What do you think is the number one regret of the dying?
That they didn’t work harder? Fulfill somebody else’s expectations? Or that they made more money?
Of course that’s not what they regret.
Read on to learn about what people really regret before they die and how you can use this knowledge to make sure you live a meaningful life.
The most common regret people have on their deathbeds
Bronnie Ware, an Australian nurse, cared for the dying in the last three to 12 weeks of life for several years. Though you might not expect it, working in an environment were death was always present taught her a lot about life.
One thing she was particularly interested in was what her patients regretted now that their life was almost over. The answers were so fascinating that she made them into a book called “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying“.
The most commonly named regret:
“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.”, Bronnie says “When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. “
“Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.“
If not living our dreams is the most common regret of the dying, then why do we spend so much time trying to build a life around money, status and the expectations of others?
It doesn’t make sense. The only thing that does is to dare living our dreams.
How to give your life meaning: Live your dreams
If you’re anything like me, reading about what people regret on their deathbed makes you think about the way you’re currently living your life. It makes me want to go out there and live BIG, do the things I’ve always wanted to do not just on occasion, but to build a lifestyle around it.
So I can live a life that matters.
As a matter of fact, this is what Bright Little Socks is all about. I’m here to support you in living your dreams so you can create a life that has meaning to you. One that you’re passionate about. I do this not only because I believe that this is the only way to live, I do this because I believe that happy people will change the world, and helping you live a life you love is how I play my part in it.
Now what’s the first step to living your dreams? It’s to find your dream. If you don’t know what your biggest dreams are, which is the case for most of us when we’re just starting out, you cannot take the steps necessary to create a life you love
That’s why I’m creating a series about finding your dream to help you take the very first step it takes to live a meaningful life.
Over the coming weeks I’m going to share with you my best knowledge and lessons learned about everything you need to know to identify your own big dream.
It’s gonna be fun.
In the mean time, I want you to leave a comment and answer this one simple question:
Do you believe that living your dreams is vital to live a fulfilled life?
If yes, leave a comment telling me why you think it’s so important and what you’re currently doing to make sure you’re getting closer to your dreams.
If no, tell me more. Why do you think living your dreams doesn’t matter? Do you think it’s complete BS? Leave me a comment, I’d love to hear all about it.
Also, on a side note:
I’m still putting this content together right now. So, if you have any specific questions about finding your dreams, leave a comment asking your question, and I may be able to work it into this series.
When I asked you what you were struggling with last week, the most commonly named problem was all about feeling of not having enough time and the wish to be more productive. The second problem you were facing had to do with finding your way in life and knowing how to turn your vision into a reality.
First off I want to thank each and everyone of you that has answered my question and shared a part of your life with me. I feel humbled and so excited to have all you amazing people in our community.
I take your answers very seriously and will do my best to help you with your struggles in the coming weeks and months. As you know my goal here at Bright Little Socks is to inspire, motivate and empower as many people as possible to start living their dreams. Because I believe that step by step, person by person we can make the world a better place.
Today we’re going to address the problem of time management. Ever feel like there is never enough time? This is something a lot of us struggle with, me included.
I’m going to tell you a personal story and share the lessons I learned from saying no to one of the biggest opportunities in my life.
Ready? Let’s jump right in.
Our relationship to time
Let’s kick this off with a quote that talks about our relationship to time:
“For me, and for many of us, our first waking thought of the day is “I didn’t get enough sleep.” The next one is “I don’t have enough time.” … We spend most of the hours and the days of our lives hearing, explaining, complaining, or worrying about what we don’t have enough of… Before we even sit up in bed, before our feet touch the floor, we’re already inadequate, already behind, already losing, already lacking something. And by the time we go to bed at night, our minds are racing with a litany of what we did, or didn’t get done, that day. We go to sleep burdened by those thoughts and wake up to that reverie of lack…” -Lynne Twist in “The Soul Of Money”
This quote adequately sums up how many of us relate to time. We feel like we’re in a rat race with a never ending to-do list. No matter what we do, it never seems to be enough because there’s always the next day and the next item that we need to get done.
Does that sound familiar? I know I’ve been struggling with this in the past. To be honest, I am still struggling with this.
Let me tell you a little story to about how I was trapped in the “never enough time” mindset and what I did to escape it.
