Avoiding Regret



The number of folks in my generation whom I’ve talked to about “being successful in life.” Somewhere around my age (32) you start to question your accomplishments and think, “I should have done X by now.” And sometimes, Y and Z. The list can go on and on. From owning a home to starting a business, everyone’s got their own measure for regret.

So it occurred to me that rather than form regrets now, why not look ten years in the future and form them there?

Confused? Good. Just follow me for a sec.

Imagine you’re ten years older than you are now. You’re ten years older and wiser. You have ten more years of experience, laughter, anger, sadness, love, relationships, and life. It’s two days after your birthday and you’ve found your favorite spot to sit and think about life. You’ve been thinking a lot lately on what you’ve done and what you wish you’d done. And then you say out loud, “I can’t believe I haven’t…” What? What was that you just said? That single, or those several things are just the things you need to focus on.

Congrats! By focusing on your regrets from the future, you’ve given yourself a set of goals.

What if you fail? You learn! Either how not to accomplish your goal(s), or that the goal(s) in question aren’t the right thing for you. It’s better to learn than to regret and beat yourself up about what you wish you had done.

For me? By the time I’m 42, I will have regretted not traveling, camping, and hiking in more obscure places (like Iceland, the Canadian tundra, New Zealand, Japan, and Norway off the top of my head). And I will regret not having focused on making a name for myself by producing cute things. And I want to have completed at least one of my comic ideas. It’d be nice if I learned another language or two, but those seem less important to my primary goals.

10 years of goals right there.  What are yours?


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