This list comes from an Australian nurse named Bronnie Ware who recorded the wishes of individuals in palliative care in a piece that was profiled in The Guardian. I heard about this from a TED talk by Jane McGonigal who talked on turning her survival after a concussion into a game. I’ve embedded the video after the list below, but wanted to take a brief moment to reflect on this. I think a lot of happiness is tied into how we perceive ourselves, and not falling under the auspices of how perception is laid upon is. Soren Kierkegaard wrote, “Once you label me you negate me.”
Regret is a strong emotion, but one that can be a big part of reflection. If you look back on your life now and the impacts that you have had, what would you think so far? Are there any regrets that you might have? I remember listening to a podcast on TED talks on what happiness means. The central tenets come in different ways to different people, but what struck me was the following life lessons to increase happiness: Lower expectations and face your regrets to move past them.
I also think a big component is overcoming adversity and learning from it. I think as you look down at the list below, it’s important to ruminate on your life and what you want to accomplish. I don’t want to go as far to say that these are warnings of how poor your life is going, but merely signs of what you want to get out of the time you have.
There are a large range of gurus, from Tony Robbins to Kanye West, who attempt and are successful (depending on how much you lower that success bar) at being figures of inspiration and conveying alleged happiness. Some may find it in relationships, family, work, achievements, conquests or other forms. I think looking at this list and what regrets people have had is an important way to frame your life. Here they are:
Here are the top five regrets of the dying:
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.