My personal story about what’s been going on between Mr. Time & me
A couple weeks ago my college semester was about to end and I had an incredible amount of work to do. On top of that I was working hard on the blog and at my job.
That’s when I was offered a scholarship at an online coaching school in exchange for me working as their coaching assistant. I was super excited! I had been thinking about the best way to improving my skills as a coach, and attending a coaching school had been one of my favorite options. This opportunity seemed perfect, because it would help me to grow as a coach without going into debt to pay for education.
I was confident that I would be able to fit the coaching school and the added coaching job into my already crammed schedule. I thought all I had to do was work harder or smarter. I would be able to handle it and if not… well, I could not let this opportunity pass me by. I would make it possible, no matter what it would cost me.
What I didn’t put into account was that I was already feeling more and more exhausted. I was tired, unable to focus and generally felt rushed and unable to relax on most days.
But I didn’t want to see it. I denied how I felt because I thought that I had no choice but to push through it and make things work. I needed this education.
So I tried to push myself even harder and told myself that it was not a big deal. But truth is that it was. I was burning myself out.
The bitter truth: Sometimes you can’t do it all now
Even though I resisted this realization with every cell of my body, I had to accept that I had too many projects going on. I had to cut back and do less.
Now I don’t know about you, but even though doing less sounded so appealing, I felt like there was no way for me to do so. It scared the bejesus out of me. Everything on my list seemed important. How could I possibly do less when I felt like I needed to do more?
It took me weeks to accept that I had to indeed do less, simply because I couldn’t do it all. It wasn’t because I was lazy, ineffective or unproductive, it just wasn’t possible.
So I made one of the hardest decisions I’ve made in my life: I let go of the coaching school. My gut was telling me that it wasn’t right for me. Even though I tried to convince myself and listed every possible reason that I needed to grab the opportunity, I had to see that it wouldn’t serve me in the end. It was not just my crammed schedule that spoke against it, most of all it was that little voice that kept telling me that I needed to focus my attention on other things. I had been ignoring this voice for quite some time, but when I allowed it to speak up, it became so loud that I couldn’t ignore it any more. And I’m glad I couldn’t.
A few weeks have passed since I made the call to turn down the opportunity. How do I feel about it now? I don’t regret it. When I made the decision it immediately felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders.
Today I’m going to share the golden nuggets and survival lessons that I learned from making this decision so you don’t have to burn yourself out like I did. You don’t only get Iris-proven strategies and ideas, there’s also a lot of wisdom I learned from my mentors, coaches and supporters that I reached out to searching for help.
How to get off the hamster wheel: 5 Things you can do right now
Listen to yourself. The first step to change is always to acknowledge what’s here now. Allow yourself to listen to your emotions and feelings and see if they’re telling you that you need a change. Don’t ignore your feelings like I did, it will only make you get sick (mentally and maybe even physically). You need to know that you’re not okay in order to know that you need to change and what you need to change. And remember, It’s okay not to be okay.
Understand your mindset. Most people don’t like to hear it, but your mind has more control over how you feel and how you perceive your reality than you realize. When you’re in the “never-enough” mindset and believe that there is not enough time in the day guess what, that’s exactly what you’ll experience.
So take the time to understand your own relationship with time and your beliefs about it. See if some of them are working against you rather than for you. Common misconceptions about time (that I had as well) include thinking that there’s never enough time in the day or the belief that we will achieve happiness and calmness only when we have achieved a certain goal and must power through it now. Those are perfect examples of beliefs that are not serving you well at all.
Then when you’re ready, it might be time to…
Reframe it. When you discover a belief that is not serving you, it’s best to replace it with a new, more empowering belief. The easiest way to do that is to find a mantra that will help you shift from a feeling of scarcity to a feeling of ‘enough’. I know mantras freak some people out. Relax. It doesn’t have to be woo woo. It can be as easy as telling yourself “No matter how much I get done today, it’s enough.” That one is especially good if you tend to tie your self-worth to how busy you are, like me.
When we develop a mindset that says that there is enough time, and that we are enough everything feels lighter. It’s as if a giant weight has been lifted from our shoulders. We’re able to see more clearly. We can fully engage in the task at hand and now that what we’re doing is enough. We don’t have to worry about all the other things we should be doing right now.
We can breathe.
