Living a Life Without Regrets

I finished reading The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan over the weekend and was touched by their chapter on living a life without regrets. They explain how all those interviewed near death usually regret the things they did not do or try. Using their method to determine your one thing can help avoid this.

It reminded me of something I used to do when in my twenties: avoid "what if's." I would force myself to ask difficult questions, either of myself or friends, and/or try challenging things since I did not want to ever wonder "what if." It was my personal motto for quite a few years but I honestly had forgotten this until reading this chapter.

Somewhere along the road to "growing up," I went from avoiding "what if's" to avoiding risks. I had responsibility and bills to pay, so I worked hard and aimed for stability. It's only recently, with both my industry and career taking unexpected turns, that I've discovered the entrepreneur within me and rediscovered the desire to avoid regrets and what if's.

One of my favorite classics is The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy, and when this was turned into a musical, I not only saw it several times but also bought the soundtrack. There's a song that has always made me feel sad, and now I understand why. 

Where's the girl? Where's the girl with the blaze in her eyes? Where's the girl with that gaze of surprise? Now and then I still dream she's beside me/Where's the girl who could turn on the edge of a knife? Where's the girl who was burning for life? I can still feel her breathing beside me/And I know she remembers how fearless it feels/ To take off with the wind at her heels/ She and I took this world like a storm/Come again! Let the girl in your heart tumble free...

We all have different levels of "risk tolerance" and regret different things, and being an adult does mean making tough decisions for the good of your family. But how sad that somewhere along the way I lost a part of me that pushed her own boundaries so as to avoid regrets. Thankfully I've found it again and it's not too late to make a change.

Are you living a life meant to avoid regrets? If not, what can do you differently?


Karina is VP of Operations and HR at 24/7 Teach.

A version of this was originally posted on Business Common Sense blog.

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