Bronnie Ware is an Australian palliative care nurse who provides specialised medical care for people who are in the last 12 weeks of their lives. Whilst working with dying people, Bonnie recorded the dying thoughts of her patient on her blog Inspiration and Chai, which got so much attention that she wrote a book “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying”. The top five regrets of people on their deathbed were:
- 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.
Reflecting on this list I would summarise Bronnie’s advice as “don’t spend your time living someone else’s life”.
These top five regrets reflect the life lived by modern man, a life lived in response to the dreams, visions and goals of others. Living a life reacting to circumstances and events.
These regrets are the result of things you fail to do, these regrets are the result of apathy, the result of a life lived on autopilot, the result of a life lived by default. When you live life on autopilot you give up your dreams, sideline your friends, ignore your happiness and neglect your family.
To avoid having these regrets you need to make a new set of commitments. You need decide to live life deliberately and with intention.
- Decide to live your dreams whilst you still have your health.
- Don’t work too much. Get off the treadmill of endless work.
- Take time to express your feelings to those you love and to those who care about you.
- Cultivate friendships. Don’t let your friendships slip.
- Happiness is a choice. Make the decision to be happy every day