Suddenly we realize that we could indeed…
Do less. This is the part that freaks almost every one out. “But Iris, I can’t do less! I’m already behind on my tasks!” I hear ya. It was the same for me. Do you think I was ready to let go of the coaching school just like that? I resisted it in every possible way. I found excuses on why I needed to keep it and how it would all work out.
But no. Sometimes you need to do less.
And guess what? Contrary to our first reaction, doing less actually helps us be more productive. How? It eases our mind and takes away a lot of the stress and pressure an overwhelming to-do list likes to trigger. We’re better able to focus and fully engage in the task at hand, rather than worrying about all the things we need to get done.
Of course you can’t just cut back on everything. There are certain areas where you need to…
Do more. We often feel burnt out because we’re doing to much of the wrong things and not putting enough emphasis on the right things. What are the right things you ask? Everything that helps you unplug, recharge and enjoy the journey. In a word: Self-care. Again, contrary to what we might think, spending more time replenishing our energy reservoirs often helps us get more done. When we spend less time working and add in small rituals of self-care, it helps with our concentration, focus and the energy we have available to perform each day.
What I need you to do now
If you feel trapped in an endless cycle of doing every day feels like a struggle. There’s no time to breathe, to sip some tea, or to read a good book.
I encourage you to look up from your messy to-do list and ask yourself whether or not it makes you feel good. And if you feel like you need it, pick one strategy from the list above and apply today. See if you can be courageous and listen to yourself, take time to understand why you’re feeling the way you’re feeling and then do less of the things that drain your energy and more of those that replenish it.
What my experience with the coaching school opportunity taught me is that in the end, is that it’s not so much about the time we have available. It’s more about how we balance the time we spend working and the time we spend taking care of ourselves, and the mindset we bring to the things we do.
My mission at Bright Little Socks is to help you create the life of your dreams. I do this because I believe that living our dreams is one of the fundamental ways in which we can change the world.
I want this site to be as helpful as possible for you. That’s why I’m asking you one small but important question today:
What are you struggling with when it comes to creating a life you love?
Leave me a comment below. Even if it’s just something small, don’t hesitate. The more I know about you and your situation, the more I can create things that are of value to you and our community.
I’ll read and reply to every comment. Because you, my readers, mean the world to me.
PS: If you don’t feel comfortable commenting publicly, just shoot me an email to iris [at] brightlittlesocks dot com
Hey, you. Yeah you.
You know what?
My generation will change the world. We will be the first to create a world that makes sense.
I know, I know.
Our parents probably said the same thing.
But things are different now. We are different.
We haven’t grown up in the same restricting society that our parents grew up in.
We grew up in peace, we had more freedom than any other generation before us. And this gives us a luxury that our parents didn’t have. It gives us the courage to imagine a different world.
We can see more there’s more to life than a job, marriage and retirement. We dream about all the possibilities waiting for us out there. It gives us the courage to not only dream for ourselves, but for others too. We envision what the world could look like. A world that makes sense.
Our generation is well aware of the state of the world we live in. We know it’s broken. Just like every generation we have the best intentions to fix it. What makes us different from all the others, is that we will take action. Now is the time.
The world doesn’t make sense
If you think the world is okay the way it is, just watch the news tonight.
Skinny models, fat people at Mc Donald’s, cheap quality fashion items made to only last one season, child labor in clothing factories to produce said items, people from Africa stranding on European beaches, the throw-away culture in the West, wars, divorces, unemployment, burn out, dictatorships, global economic crisis, inflation …
I hope this list didn’t make you click the X button on the upper right. I know, it’s frustrating. It’s easy to think that this is how it’s supposed to be. That this is somewhat of a natural state. Problems, absurdity and destruction no matter where you look.
But what if…
What if this all comes down to us believing that it has to be this way. What if the world is what it is only because we believe it can’t be any different, act in a way that affirms that, see the negative results of humanity’s behaviors believe there’s no way out, act in alignment with that….
See, when you believe that there is no way to end child labor in clothing factories you’re most likely to give up any rebellion and start buying at the bad stores too, because you feel like your choice doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.
Our world needs a global mind shift, followed by some massive action.
We’ve all been conditioned to accept defeat and acknowledge that the horrible state of the world is a given that we can’t change.
Now who would be brave and foolish enough to challenge the status quo and think differently?
