tbs eFM

Bronnie Ware: 5 Regrets of the Dying to Get You Living

Just after Christmas I did my regular gig on TBS eFM's 1013 Main Street radio program. In case you don't know, the name of the segment I do is called "Learn from the Greats with Carl Kwan." Since it was almost the end of the year, I knew that many people make New Year's resolutions. Not me, by the way. And I also knew that most people don't keep their resolutions. So I wanted to talk about regret because if you don't keep your resolutions, there may experience some serious regret later in life.

"Who wants to live like that?" I thought.

I had heard about a nurse who worked with terminally ill patients. She learned from her patients the five things we regret the most just before we die. I figured it'd make a great topic for the radio program.

Anyway, below is the recording from the show and below that are the notes I prepared. Have a listen and hopefully at least one of the regrets hits home for you and you decide to make a change for the better. You deserve it.

Length 20:49

Carl Kwan talks about Bronnie Ware on 1013 Main Street


  • After Christmas… Time for New Year's Resolutions
  • Do you make New Year's Resolutions?
  • Common ones?
    • 1. Get fit, exercise, lose weight
    • 2. Quit smoking
    • 3. Work/life balance
    • 4. Learn something new
    • 5. Drink less
  • Who is Bronnie Ware?
    • Palliative care nurse; helps seriously ill people relieve pain or stress…usually, before they die
    • Patients mentioned their regrets in life
    • Bronnie compiled a list of the top 5 regrets of the dying
  • Share them, but instead of talking about regrets, give some tips for what we can do now to live a fulfilling life

Regret #1

I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

  • People tend to wait too long before doing something they've dreamed of doing; "I'll do it when I retire"
  • Too old to do it, don't know what life will bring by that time.
  • Common in Korean and other Asian societies due to cultural influences

Regret Smasher #1

Realize you're the only one who knows what's best for you

  • Remember that no matter what you do, the people you're doing it for will never think it's enough.
  • You'll go nuts trying to please them
  • You're the only one who knows what's best for you; maybe not now, but we always instinctively know what's best for us

What to do? Baby Steps

  • "How would your life be different if you could do what you want?"
  • Want to travel to Paris?
  • Start with putting up pictures of Paris; the places you'll visit, where you'll stay, what you'll eat.
  • Do little things you enjoy; start collecting little victories in being courageous; your confidence to change will grow

Regret #2

I wish I didn't work so hard.

  • Mostly from men; Bronnie's patients were older, but reflective of Korean society
  • Miss so much: children growing up; time doing what you want like in regret #1
  • Korean societal pressures/demands: house, education, status symbols

Regret Smasher #2

Change your mindset to one of abundance and opportunity

  • Most people work too much because they have a lack mentality or live in fear of what they won't have or may lose
  • People feel they have no choice because their boss demands them to work
  • Need to teach people that having a job is not the only choice; in fact, it's the worst way to make money because your worth is determined by others
  • Look at the world as full of opportunity; do not limit yourself and your choices by your thoughts
  • And look at regret smasher #1

Regret #3

I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.

  • People are afraid to offend others, especially in Korea with the high-low status
  • Results can be deadly: Korean Air crash in Guam in 1997 was caused by the co-pilots not wanting to speak up
  • Korean Air made significant changes afterwards
  • Other problem: people carry anger or resentment, which begins to manifest in other parts of your life

Regret Smasher #3

Control and change your reactions

  • We cannot control what others do, but we can always control our reaction and our thoughts
  • Anger? It's a choice and a habit… an easy reaction because it's so impulsive.
  • Start by changing your self-talk when something happens
  • Pause and calm down before speaking
  • Words hurt…Really worth it?
  • Everything you say or think will come back to you, whether positive or negative.

Regret #4

I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

  • Spending time being "busy" we lose touch with people
  • Fortunately, Koreans are great at staying connected with old friends

Regret Smasher #4

  • Get on Facebook
  • Koreans can keep using traditional methods for staying in touch…works great.
  • But use technology to stay up-to-date and build closer relationships or rekindle old ones
  • Don't worry about all the privacy "issues"; Facebook is a great way to stay in touch
  • Yes, some relationships are best not rekindled so go with your instincts

Regret #5

I wish that I had let myself be happier.

