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These 20 Regrets From People On Their Deathbeds Will Change Your Life

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These 20 Regrets From People On Their Deathbeds Will Change Your Life

You’re going to die someday. 

Perhaps the 5 most powerful words ever spoken to me. No matter how immortal we feel waltzing through life’s ups and downs, we all must someday stare death in its devious eyes as we reflect on our lives. Life is complex, sure. That’s a given. But if you really ponder for a moment, it can be boiled down to 2 feelings you’ll most likely be met with on your deathbed:

Triumph or regret.

Thankfully, every day is a great day to get better. Every day is a perfect day to change the track of your life, to reroute the potentially destructive path of a life wasted.

What better place to start than people in their final days:

1. I wish I wouldn’t have compared myself to others.

Everyone struggles with this, but there’s nearly nothing that’s so detrimental to fulfillment. Instead of comparing yourself to your friends, family, or idols, reflect on how far you’ve come as a person, even if it’s just the person you were yesterday.

2. I wish I’d taken action and dove in head first.

I’ll let you in on a little secret: there is no “right way.” So many people are paralyzed by the idea of what they want to be because they worry it won’t happen as quickly as they want. Well, it won’t. But what’s worse than dedicating time to your dream each day and seeing snail-like progress? A life wasted doing things you don’t want to.

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3. I wish I’d tuned the world out more.

Everyone around you tries to dictate what you are or who you should be, but you let them. No one needs to validate your worth besides yourself, and you will someday deeply regret if you spend your life pleasing the world around you. Don’t worry about pleasing your parents, friends, or bosses. You need to worry about number 1 first and foremost. Always.

4. I wish I didn’t wait to “start it tomorrow.”

Excuses are plentiful because they’re so easy to make. You will always find reasons to validate your inaction, and this is a common cause of deathbed regret. The things you want to do tomorrow can effortlessly turn into things you wish you did 50 years ago.

5. I wish I’d taken more chances.

The fear of rejection or failure dissipates in the face of death. The pretty girl you didn’t ask out on a date, the job you didn’t apply for because you felt under qualified, or the business you believed in but didn’t start will weigh heavier on your shoulders than falling flat on your face and learning.

6. I wish I would have kept going.

Even if you are brave enough to take the chance, failure happens. Where this failure can turn into major regret, however, is a decision to quit. When you let the pressure of falling short overcome your love for your endeavor, you lost. Keep going.

7. I wish I’d told others how much I love them.

    Photo credit: Source

    Everyone wants to feel appreciated, but very few are wiling to tell others how much they appreciate them. So often we are wrapped up in gaining love but fail to give it to the ones we care about most. Tell them often, before it’s too late.

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    8. I wish I was content with what I have.

    Be it more money, more recognition, or more options, we always want more of something. Very few are able to take an honest step back and recognize that what they have is more than enough. It’s always good to want more from life, but it’s essential to truly appreciate what you have.

    9. I wish I took better care of my body.

    Today’s society tells us that “taking care of yourself” is synonymous with a chiseled six pack. This is by no means true. Making healthy choices is important in all facets of life, not just physical exercise. Not eating junk food, not smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, and not drinking every weekend are 3 pretty easy ways to start.

    10. I wish I’d listened to others more.

    Everyone thinks they’re right all the time and everyone has opinions that they sometimes force on others. It’s alright to have them, but it’s more important to have the ability to listen. Even if you don’t agree with the point of view, challenge yourself to hear others without passing judgement.

    11. I wish I’d have not held that grudge.

    It’s discouraging when someone hurts you, especially if that person means a lot to you. But harboring grudges hurts you in the long term more than it did initially.

    12. I wish I’d have traveled more.

      Photo credit: Source

      People often mistake that “traveling” has to involve a foreign country and a couple thousand dollars. Phooey. Jump in the car, drive an hour to a nearby city, and explore something you haven’t before. Don’t jail yourself in your house because of erroneous notions of what it means to travel.

