Life is full of choices, and many of them come with uncertainty. We can never know what might have been if we had chosen differently.
No life will ever be completely clear of opportunity for regret. Failed relationships, missed opportunities, poor judgment calls. Some choices seem easy at the time and later turn out to have been poorly informed; others are difficult from the beginning.
But some regrets are more fundamental, greater in scope. They tend not to focus on a single moment or area, but how life is lived.
Here are a dozen potential regrets to make sure you’re keeping far away.
1. I wish I had spent more time with the people I love.
It’s easy to let that time slip away, but once it’s gone you can never get it back.
2. I wish I had worried less.
Worry is just using your imagination to create the things you don’t want.
3. I wish I had forgiven more.
It takes a strong person to say “I’m sorry,” and an even stronger person to forgive. Forgive and let go–free yourself from grudges and enjoy happiness instead of wasting it.
4. I wish I had stood up for myself.
Never allow yourself to be bullied or silenced. No one is more important in this world than you are.
5. I wish I had lived my own life.
Spend your time now working on the things you want to accomplish–or even try. Build a business, cultivate a great career, build a family, run a marathon. The greatest success lies in living your life in your own way.
6. I wish I had been more honest.
If you don’t own up to your own elemental truth, falsehood will ultimately end up owning you. Honesty is the clearest path.
7. I wish I had worked less.
Working constantly for something you don’t passionately care about adds nothing but stress to your life. And even if the passion is there, keep your workload in balance with the rest of your life.
8. I wish I had cared less about what other people think.
Stop wasting your moments on other people’s opinions. Ultimately they are just opinions from those who don’t fully share your reality.
9. I wish I had lived up to my full potential.
Live up to your own aspirations, not down to others’ expectations. There is no passion to be found in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.
10. I wish I had faced my fears.
Life is found in the distance between your deepest desire and your greatest fear. Remember, fear is only temporary, but regret lasts forever.
11. I wish I’d stopped chasing the wrong things.
When you let the wrong things go, you can give the right things a chance to catch you.
12. I wish I’d lived more in the moment.
Make a difference today. Make it a day worth remembering.
Take a few moments now and then and revisit your business, your life, your leadership.
Ask yourself if there is anything that you might regret later. And if there is, take action.
Later will be now before you know it.