  • Many people stay stuck in old negative habits and ways of thinking, but happiness is a choice

Regret Smasher #5

Get your body healthy

  • A healthy, fit body gives you confidence and makes you feel good about yourself
  • Higher energy levels will help you work more efficiently
  • Mindset will be different because you will feel strong, like you can accomplish anything
  • You will have courage to try new things
  • All of which will make you happier
  • Don't need to go to a gym or spend lots of money; look at what Ian Matthews is doing with BAFIK


  • Regret Smasher #1
    • Realize you're the only one who knows what's best for you
  • Regret Smasher #2
    • Change your mindset to one of abundance and opportunity
  • Regret Smasher #3
    • Control and change your reactions
  • Regret Smasher #4
    • Get on Facebook
  • Regret Smasher #5
    • Get your body healthy

The one about storytelling & overcoming the fear of public speaking

This was my second time on tbs eFM's 1013 Main Street Leadership Lab and I continued the topic from the previous week, which was about presentations and public speaking. In this one, I talk about using different types of stories and then give some tips on how to overcome the fear of public speaking. If you like, you can read a summary of what I said below... And if you're really keen on getting the biggest bang for your buck, then scroll down to the bottom of the page and check out the special offer I have for new clients.

Listen here:

Carl Kwan talks about overcoming fear in presentations

Here's what I covered:

6 Types of Stories:

  1. Stranger in a strange land - Like when you or your business goes into a new business area
  2. Revenge - Rallying the troops to get them fired up about beating the competition
  3. Love - Good for talking about establishing new relationships, like in an M&A, or starting something new and exciting, like a product launch
  4. Rags to riches - Good storytelling style for entrepreneurs to talk about how they got started and their path to success
  5. Quest - Perfect for talking about making a new discovery, like a breakthrough invention or new drug or something else exciting that you discovered
  6. Hero's journey - The classic! The one you use when you want to talk about doing something you didn't intend, but then realized it was what you were meant to do. You can use this one for how you started your business or career and not knowing where it would take you or what would happen.

The main thing about storytelling is to tell of the struggles and the triumphs over those struggles.

People love a good story. And when it's your own and you have a passion for your story, you will be able to tell it without feeling all nervous.

But before I got to the overcoming-the-fear-of-public-speaking-part of the show, I talked about quickly engaging your audience by not using an agenda slide or self-introduction.

Instead, use a factoid or rhetorical question and then get right to your story. The important thing to remember is to make it about the audience. Always remember to answer this question in their head:

"Why should I care?"

You can do this by pointing out a problem that's bothering them and that only you can solve. You want to spend as much time describing the problem as fixing it because this will help you to engage their emotions and intellect.

Then I talked about how you should outline the solution to their problem. You want to explain in a simple way how you can help them. Don't make it hard for them to understand or vague. Be really specific.

Finally, give them an action step, make them do something NOW, in the room while you have their attention and you've gotten them interested in your solution.

And that was basically it for that part. Next I talked about...

How to overcome the fear of speaking publicly

Like most fears, the fear of public speaking comes from habit, past experience, or no experience. So I outlined a solution that I cleverly called...

The 4 Vs to Overcoming Fear of Public Speaking:

  1. Visualization & affirmation: Getting a mental movie of yourself giving your speech or presentation perfectly and using affirmations to help your subconscious prepare you for the task.
  2. Verbalization: Don't just practice silently to yourself; instead, practice like you're doing it for real, out loud.
  3. Videoization: The only way to see how you're doing and improve is to actually see yourself. This is especially important for checking your body language because of how much non-verbal communication goes on between us mammals. So, pull out the iPhone or other camcorder and shoot a video of yourself giving your speech. It would help to have a friend or consultant (like me!), giving you feedback because you might think you look perfectly fine. This actually happened with a client until I pointed out several bad mannerisms and how quietly he spoke.
  4. Varyization: Get lots of real practice giving speeches and presentations and talking about various topics... hence, "varyization" :)

So if you or your business is struggling with coming up with ways to tell your story, try out what I said here.

But for real help, get in touch with me and I'll be able to really nail down what story you should be telling and how to grab people by the seat of their pants and get them to listen...

And then get them to take action, like buying your stuff or paying you mega-millions (hopefully) for your services. 

We can help you do that in presentations, videos, sales letters and other cool stuff... So you can sell more of your stuff... Faster. If this sounds good, then let's talk.

If you're a first-time client, we've got a special offer for you...

A 30 second video about your business for only $500... A total bargain considering a lot of places charge $3000 per minute! We'll write the script, do an awesome voiceover (my voice!), and put together a killer video that you can also use as a PowerPoint presentation... minus the awesome voiceover, unless you want to pay me to do the presentation for you :)

Call me... My number is +82-10-9087-2086 internationally or 010-9087-2086 here in Seoul. Or you can email us by clicking here: Let's talk