Last time out I wrote about how, upon reaching my 40th Birthday, I was reflecting on how my life has changed over the last few years.
I’m no longer Paul McVeigh the professional footballer. I’m Paul McVeigh the businessman.
Moving on. With no regrets and no New Year’s Resolutions either because I believe we should be looking to take positive steps to improve and enhance our lives every day rather than half-heartedly doing so with a few unenthusiastic pledges at the end of every December.
So don’t limit yourself. If you really want to accomplish things in life, shouldn’t you be looking to do so at every opportunity?
Even if you set yourself one tiny little goal every day, that’d still 365 of them that you’d have accomplished at the end of the year and few, if any, regrets along the way.
Don’t live a life full of regret.
A few years ago, Bronnie Ware, an Australian Nurse who works in Palliative Care wrote a book called The Top Five Regrets Of The Dying.
She’d noticed how, as she cared for those in the last few weeks and days of their lives, they’d spoken to her of the personal regrets that would accompany them to their final resting places.
Nothing, Ware noted, brings about the gift of clarity in a person more than imminent death. Furthermore, in our own lives when we are so often looking for clarity and purpose, we should look and learn from the clarity of thought that is possessed by the dying.
With, as she discovered, their most common regret also being the saddest.
“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me”.
How tragic it must be to look back at your life and know that you never even tried to chase some of your dreams. Why? Simply because you believed what other people thought of you was more important than what you thought of yourself.
Yet it happens. Time and time again we hear individuals saying they would have loved to have done something in their lives. Something special, something unique, dangerous, romantic, daring or adventurous.
Something their heart had yearned to do for as long as they could remember.
Yet they held back mostly because of other people.
Ware spoke to countless patients receiving palliative care who admitted that they had not even honoured half of their dreams and were now dying, knowing that these regrets were exclusively down to them and the choices they had made throughout their lives.
Choices that robbed them of an opportunity to really live their lives when they had the chance to do so.
There is an argument of course that says it is selfish and self indulgent to look to achieve all of our personal ambitions.
But Ware states, and I agree, that this is categorically not the case. Living a life that is focused on achieving personal happiness can only benefit those people who we share our lives with. Furthermore, it’s infectious. Friends and family will see how happy and healthy you are as a result of living such a life that they’ll want to try it for themselves.
Try it for yourself. Don’t live a life that comes to an end full of regrets.
Regard it as a gift for you from the dying.
One that enables you to really start living.