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21 Regrets You Don’t Want to Have in Life

21 Regrets You Don’t Want to Have in Life

No one wants to admit that they are going to die someday. In fact, we all sort of live our lives fooling ourselves that our days are numbered. Even though it sounds morbid, having that at the forefront of your mind will help you live a life of no regrets. Here are 21 regrets you do NOT want to have in your life:

1. Not taking action on your dreams.

Most of us had dreams when we were kids. But as we got older, reality hits and tends to drown out the vision of what we really wanted in the first place. Think about this: there are many, many people in the world who are making their dreams come true. So why not you? You should be one of them.

2. Letting excuses or people derail you from your dreams.

Don’t let yourself come up with “excuses.” Excuses are not reasons. There is a difference. Reasons are valid, excuses are not. And don’t listen to anyone else’s negativity either. Make up your own mind and go for it!

3. Waiting for the “perfect” time.

“The perfect time” is nothing but a myth! That’s not to say that there are times when you should not act immediately – like waiting to travel the world if you are drowning in debt. But generally speaking, now is all we have. So take a step toward your goal now. Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed for any of us.

4. Not appreciating your health.

Here’s something I bet you can relate to: you never think about your health until you get a bad case of the flu. Am I right? It’s usually at those points where we think, “Why didn’t I appreciate feeling good?” Well, remind yourself to appreciate it every day, not just when you feel under the weather.

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5. Not helping others enough.

It’s easy to be selfish. Heck, our world practically encourages it! (unfortunately). But think how your actions affect other people. Take a look at the people around you and go out of your way to help them. I’m sure you would appreciate it if they did that for you, so live by the Golden Rule and go out of your way to help others.

6. Shying away from taking risks.

This is a tough one for a lot of people, myself included. But there is a difference between taking a calculated risk and an uncalculated risk. Take calculated risks. Think about the benefits and costs and then make an informed decision. Remember great risk can lead to great reward.

7. Not making your loved ones smile and laugh enough.

This one is self-explanatory. Our loved ones are the most important thing in the world… or at least they should be. So have fun with them. Smile and laugh… a lot!

8. Giving up before you reach success.

In our culture we all expect to become an overnight sensation like Justin Beiber. But guess what? In the real world it doesn’t work like that. Be patient in waiting for success. It will come.

9. Not spending enough time with positive people.

Dump the “Energy Vampires” in your life! You know who I’m talking about. The people who drain you, suck you dry, and give nothing back. Instead, surround yourself with positive people.

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10. Hurrying through life so that you don’t appreciate the little things.

Busy, busy, busy. This is the theme of the world today. Not that staying busy isn’t fun. But don’t stay so busy that you lose focus on the important things in life. As the saying goes, “stop to smell the roses.”

11. Not seeing the world and all its glory when you’re young and healthy.

If you have the money to travel (and you like doing it), get out there and see the world now! There are so many other fascinating cultures to explore, so just go do it!

12. Worrying too much and appreciating too little.

“Worrying is like praying for what you don’t want to happen,” (Robert Downey Jr.) It puts negative energy out to the universe. Instead, focus on what you do have, not what you don’t have.

13. Not planning for your future.

Some people wander aimlessly in life and go where the wind blows them. Hey, this might be fun for some people, but it doesn’t get you toward a goal of your choosing. So figure out what you want and then set your ship on a course toward achieving it.

14. Not learning from your mistakes.

No one wants to admit that they make mistakes. But honestly, I don’t believe in mistakes. To me, they’re all learning opportunities. So make sure that you actually learn from them. If you don’t, you will end up repeating them over and over and not improving your life.

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15. Working too much.

Going along with #14, if you are spending too much time at the office and not enough time with your loved ones, you may regret it someday. Even if you love your work and become engrossed in it, don’t forget to come up for air and spend quality time with people.

16. Not taking responsibility for your own life.

Your life today is a result of all the choices you made in the past. So don’t blame others, and put yourself in the driver’s seat for your future. Own your life and your choices.

