative care nurse called Bronnie Ware called ‘The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying’. Bronnie talks about how when she was caring for people in their final weeks, she picked out patterns and similarities in what people was saying.


She said that the most common things people said at the end of their lives were:

·        I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me

·        I wish I hadn’t worked so hard

·        I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings

·        I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends

·        I wish I had let myself be happier


Surprising? Note that there is no mention of anything material.


I wonder… how many dreams go unfulfilled? How much time is spent doing less important things? How many emotions are supressed? How many friendships fade away? How many people don’t choose happiness?


These regrets can serve as lessons so we can make wiser choices based on what truly matters to us. Maybe if everyone were aware of these regrets of the dying, we would experience more kindness, more compassion and greater connection in our communities.


Here’s to a life of few regrets.


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