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.
- 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
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
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
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.
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
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