17. Listening to other people’s opinions before your own.

It’s easy to listen to other peoples’ loud opinions. Sometimes that’s easier than listening to our own inner voice and intuition. But if you ignore your gut feeling, I almost guarantee you’ll eventually end up regretting it.

18. Not enjoying your children’s childhood.

Any parent will tell you that it’s not easy to raise kids. Children can be annoying and difficult. But time flies, and before you know it they will be adults and out of the house. So don’t miss them while they’re there.

19. Not learning who you can trust.

This is a difficult one for a lot of people – myself included. I was way too trusting in my younger years and learned the hard way who I could trust and who I couldn’t. The sooner you learn that lesson, the happier the rest of your life will be.

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20. Not saying what you should have said.

Did you not tell someone that you loved him/her? Did you not tell someone how much you appreciated them? Well, what are you waiting for? There’s no time like the present. Do it now.

21. Not doing what you should have done.

Ditto from #20. Don’t wait. Just do it. Get off your tushie and just do it. You won’t regret it!

I hope these 21 reminders put life into perspective a little more for you. You don’t want to be on your death-bed someday having any regrets. So make this your motto: No Excuses, No Regrets!

More by this author

Carol Morgan

Dr. Carol Morgan is the owner of HerSideHisSide.com, a communication professor, dating & relationship coach, TV personality, speaker, and author.

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Last Updated on October 22, 2020

8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

How would you feel if you were sharing a personal story and noticed that the person to whom you were speaking wasn’t really listening? You probably wouldn’t be too thrilled.

Unfortunately, that is the case for many people. Most individuals are not good listeners. They are good pretenders. The thing is, true listening requires work—more work than people are willing to invest. Quality conversation is about “give and take.” Most people, however, want to just give—their words, that is. Being on the receiving end as the listener may seem boring, but it’s essential.

When you are attending to someone and paying attention to what they’re saying, it’s a sign of caring and respect. The hitch is that attending requires an act of will, which sometimes goes against what our minds naturally do—roaming around aimlessly and thinking about whatnot, instead of listening—the greatest act of thoughtfulness.

Without active listening, people often feel unheard and unacknowledged. That’s why it’s important for everyone to learn how to be a better listener.

What Makes People Poor Listeners?

Good listening skills can be learned, but first, let’s take a look at some of the things that you might be doing that makes you a poor listener.

1. You Want to Talk to Yourself

Well, who doesn’t? We all have something to say, right? But when you are looking at someone pretending to be listening while, all along, they’re mentally planning all the amazing things they’re going to say, it is a disservice to the speaker.

Yes, maybe what the other person is saying is not the most exciting thing in the world. Still, they deserve to be heard. You always have the ability to steer the conversation in another direction by asking questions.

It’s okay to want to talk. It’s normal, even. Keep in mind, however, that when your turn does come around, you’ll want someone to listen to you.

2. You Disagree With What Is Being Said

This is another thing that makes you an inadequate listener—hearing something with which you disagree with and immediately tuning out. Then, you lie in wait so you can tell the speaker how wrong they are. You’re eager to make your point and prove the speaker wrong. You think that once you speak your “truth,” others will know how mistaken the speaker is, thank you for setting them straight, and encourage you to elaborate on what you have to say. Dream on.

Disagreeing with your speaker, however frustrating that might be, is no reason to tune them out and ready yourself to spew your staggering rebuttal. By listening, you might actually glean an interesting nugget of information that you were previously unaware of.

3. You Are Doing Five Other Things While You’re “Listening”

It is impossible to listen to someone while you’re texting, reading, playing Sudoku, etc. But people do it all the time—I know I have.

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I’ve actually tried to balance my checkbook while pretending to listen to the person on the other line. It didn’t work. I had to keep asking, “what did you say?” I can only admit this now because I rarely do it anymore. With work, I’ve succeeded in becoming a better listener. It takes a great deal of concentration, but it’s certainly worth it.

