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# Most Common Deathbed Regrets

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23 Apr 2012, 12:26
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interesting death bed confessions... with all this talk of earning top mba degrees so we can work 80-hr work weeks it almost seems like it's all in vain.

Palliative care nurse Bronnie Ware published a list of the five most common regrets of dying patients in her care. Blogger, developer, and entrepreneur Paul Graham took the list to heart, adding the following five commands to the top of his to-do list:

*Don't ignore your dreams; don't work too much; say what you think; cultivate friendships; be happy.

We've actually mentioned Ware's list before; Graham's commands are simply inverted versions of these regrets:

I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
I wish I hadn't worked so hard.
I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
I wish that I had let myself be happier.

The idea, of course, is that Graham's commands will remind him to avoid these outcomes. As Graham puts it:

The alarming thing is, the mistakes that produce these regrets are all errors of omission. You forget your dreams, ignore your family, suppress your feelings, neglect your friends, and forget to be happy. Errors of omission are a particularly dangerous type of mistake, because you make them by default.

I would like to avoid making these mistakes. But how do you avoid mistakes you make by default? Ideally you transform your life so it has other defaults. But it may not be possible to do that completely. As long as these mistakes happen by default, you probably have to be reminded not to make them.

Designer and blogger Alice Lee took a slightly different approach, turning Graham's to-do list of commands into desktop wallpapers, like the one you see above (you can download the wallpapers in any format on Lee's post).

Regrets of the Dying | Bronnie Ware
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Re: Most Common Deathbed Regrets [#permalink]

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07 Jun 2012, 01:05
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This is a good way to start:

Quote:
Don't wait for that perfect life path to appear before you. That'll happen for 5% of the people and not for the rest. Pick something and start working hard in it - don't worry if you already know it's not the perfect thing. You'll be doing something else three or five years from now. You won't be "behind" by not choosing the perfect thing right off the bat. Picking something now and advancing in it will give you contacts you didn't expect as well as general experience you need, both of which will uncover opportunities you didn't know about and will get you in that door. Then you'll do it again. And through this varied experience and growing body of contacts, you'll zero in closer and closer to the life path that truly satisfies. Don't wait. Don't hold back. Don't refuse to commit because something isn't perfect. Get moving. Time won't wait for you. In your late 30s it will dawn on you that you need to have a good foundation under you at that point, but it's easy to squander the preceding years in an unfocused way waiting for things to click or magically appear.

In concert with the above, recognize that nobody will hand you anything. People who have things (great job, money, wife, house, reputation, respect, control, life of adventure, whatever) are the people went out and wrestled them to the ground (careful with that wife). This is particularly important for smart people who cruised through school on minimal effort. You may unconsciously expect to keep being automatically advanced like you were in school, which would mean that people are lined up waiting to hand you stuff when you get out, but that moving sidewalk stops when you get out and nobody's waiting. Learn to move forward under your own power or you will fall flat. The C students never thought anything would be handed to them so they got out and rolled up their sleeves and did the work without any sense of entitlement. They'll be your boss soon.

Last edited by geometric on 27 Mar 2013, 09:51, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Most Common Deathbed Regrets [#permalink]

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23 Apr 2012, 14:40
->I wish I hadn't worked so hard.

This one could apply to some but I would not be satisfied with myself if I don't work as hard as I do since I get a sense of accomplishment, pride and confidence from excelling at what I spend a majority of my time doing. I feel if I took it easy and coasted I would end up regretting it even more so on what could have been. If I dont spend the time improving myself then I am wasting time.

-> I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

This one I agree with, I make an effort to write down a list of people I want to keep in touch with and every once in a while see who I havn't reached out to yet and make an effort for a phone call or a weekend visit. Social media helps but the relationships tend to be shallow.

-> I wish that I had let myself be happier.

This is a wierd one, you cant really 'let' yourself be happy, you either are doing or not doing what makes you happy. Spend time figuring out what that is work towards it.

Edit - Are you a miscer?
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Re: Most Common Deathbed Regrets [#permalink]

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23 Apr 2012, 19:13
aalba005 wrote:

Are you a miscer?

what is that?
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Re: Most Common Deathbed Regrets [#permalink]

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23 Apr 2012, 19:35
Interest perspective... makes you reflect more on what you really want in life...
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Re: Most Common Deathbed Regrets [#permalink]

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23 Apr 2012, 20:04
pacostacos wrote:
aalba005 wrote:

Are you a miscer?

what is that?

Your sig pic is quite popular on misc forums of a body building forum, bert stare haha.
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Re: Most Common Deathbed Regrets [#permalink]

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23 Apr 2012, 22:56
pacostacos wrote:
But how do you avoid mistakes you make by default?

You can't avoid them by default - because if you could, you wouldn't be human.

It's always a constant struggle between what we know we should do, and what we actually do.
_________________

Alex Chu
alex@mbaapply.com
http://www.mbaapply.com

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Re: Most Common Deathbed Regrets [#permalink]

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22 Jul 2012, 06:49
Here's one, I'm going to die, without knowing if God really exist or not? I'm I prepared to meet him in the next few hours? Is there a heaven and is there a hell?
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Re: Most Common Deathbed Regrets [#permalink]

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23 Jul 2012, 14:48
very interesting. but as with everything, take it with a grain of salt
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Re: Most Common Deathbed Regrets   [#permalink] 23 Jul 2012, 14:48
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