One of my favorite business books, The Entrepreneur’s Guide To Getting Your Shit Together by John Carlton, recounts the story of a memorable scene Carlton witnessed at the San Francisco airport. Here’s what happened:
Most flights were being canceled because of a big storm that had hit, but one stressed out business traveler insisted that he needed to get to his destination. He snarled and screamed and cussed at the poor airline worker until his face turned red … and then suddenly he fell to the floor clutching his chest. He had a heart attack and died on the spot.
The point of this unfortunate story is, this man surely regretted his behavior in these final moments in life. We all work ourselves up about trivial inconveniences when there are so many good things in life we should be focusing on instead.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “With the past, I have nothing to do; nor with the future. I live now.” If you want to live a life without regrets, here are 16 things you can do to help you starting right now.
Find your life’s purpose.
Finding your life purpose may seem like a tall order. But here’s the thing: it’s already within you. Trust that you’re on the right path. And think about what makes you happiest in life–the things that tug at your heart and make you feel. As Thoreau said, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.
Stop playing the victim.
Here’s a harsh truth for you: life isn’t fair. It will knock you down when you least expect it and leave you lying in the gutter to fend for yourself. You can choose to be a victim of circumstance or you can get back up and keep going. It’s that simple.
Don’t make excuses.
Guess what else people who play the victim do a whole lot of? Make excuses. Don’t be that guy/girl. Take responsibility for your actions. Stop self-handicapping yourself.
Don’t waste time.
Time is your most valuable asset. Don’t waste it. One of the biggest regrets people have when it’s all said and done is how they spent their time. If you want to live without regrets, start asking yourself this one simple question often: is this the best use of my time?
Step out of your comfort zone.
To live without regrets, you need to be bold and take risks. No-one achieves greatness by sitting back and playing it safe.
Cut the fat.
This may be a tough pill to swallow, but there are people in your life who are holding you back. Choose to spend most of your time with positive people. Negative folks will only bring you down.
What you think becomes your reality. Creative visualization is one of the most effective techniques for harnessing the power of your mind. You possess an amazing gift — the ability to create using your brain. Use it.
Make time for family and friends.
Relationships are one of the keys to happiness. In the book, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing, one of the top regrets people had was not staying in touch with friends. To live a life without regrets, spend more time with people you love.
Live in the present.
Yesterday is history, tomorrow’s a mystery, and today is a gift … that’s why it’s called “The Present.” Enough said.
Assumptions are the most dangerous thing in the world. Don’t assume. Ask.
Do what you love.
I talk to people all the time who are “stuck” in jobs they hate. If this is you, do something about it. Start a side gig working on a project you’re passionate about. If you’re still struggling to figure out what to do with your life, these 7 questions will help.
Take care of yourself.
Your health is a gift. So do yourself a favor and start eating real food instead of the processed, fake junk. And get up and move. Sitting too much can literally kill you.
Never stop learning.
One of the “secrets” to living a life without regrets is to learn as much as you can about everything you can. You’ll find wisdom in the most unlikely of places if you’re just willing to look.
Go out of your way to help others.
Helping other people get what they want is the key to getting what you want. The world doesn’t revolve around you or me. Make the world a better place for others and the universe will reward you back.
Focus on the little things.
One of my favorite quotes is from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who said:
The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night.
Take small steps every day toward achieving your goals. These “little things” will compound into monumental achievements if you keep repeating them.
Believe that the path you’re on is the right one.
At the end of my favorite book, The Count of Monte Cristo, Edmund Dantes (The Count) says one of the most memorable lines in literary history: “All human wisdom is contained in these two words: ‘wait’ and ‘hope.'”
If you think and hope you’re meant for something bigger, then you probably are.
Featured photo credit: Thomas Leuthard via flickr.com