One of the best ways to clarify what you want most from your career, your education, and your life is to ask yourself, “If I were at the end of my life looking back on it, what regrets would I have?” Teens and young people have difficulty answering this question because, for the most part, they are still in the phase of life where they see themselves as immortal. By your twenties and thirties or later, however, if you find yourself answering that you would regret not pursuing a specific career or a specific education, you can ignore your answer, but your desire for it will not end. Your desire will haunt you like a ghost in your heart
until you do pursue it.
Some studies about regrets show that having a fender bender or spilling your beverage are not the kind of regrets that bother people long-term. The regrets that bother people the most are the ones that are irreversible – like not spending more time with your children who are now grown, not spending more time with your parents who are now dead, and not pursuing a love interest that is no longer available. Not pursuing a career or education are among the lifelong regrets that bother people as well.
The advantage of knowing about this study is that you can make decisions now to avoid regrets later. If you already know what you would regret, pursue your dreams – if for no other reason, so you can die happy without major regrets!
If you need any incentive to overcome obstacles to your dreams, here are some words of inspiration:
Until one is committed
there is hesitancy,
a chance to draw back,
The moment one definitely
commits oneself, then
Providence moves too.
All sorts of things occur
to help one that never
otherwise would have occurred.
– W. H. Murray, The Scottish Himalayan Expedition
P.S. Are you in the ideal career for you? Find out with our Ideal Career Quiz.