If you’re truly going to listen, then you must: listen! M. Scott Peck, M.D., in his book The Road Less Travel, says, “you cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.” If you are too busy to actually listen, let the speaker know, and arrange for another time to talk. It’s simple as that!

4. You Appoint Yourself as Judge

While you’re “listening,” you decide that the speaker doesn’t know what they’re talking about. As the “expert,” you know more. So, what’s the point of even listening?

To you, the only sound you hear once you decide they’re wrong is, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!” But before you bang that gavel, just know you may not have all the necessary information. To do that, you’d have to really listen, wouldn’t you? Also, make sure you don’t judge someone by their accent, the way they sound, or the structure of their sentences.

My dad is nearly 91. His English is sometimes a little broken and hard to understand. People wrongly assume that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about—they’re quite mistaken. My dad is a highly intelligent man who has English as his second language. He knows what he’s saying and understands the language perfectly.

Keep that in mind when listening to a foreigner, or someone who perhaps has a difficult time putting their thoughts into words.

Now, you know some of the things that make for an inferior listener. If none of the items above resonate with you, great! You’re a better listener than most.

How To Be a Better Listener

For conversation’s sake, though, let’s just say that maybe you need some work in the listening department, and after reading this article, you make the decision to improve. What, then, are some of the things you need to do to make that happen? How can you be a better listener?

1. Pay Attention

A good listener is attentive. They’re not looking at their watch, phone, or thinking about their dinner plans. They’re focused and paying attention to what the other person is saying. This is called active listening.

According to Skills You Need, “active listening involves listening with all senses. As well as giving full attention to the speaker, it is important that the ‘active listener’ is also ‘seen’ to be listening—otherwise, the speaker may conclude that what they are talking about is uninteresting to the listener.”[1]

As I mentioned, it’s normal for the mind to wander. We’re human, after all. But a good listener will rein those thoughts back in as soon as they notice their attention waning.

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I want to note here that you can also “listen” to bodily cues. You can assume that if someone keeps looking at their watch or over their shoulder, their focus isn’t on the conversation. The key is to just pay attention.

2. Use Positive Body Language

You can infer a lot from a person’s body language. Are they interested, bored, or anxious?

A good listener’s body language is open. They lean forward and express curiosity in what is being said. Their facial expression is either smiling, showing concern, conveying empathy, etc. They’re letting the speaker know that they’re being heard.

People say things for a reason—they want some type of feedback. For example, you tell your spouse, “I had a really rough day!” and your husband continues to check his newsfeed while nodding his head. Not a good response.

But what if your husband were to look up with questioning eyes, put his phone down, and say, “Oh, no. What happened?” How would feel, then? The answer is obvious.

According to Alan Gurney,[2]

“An active listener pays full attention to the speaker and ensures they understand the information being delivered. You can’t be distracted by an incoming call or a Facebook status update. You have to be present and in the moment.

Body language is an important tool to ensure you do this. The correct body language makes you a better active listener and therefore more ‘open’ and receptive to what the speaker is saying. At the same time, it indicates that you are listening to them.”

3. Avoid Interrupting the Speaker

I am certain you wouldn’t want to be in the middle of a sentence only to see the other person holding up a finger or their mouth open, ready to step into your unfinished verbiage. It’s rude and causes anxiety. You would, more than likely, feel a need to rush what you’re saying just to finish your sentence.

Interrupting is a sign of disrespect. It is essentially saying, “what I have to say is much more important than what you’re saying.” When you interrupt the speaker, they feel frustrated, hurried, and unimportant.

Interrupting a speaker to agree, disagree, argue, etc., causes the speaker to lose track of what they are saying. It’s extremely frustrating. Whatever you have to say can wait until the other person is done.

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Be polite and wait your turn!

4. Ask Questions

Asking questions is one of the best ways to show you’re interested. If someone is telling you about their ski trip to Mammoth, don’t respond with, “that’s nice.” That would show a lack of interest and disrespect. Instead, you can ask, “how long have you been skiing?” “Did you find it difficult to learn?” “What was your favorite part of the trip?” etc. The person will think highly of you and consider you a great conversationalist just by you asking a few questions.

