How To Avoid Life’s Biggest Regrets

A disturbing question…but an interesting one.

Have you ever wondered, when you get to a certain age in life where you might start to ‘look back on life’ that someone may ask you.. ‘What are your regrets?’

What do you think your answer will be?

  • I should have worked more, worked harder.
  • I should have spent less time with the family.
  • I wish I’d had a bigger house.
  • I shouldn’t have taken those holidays.


Take a look at this week’s video to check out some eye opening research that’s been done by a mate of mine, Alex, for his book…

So, what can we learn from our elders when it comes to regrets?

  • I wish I had helped more people
  • I wish I was more real
  • I wish I didn’t work so hard.

Fascinating isn’t it?… These people didn’t regret the lack of big flashy cars, that they didn’t have a big house, or that they hadn’t spent more time at the office…What they really regretted was

  • Not focusing on other people and helping them (versus thinking of themselves).
  • Not DOING want they wanted in life, BEING who they wanted in life. And FEARING what others thought of them.
  • And, working – working hard in a job each day that they didn’t enjoy.

Three quarters of our life these days is spent at WORK. It’s a huge part of our life and is made a whole lot more enjoyable if you can find a job or career you love.

I’m not saying it’s easy. It takes focus, clarity, time and thought on what fulfills you, what you want to earn and of course, who or how you want to help…

This is a really interesting subject to think on and one I’d LOVE to know your comments below on…


Til next time,


Comments 18

  1. Andrew, I totally agree with the findings from your friend’s research. I have worked with Seniors across all health sectors for years as a physiotherapist. I have been privileged to listen to many people expressing exactly what you just summed up in your blog. Thanks for this balanced perspective, and best wishes to your friend with his book. I am tweeting this one! Monique

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  2. This is si interesting. I was thinking about it at the weekend and I honestly have just one regret!! “I wish I had answered my calling sooner!”
    The rest…..I am absolutely content with. I know for a fact I have learnt from my mistakes, I know for a fact I try to teach by example, and I know for a fact; where I’m from has made me who I am and I look forward to who I am becoming as a pioneer & an architect of my own passage & destiny in my future.
    By the Grace if God; ofcourse!!

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  3. Thanks for posting Andrew. This is not something we often talk about, but after spending some time with family members who have passed on, prior to their deaths, I now know to use the “special china” and to stop and “smell the roses” and have realised I was chasing dreams for others (and their recognition of me) and not myself…. the turn around is I am now more ‘present’ when I spend time with family and friends and relish every moment as it can be taken away so easily… thanks for the reminder… Lou

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  4. Hi Andrew,
    Thanks for the video and topic. It’s given me an opportunity to reflect and share, as I have been going through a bit of this stuff over the last 6 months.

    Regarding point 2 “I wish I had been more real”…
    You have to be careful equating your individual authenticity with your external circumstances. There is a lot of preaching out there at the moment to encourage people to align their external activities with their internal heart inspiration. And that is good. But if you place too much of a premium on that, you can end up being extremely dissatisfied with your current circumstances, and that can be counter-productive (discouraging, undermining yourself…).

    This is what happened to me. I spent a long time being extremely unsettled and unhappy due to this idea. It’s not always a simple matter to change everything and just do whatever you want. There are other people involved… responsibilities. You may need to compromise, and that’s okay.

    The solution for me was to recognise that you don’t have to live the ideal now. Be authentic to who you are and always do something that involves your dream. And at the same time, fully accept and appreciate the life I have now – and be grateful.

    It comes down to…
    Do what I love (even if I can’t fully throw myself into it 100% of the time); and
    Love what I do (even if it’s not the absolute ideal in alignment with my heart).
    And be who I really am with the people I am in contact with.
    It’s an energy that you put out about who you really are.
    And it’s not so important what particular role, or job, or business you’re in.
    You must do *something* that aligns with your heart.
    But it’s more about how you authentically express the real you towards other people. I think that is the real meaning of “being more real”.

    That way I can be happy and balanced and make forward progress and not suffer under the extreme attachment of thinking my life is a failure unless I am 100% doing just the things I love all the time.

    What do you reckon?



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      Great reply Russ. For me – being more real is being true to yourself – which is listening to your intution. For example, if you are in a job that pays really well, and all of your friends tell you that is a great opportunity and your brain thinks its amazing THEN this easily allows you to be distracted from the heart is telling you. Your heart might be screaming at you that the job is wrong for you and that you need to let it go. Being more real (in my definition) is following your heart over your head.

      What you are saying above is extremely valuable – because your heart may want you to take time off, but this wont support the kids at school etc.SO – it really is a balance. PLUS – I often think people can become confused between being burnt out (which often gets in the road of a gut decision to do something else) and fear (which can also lead you to want to run from a situation that is actually teaching you something)

      Personally – i believe things come in 3 signs – or 3 taps (for example something major goes wrong 3 times in a row in my life) and this is often a sign that I am not being true to myself somewhere. I think you need to be careful with the first sign and not confuse it. Thank you so much for your share!!! Andrew

  5. Hi Andrew,
    Great topic today. I can certainly testify that finding something you love to do is not work. Julie, just over six months ago started a new business – something she is passionate about – and she has never been happier even though she is throwing so much time and energy into it. A friend said “passion has no clock” which seems to sum it up beautifully.
    All the best. Maurice.

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  6. Great blog Andrew, I’m glad I’ve embarked on the right track in my mid thirties, a nice reminder and validation… : )

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  7. Well done. You nailed it. Its the journey, not the destination. You look more relaxed each time you present Andrew!

