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If You Don’t Do These Now, You’ll Regret 10 Years Later

If You Don’t Do These Now, You’ll Regret 10 Years Later

When you’re nearing the summit of this turbulent climb through life, will you reach the top with wild enthusiasm or will you be hobbling with the aching knees of regret? You’ve climbed through storms, passed over green patches and had help from friends, and now it’s almost over. Your whole life has been leading you to this moment and one thing is certain: this final ascent we all have to do alone.

What thoughts will flash through your mind? You will be faced with tough questions such as: Did I do enough, love enough, was I happy?

You might leave these questions simmering on the back burner, thinking tomorrow will be a good day to contemplate the answers, but remember—tomorrow might not come!

So here’s what you can do today. Let’s call this an insurance policy for tomorrow’s happiness.

1.  Put your health and wellness above everything else

There is an old saying: “If you don’t have your health you have nothing,” and this is very true. Your body is housing your soul. Exercise, eat clean and get the proper rest. Take care of your body so that you have the opportunity to lead a long and full life. See 15 tips on restarting an exercise practice.

2.  Take the time to do the things you love

This may sound cliché, but work less and play more. You will never regret taking a vacation, engaging in a new hobby or spending a day with those who make you happy. But you might regret never taking that art class, reading that book or crossing big items off the bucket list. Be a participant in life.

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3.  Stop taking life so seriously

Why are you taking life so seriously anyway? Really? Find humor in something everyday, and laugh, laugh a lot!

4.  Always say what you need to say

If you love someone, tell them. If someone hurt you, tell them. If you have trouble expressing your feelings, then write a letter. Make sure those around you know each and every day how you feel.

5.  Open up your mind to possibilities

If you look in your garage and see a coiled, dark shadow that resembles a snake, your reaction might be to jump with fear, but later when you look closer and realize it’s just a green hose, you might feel silly for believing the tricks of your mind. Stop being controlled by your deluded projections.

Change your perspective and open yourself up to a new world of exciting and fulfilling possibilities. Look at your life with fresh eyes and you’ll find improved relationships, more excitement, and less resentments, anger and bitterness.

6.  Follow your own path—live a life true to you

Stop comparing yourself to others and stop striving for perfection. Life is not a masquerade ball—take off the mask, be yourself! If people don’t like it, then maybe it’s time to find a new party. Doing or being any other way will leave you feeling lonely, depressed and hopeless. Stop living a life based on the expectations of others.

7.  Stop living in the past

Right now you need to throw away regrets of the past. It’s gone, there is no point dwelling on what could of been, doing so will only rob the present moment of joy. 

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The past doesn’t exist except as a memory, it’s a mental story and it can’t be changed. Why not tell the story of your past in a way that enhances your present moment and future.

8.  Accept the things you cannot change

 “If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying.” — The Dalai Lama

When you fight against reality, you get bloody in a battle of what ifs and denial. Whether your reality is that you should have married someone else, said something you needed to say, or are dealing with an illness, the reality is you can’t change any these things. Dwelling or worrying is only robbing your present moment of all joy.

What you can do is re-evaluate your life now and take the necessary steps to make the appropriate changes. Follow your instincts, they will tell you when you have veered off the path of where you should be, whether it be your relationship or career. Tune into your inner compass it will guide you in the right direction.

Take “what if”, “should have” and “why me” out of your story. Move on.

9.  Practice mindful living

Mindful living will in fact slow down time; it will enhance the present moment and fill otherwise mundane days with awe and joy.

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Ten years from now you might think, Where did my life go? When we live mindfully we immerse ourselves in moments. These are the moments that make up our lives. If you don’t practice mindfulness you run the risk of having these precious moments of your life lost to a string of foggy over-thinking. Rest in the spaces in between the major events, these spaces are your life.

“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” — Jon Kabat-Zinn

10.  Stop chasing money, fame, and possessions

We crave wealth, prestige, fame and popularity, we crave material things and beautiful people. We mistakenly think that happiness is going to arrive when we meet these goals. Instead of enjoying our life, we are in a constant pursuit of something other than where we are right now.

At the end of your life, your expensive BMW will not be what’s flashing through your mind. You will more likely smile at the memory of your loyal dog. Stop chasing material possessions, there is no real happiness there, only an endless pursuit.

11.  Always practice gratitude

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.  It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a  friend.” — Melody Beattie

Gratitude improves health, happiness, spirituality, connection, relationships, self-worth and simply gives life intense meaning.

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Even if your life isn’t perfect—and here’s a secret, it never will be perfect—you still have a lot to be grateful for. So every day remember to take the time to smile, laugh and truly say thanks for all the small and big joys in your life.

12.  Love

This is an excerpt by the famous Martha Beck that has made an enormous impact on my life. It sums up regret beautifully:

“So the ultimate lesson of regret, the one that will help guide you into a rich and satisfying future, is this: Every time life brings you to a crossroads, from the tiniest to the most immense, go toward love, not away from fear. Think of every choice in terms of “What would thrill and delight me?” rather than “What will keep my fear—or the events, people, and things I fear—at bay?”

Pay attention to all of the sources of love in your life and you’ll develop a growing sense of abundance of how much beauty surrounds you each day.

So let’s summarize: A cheat sheet to living without regrets

  • Take care of your health
  • Make time to do the things you love, work less, laugh and play
  • Say what you need to say
  • Practice mindfulness
  • Change your perspective
  • Let go of the past
  • Accept the things you can not change
  • Stop thinking happiness is a future event
  • Stop chasing money and material wealth
  • Live authentically
  • Take off the mask
  • Follow your instincts
  • Practice gratitude
  • Don’t make your decisions based on fear
  • Love, love love!

There is no guarantee that you won’t make any bad decisions, but when you start living your life with these tools in mind, your days will naturally become meaningful. Your wise eyes will be full of adventure and tales: adventures that might not be perfect, but at the very least won’t be filled with regrets.

More by this author

Tina Williamson

Writer and creator of Mindfulmazing

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Last Updated on March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

More Resources About Job Interviews

Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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