I try to live my life with this question always in the back of my mind:
"What would I regret if I died tonight?"
There is so much power in that question. I believe that if we all lived like today was our last day, we would do life so much differently. We would say “I love you” more, help out those in need, take more risks, and kick back at fear more often and not let it and other people define our lives. We’d live more adventurously, maybe quit our jobs, and go explore the world. But I think it’s time we start doing those things today.
There aren’t a great many things that I truly hate, but regret is one of them. We can’t live our lives to the fullest if it’s filled with regret. Because we can’t change the past. The risks we didn’t take, the words we didn’t say, or the chances we missed can’t be taken back.
I see this as an amazing opportunity to make my life count. To make sure that every day I intentionally set out to live it to the fullest. Not in a reckless or undisciplined way. But in a way that says to the world:
I recognize that I only get one shot at this life, and I won’t let it go to waste.
But how can we fight regret in our lives and live more intentionally? It starts with a few simple steps
1. Be OK with messing up.
Nobody is perfect, least of all me. So we have to learn to be okay when we make a wrong decision or mess up. It's called grace.
There will be situations where we do something we end up regretting. And the best way to live is have a short memory and move on and focus on the next thing. Accept your mistake, and try to do better the next time in that situation. But the only thing worse than regret is beating yourself up for messing up. Give yourself grace, because you'll get another chance.
2. Punch fear in the face.
Get pissed off at fear, and go straight at it. Punch fear in the face, because it has no place in your life. Fear will try to convince you away from taking risks or saying something wrong and messing up. Don't listen to that voice. Failing is better than succeeding at doing nothing.
The fear of looking like a fool is real, but it is completely irrational. We all mess up and look like an idiot at times, but if this fear is keeping you from doing what you need to, it's time to give it a kick in the rear and show it to the door. Fear has no place in your life. Get rid of it.
There's nothing more paralyzing than living in fear. Go ahead, take a risk. You got this.
3. Live like you're going to die tonight.
What would you do if you only had one more day to live? Go do that thing.
What would you say if you only had a few words to spare? Say them.
The most freeing thing is coming to the end of a day and saying, "I have no regrets."
What if we all lived this way? Laying our hearts on the line, speaking the truth, and taking scary chances that could go the wrong way. But it's all worth it. A life without regret is a life worth pursuing. We can't eliminate all regret, but if we can be OK with our mistakes we'll sleep better and live knowing that we gave it everything we had.
So go, live your life. Speak what needs to be said, do what needs to be done, and live like you're going to die tonight. See what happens in a life lived with abandon.
Because life is short, and I think we should make it awesome.
Practical Next Steps
What's an area of your life that you have a lot of regret in? Think about this area, and then make a plan for how you will fight regret in that area. In the coming days and weeks, as you execute that plan, notice if you feel better and have less pain regarding that area.
Please let me know by email if this works for you! I want to see you live your life to the max, and that means having no regrets. We're in this thing together.
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