No Regrets: One Way to Avoid The Shoulda, Woulda, Couldas
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~Mark Twain
This is one of my all-time favorite quotes about regret. To me, it is a great reminder of the importance of taking risks, living authentically, and never losing your sense of wonder and adventure.
It can be quite disturbing to think that many of the most common regrets are not the things we did, but what we did not do – which implies that it wasn’t always a conscious decision. For example, we’ve all heard of (or may be someone) who was so focused on their job and climbing the corporate ladder that nothing else could compete for their attention.
Something changes – maybe a health scare, layoff or even just retirement – and now they realize they don’t have any of the really important things – their well-being, solid relationships with family and friends, outside passions, and so on. It might not have felt like a conscious choice at the time, but the fact is that by spending all their time and energy on one thing, they were saying “no” to other equally important parts of life.
The good news is that we can avoid this trap by becoming more conscious of not just the big, life-changing decisions, but also the not-so-obvious choices that we make on a day-to-day basis – choices that have the potential to add up to a lot of “shoulda, woulda, couldas” later in life. One way to do this is to learn from the regrets of others.
Which regrets will you make sure to avoid? Any more you think should be on the list?