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      13. I wish I’d have laughed it off.

      You take yourself far too seriously. Heck, we all do. One of the major regrets people have in life is simply taking life too seriously. Bad things are bound to happen, sure. But they’re pretty much always not as bad as we make them out to be in our head. And isn’t life way more fun if we’re chuckling along with it?

      14. I wish I’d left work at work (for only 40 hours per week).

      Humans are hard wired to work and provide for the ones they love. However, this often comes at the expense of our loved ones because we spend so much stinking time wrapping things up at the office or putting in a couple hours emailing on the weekends. Here’s a newsflash: your job is going to still be there and exist when you die, but it’ll be someone else in the seat neglecting their family instead. Don’t let that happen.

      15. I wish I stayed in touch with friends.

      It’s normal for people to fall out of touch, but often it’s a result of a “they didn’t call me so they don’t miss me” mentality. If you truly miss someone and are wondering how they’re doing, chances are the other party is feeling the same way. Be the first to call, write, or visit. You’ll be glad you did.

      16. I wish I was more aware of the real world around me.

      I don’t believe this is a huge concern for people currently on their deathbeds, but for the millennial generation this will be a huge regret. We’re constantly plugged in everywhere we go. This encourages us to unconsciously ignore the beauty that surrounds us every day. Unplug and look up. You’ll be more satisfied with what you find than whatever drama Shandra is starting on Facebook.

      17. I wish I had more confidence in myself.

      Everyone is self conscious, especially those who appear very cocky and sure of themselves. A big mistake people make in life is not truly believing in their own ability. It’s such a shame because it’s so easy. Only you need to validate your worth.

      18. I wish I trusted my intuition.

      That little voice in the back of your head is there for a reason. Sadly, for many of us that voice can be self defeating and quite harsh about life. There are, however, many other occasions where that voice is the megaphone for the heart, telling you what you truly desire and deeply want. Listen to it.

      19. I wish I ran with a better crowd.

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        Photo credit: Source

        Choose to believe this or not, but you are a direct result of the people you surround yourself with. If you run with idiots, chances are high you will become one. The beauty of life is that we have the conscious choice on who we spend our time with and what we spend our time doing. I can’t speak for you, but I seek people who will always challenge, encourage, and push me grow.

        20. I wish I walked the walk.

        Far too many people are good at vocalizing the life they want, but are horrendous at putting a plan into action to get there. It’s not enough to dream out loud, or quietly in your head. You must absolutely need to put yourself out there and leap into action.

        We can all relate to the struggles and battles that life brings, but that doesn’t mean we have to roll over and take it. It’s tough, sure, but anything that’s worthwhile is. It really comes down to a simple choice: struggle for fulfillment now or wish you did in your final moments alive.

        Only you can decide.

        Featured photo credit: Holding Hands with Elderly Patient / Catholic Lane via catholiclane.com

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        Last Updated on July 20, 2021

        How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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        How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

        You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

        Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

        Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

        Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

        1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

        According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

        “Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

        Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

        Warming up

        If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

        If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

        Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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        1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
        2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
        3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

        Stay hydrated

        Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

        To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

        Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

        Meditate

        Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

        Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

        Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

        Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

        2. Focus on your goal

        One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

        Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

        Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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        Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

        If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

        3. Convert negativity to positivity

        There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

        ‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

        It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

        Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

        Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

        Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

        4. Understand your content

        Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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        However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

        “No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

        Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

        Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

        One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

        5. Practice makes perfect

        Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

        In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

        Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

        6. Be authentic

        There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

        Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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        Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

        To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

        With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

        Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

        7. Post speech evaluation

        Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

        Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

        We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

        You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

        Improve your next speech

        As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

        Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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        • How did I do?
        • Are there any areas for improvement?
        • Did I sound or look stressed?
        • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
        • Was I saying “um” too often?
        • How was the flow of the speech?

        Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

        If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

        Reference

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