Life can sometimes be tough and somewhat confusing. If you have not found your real purpose in life, keep looking, don't settle. If you give up, you will be holding yourself back from something great. You may not know what it is exactly, but deep down inside, you can feel something missing, and if you don't search for it, you may live to regret it.
I read a book by Jake Ducey, The Purpose Principle, How To Draw More Meaning Into Your Life. In the book, Jake referred to a palliative nurse who has counseled the dying in their last days and revealed the most common regrets they had at the end of their lives. Bronnie Ware, the Australian nurse, spent several years working in palliative care, caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives.
She recorded their dying epiphanies in a blog called Inspiration and Chai, which gathered so much attention that she put her observations into a book called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying which are illustrated below.
1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled.
2. I wish I hadn't worked so hard.
This came from every male patient that Bronnie Ware nursed. They missed their children's youth and their partner's companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but 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.
3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
Many people suppressed their feelings to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks, and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called 'comfort' of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and themselves that they were content when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.
Sometimes we take life so much for granted and think we have some special gift that will give us life forever when the reality is we have limited time on this planet. Steve job said in his Stanford commencement speech." Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
You must enjoy your life and make the best of the time you still have. It's never too late, life is a gift, and it's not something to waste.
About Gifford Thomas
I am the founder of Leadership First and the author of The Inspirational Leader, Inspire Your Team To Believe In The Impossible. At Leadership First, we are committed to publishing the very best inspirational leadership quotes and articles to inspire our 330,000+ community of leaders to believe in the impossible, while creating an environment free from toxic, fearful and intimidating leadership. We believe everyone can and should enjoy their work, but it must start with the leadership leading by example. Follow our community of leaders HERE, and let's change the leadership status quo to help inspire and motivate our leaders to make a difference and create an organization their people will love.
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