  8. Hi Andrew. Thanks for this blog, it’s so spot on. I can relate to it so well. My Dad passed away in October 2009 after being diagnosed with prostate cancer earlier that year. That same year I was working for a high profile job network organisation and we were undergoing a major restructure which meant I had to re-apply for the job I had already been successfully doing. After I found out I was successful in retaining my position I was told that myself and my colleague would be relocated to another site. I was devastated as I’d been very happily working working at the same site for 7 years. With my Dad dying I knew I’d need my “mates” around. We moved to the new site then commenced a new Government contract and were being managed remotely from South Australia, which turned out to be a nightmare. So many changes within the organisation AND a new, very complex government contract! Between what was going on at work and travelling from the Sunshine Coast to the Gold Coast every weekend to be with my Mum and Dad. I was burning out fast. My caseload at work doubled then tripled; my pleas for help fell on deaf ears. My Dad was in and out of hospital, getting sicker and sicker. After 7 weeks in hospital we were advised he should be moved to a high care nursing home. All we wanted, and Dad too, was to take him home. We fought it but in the end, we knew the doctors were right. It broke my Mum’s heart and she sat with him all day every day right til the end. Thankfully, those last couple of months I don’t think he realised he was in a nursing home. Mum said he thought he was still in hospital. Before he passed away my 3 brothers asked if I would organise his funeral when the time came. I suspect it was too hard for them so I agreed but said I’d need help, which never really came. That was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do in my life but I did it trying to bear in mind what my Dad would want. By the time I left to return to the Sunshine Coast and resume my “normal” life I was tired, grieving and had a very bad dose of the flu that turned into bronchitis. I was very sick and had to take more time off work. By the time I returned to work my caseload was out of control and I was very emotional. My local colleagues supported me however National Office weren’t so supportive. In the end, I was pushed into a corner and resigned. That was the beginning of a hellish 3 years. Back and forth from doctors and a psychologist, then finally a pyschiatrist who diagnosed me with chronic PTSD with a secondary major depressive disorder. This diagnosis was more related to long ago events that had been triggered by all the events occurring in 2009. I spent a couple of years being mentally and pysically paralysed. At the same time all this was happening I knew deep down my life wasn’t right, never really had been. I’d always tried to do what was “right” in other people’s eyes and society’s eyes. I started to realisehow out of sync that was for me. I knew deep down that all I needed to be happy was inside of me. As long as I had a roof over my head, could pay my bills and feed myself I’d be okay. As long as I could remember I’d wanted to try my hand at art. I was very unwell but knew I had to make some major changes. I sold my townhouse and moved to Macleay Island. I almost didn’t make it here because some members of my family thought I was “crazy” and really didn’t want me to make that move. I almost changed my mind. In fact, I cancelled the removalists and my lease on the beautiful old Queenslander located in the best part of the island. Within a day or two I knew I wasn’t being true to myself, I wasn’t being real and once again, was doing what others expected me to do. I knew that this was the perfect opportunity for me to turn my life around and fulfill my life-long dream. I reversed all the cancellations. I’ve been on the island 6 months today and have never been happier or more contented. I’ve spent the last 6 months getting re-settled and setting up an art studio underneath the house and going to Mum’s for a week to two weeks at a time helping her re-establish her life without her partner of 60 years. I’m living off the smell of an oily rag but have everything I need. I’ll be 60 next year and so grateful that I realised my dream now and NOT when I’m in a nursing home.
    When I read your blog I realised that the 3 things you pointed out (I wish I had helped more people, I wish I was more real and I wish I didn’t work so hard) I am now doing. My life hasn’t been an easy road but now it’s all behind me, finally! And, I have no regrets. I’m living the life I’m meant to be living and so many people have remarked on the change in me, even those who didn’t want me to come to the island. For those reading this, listen to Andrew; he knows what he’s talking about. I understand that not everyone is in a position to do what I’ve done but if nothing else, simply BE TRUE TO YOURSELF, BE REAL, BE AUTHENTIC! Thanks again Andrew and sorry that my response is so lengthy but it’s all relevant.

    1. WOW – thank you so much for sharing this. I find it really helps others reading your story Cheryl. I really appreciate you sharing this. i actually just read this –

      “The great loneliness.. like the loneliness a caterpillar endures, when she wraps herself in a silky shroud, and begins the long transformation from chrysalis to butterfly. It seems that we too must go through such a time of great loneliness, when life as we have known it is over.. when being a caterpillar feels somehow false, and yet, we don’t know who we are supposed to become. All we know is that something bigger is calling us to change. And though we must make the journey alone, and even if suffering is our only companion, soon enough we will become a butterfly, soon enough we will taste the rapture of being alive.”
      Elizabeth Lesser

      Your story above will help others who might be experiencing it realise its temporary. Thank you again. Andrew

      1. Hi Andrew

        Thank you so much for your reply. If my story helps others then I’m grateful. I love the quote from Elizabeth Lesser’s book, which I must read also. What’s the name of the book?

        Everything you said is so, so relevant. I’ve likened my situation to that of breaking out of the cocoon to a caterpillar then finally a beautiful butterfly. When I was still a “caterpillar” I mentioned this to a close friend and we now often talk about my transformation to the “butterfly”. It’s amazing.

        Life is great when you follow your own heart, when you are true to yourself, no matter what others might think.

        Thanks again Andrew

  9. I’ve been in the building industry most of my life and I know I could do more to help them but Im not sure how ie show how things are done so they could do it themselves with me still making a living out of it but helping others save thousands on there own homes and doing it right the first time 🙂 and me getting my passion back

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