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Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Dont regret while you die

Bronnie Ware, who has been a nurse by profession, has shared incredibly special times with aged people during the last three to twelve weeks of their lives. 

In her blog "Inspiration and Chai", Bronnie shares that she  experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.

When questioned about any regrets these patients had or anything they would do differently if given a chance to live their lives once again, common themes surfaced again and again.
Here are the most common five:
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 didn't work 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.

These reasons and her blog attracted so much attention worldwide that it culminated in a book " The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying". I would encourage you to go to her blog and read in detail about all these regrets because these will definitely help you get the perspective of how people feel at the end of their lives and what matters most to our lives. We can take a learning, and also make required corrections in the way we approach our lives.

While all these 5 regrets are so heartwarming and true, i want to specifically focus on one of these regrets as a topic of discussion for this post - "I wish I didn't work so hard".

If you go on to read her blog, she describes more about this regret specifically:
"This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children's youth and their partner's companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence."

I see most of my friends around me so engrossed in the "treadmill" or a "rat race" that it is truly worth halting for a moment and harping upon the fact that it is very likely to become a "regret" by the end of our lives, as it did with "all" male patients and "almost all working female" patients she nursed. 

We may still try to ignore this known fact that life has to be much more than earning money for the 2-5 people in your family. It has to have specific goals beyond your immediate family needs - goals that provide you bliss, true happiness and a reason to exist on this planet. You have got to find those goals and dreams if you have not found them yet, lest you might not even be lucky enough even to express the regrets of your life to someone like Bronnie Ware.

We do not know the last day of our lives. It could be 50 years from now. It could also be tomorrow. No one knows. I am not trying to inculcate a fear of death in you but i definitely want to push you so that you do not keep procrastinating this critical aspect of your lives and have a sense of urgency towards creating some worthwhile goals for yourself - goals that go beyond your daily treadmill of earning money. Do not breathe easy till you have found those goals. 

While i was fortunate enough to identify my dreams / goals almost 10 years back, the biggest obstacle in front of me, at that stage, that was hindering me from going all out in pursuit of my dreams was the fact that i was not sure of who was going to take care of my family if i start pursuing my goals. I have a responsibility towards my spouse, my parents and my children. I just cannot ignore that responsibility in pursuit of my dreams. It is at that stage i realized that i need to find a solution to this obstacle first. 

I read thousands of books, explored hundreds of websites and within 2 years i realized that the solution is in my hands. It is at that stage i started off on my journey towards financial freedom. I realized that financial freedom may not be an end goal but it can definitely become a means to help me achieve my end goals. You can achieve it too. If you want to be "free" in life so that you can pursue your dreams, make sure you are able to take care of your family first by achieving financial freedom. 

If you are thinking that it is too difficult, then let me re-assure you that anyone can achieve financial freedom within a span of 6-8 years even if you start from scratch. It is a matter of discipline, knowledge, planning and execution. If you are serious about not "regretting" at the end of your life, this will be your first step in pursuit of your dreams. My upcoming book "From Rat Race to Financial Freedom" will guide you step by step on how to achieve the same.

I sincerely wish you all the best to be able to find your dreams and then also be able to chase them.


Manoj Arora

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