5. Just Listen

This may seem counterintuitive. When you’re conversing with someone, it’s usually back and forth. On occasion, all that is required of you is to listen, smile, or nod your head, and your speaker will feel like they’re really being heard and understood.

I once sat with a client for 45 minutes without saying a word. She came into my office in distress. I had her sit down, and then she started crying softly. I sat with her—that’s all I did. At the end of the session, she stood, told me she felt much better, and then left.

I have to admit that 45 minutes without saying a word was tough. But she didn’t need me to say anything. She needed a safe space in which she could emote without interruption, judgment, or me trying to “fix” something.

6. Remember and Follow Up

Part of being a great listener is remembering what the speaker has said to you, then following up with them.

For example, in a recent conversation you had with your co-worker Jacob, he told you that his wife had gotten a promotion and that they were contemplating moving to New York. The next time you run into Jacob, you may want to say, “Hey, Jacob! Whatever happened with your wife’s promotion?” At this point, Jacob will know you really heard what he said and that you’re interested to see how things turned out. What a gift!

According to new research, “people who ask questions, particularly follow-up questions, may become better managers, land better jobs, and even win second dates.”[3]

It’s so simple to show you care. Just remember a few facts and follow up on them. If you do this regularly, you will make more friends.

7. Keep Confidential Information Confidential

If you really want to be a better listener, listen with care. If what you’re hearing is confidential, keep it that way, no matter how tempting it might be to tell someone else, especially if you have friends in common. Being a good listener means being trustworthy and sensitive with shared information.

Whatever is told to you in confidence is not to be revealed. Assure your speaker that their information is safe with you. They will feel relieved that they have someone with whom they can share their burden without fear of it getting out.

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Keeping someone’s confidence helps to deepen your relationship. Also, “one of the most important elements of confidentiality is that it helps to build and develop trust. It potentially allows for the free flow of information between the client and worker and acknowledges that a client’s personal life and all the issues and problems that they have belong to them.”[4]

Be like a therapist: listen and withhold judgment.

NOTE: I must add here that while therapists keep everything in a session confidential, there are exceptions:

  1. If the client may be an immediate danger to himself or others.
  2. If the client is endangering a population that cannot protect itself, such as in the case of a child or elder abuse.

8. Maintain Eye Contact

When someone is talking, they are usually saying something they consider meaningful. They don’t want their listener reading a text, looking at their fingernails, or bending down to pet a pooch on the street. A speaker wants all eyes on them. It lets them know that what they’re saying has value.

Eye contact is very powerful. It can relay many things without anything being said. Currently, it’s more important than ever with the Covid-19 Pandemic. People can’t see your whole face, but they can definitely read your eyes.

By eye contact, I don’t mean a hard, creepy stare—just a gaze in the speaker’s direction will do. Make it a point the next time you’re in a conversation to maintain eye contact with your speaker. Avoid the temptation to look anywhere but at their face. I know it’s not easy, especially if you’re not interested in what they’re talking about. But as I said, you can redirect the conversation in a different direction or just let the person know you’ve got to get going.

Final Thoughts

Listening attentively will add to your connection with anyone in your life. Now, more than ever, when people are so disconnected due to smartphones and social media, listening skills are critical.

You can build better, more honest, and deeper relationships by simply being there, paying attention, and asking questions that make the speaker feel like what they have to say matters.

And isn’t that a great goal? To make people feel as if they matter? So, go out and start honing those listening skills. You’ve got two great ears. Now use them!

More Tips on How to Be a Better Listener

Featured photo credit: Joshua Rodriguez via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Skills You Need: Active Listening
[2] Filtered: Body language for active listening
[3] Forbes: People Will Like You More If You Start Asking Follow-up Questions
[4] TAFE NSW Sydney eLearning Moodle: Confidentiality

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