That’s why I believe it’s on us to make the first step. Our parents, our teachers, the postman, everyone that has passed 30 has probably already been disillusioned and is too conditioned to be able to make even the slightest rebellious and unconventional change.
But we, the young people, the college students, the high school dreamers, the ones that haven’t given up searching for a meaning in all this, we can change. In fact we desperately long to.
I believe that my generation is full of potential rebels. My purpose is to wake them up and show them how they can live like they mean it and change the world.
So what I ask you to do today is to take one tiny action. I don’t care how old you are, whether you feel rebellious or have watched the spark die inside you. I want you to pass this article on to one person that needs to hear this message. If everyone shares it with just one person, that’s already a small mindshift revolution.
We are all potential rebels. It’s upon us to make the world we envision a reality. [Click to tweet]
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it.
Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
You have this big project you want to start. It will change your life. Well, maybe it will. You don’t know yet because you’ve never done anything like it before. But it seems that the only way to find out is to give it a shot and see what happens.
The problem is, even thinking about taking some real action towards your goal scares the crap outta you. It’s as if you were a child again, lying in the dark waiting for the monster to crawl out your closet. You’re terrified.
Yet there is this feeling in your gut that tells you that this might be an awesome adventure and lead to opportunities that you don’t even dare to dream about at this point.
Here’s the thing: You’ll never be a bestselling author if you don’t write that first book. You’ll never land your dream job if you don’t do the soul searching to figure out what you want. And in my case, you’ll never make a living from your blog if you don’t start blogging. Simple, eh?
But how on earth could little you dare to do something so bold, so big and so effin’ scary?
“This is too big for me”
That’s exactly what was going on in my head when I had decided to start a blog last spring. I wanted to write a blog that matters, that changes the world and allows me to make a living doing what I love.
This project scared the crap outta me.
Who was I, the broke 20 year old college student, to dare say I wanted to change the world? What if no one would care about what I have to say? And how on earth should I be able to deal with all those technical HTML weirdness that comes with blogging?
All I had was a burning desire to write about the topics that fascinated me most: “lifestyle design” (create a life on your terms) and “personal development” (grow as a person to live your best life) and world change.
Yeah, those were vague ideas at best. So…
If we’ve never done anything like it before, how dare we think we can make this work?
How can we be so foolish to even take the first step?
These kind of doubts arise naturally when you decide to do something meaningful. They have stopped countless people before you.
I don’t want you to be one of them.
Your dream is worthwhile it’s bold, brilliant and innocent. Taking the first steps and then sticking to it is hard, but you and your dream deserve it.
I’ve learned a thing or two about starting big scary projects as I launched Bright Little Socks. Today I’ll be sharing with you the key lessons I learned so you can go out there and create something meaningful.
The 5 essential steps to starting any meaningful project
- Do you really want this? Sometimes it’s easy to think that we want to do big bold thing x because we know it would make our daddy proud. The thing is, if you don’t really want this yourself, you’re going to burn out pretty quickly. We don’t want that. So take a moment (and grab my best friend, Mr. Journal) to reflect on your WHY behind starting this project.
- Don’t reinvent the wheel.It’s unnecessary and takes even more blood, sweat and tears than needed. No matter how out of space your idea is, there’s probably someone who has done something similar before. Find the person who has done what you dream about and see if she has a process you can follow. If not, ask amazon’s book section.When I got serious about starting a blog that matters, I bought a course on the exact topic by the expert in the blogging industry Corbett Barr. All I did was follow his action plans because I knew they would inevitably lead me to launching a decent blog. Bottom line: You don’t have to do this all on your own. Find someone you can model and do it.
- Limit the time you spend in research phase. Maybe you’ve escaped into books and blogs to learn everything you can about your topic to be as prepared as possible. The problem is that most of us never stop preparing. Spend two weeks researching, find someone whose process you can model and then get to work.
- Set deadlines and tell people. It took me two months after I had setup my blog domain to finally commit to a launch date. Deadlines are scary things because they somehow make the project seem more real which can cause panic attacks. Needless to say I had to push back the launch date twice, but without the deadline, I’d probably still be talking about launching my blog someday. Also tell 3 people you trust what you’re about to do, and of course tell the people you want to get advice from (only take advice from people who have done it before). This will give you a sense of accountability.
- Just do it. There’s no shortcut that allows you to skip this step. You’ll feel scared no matter how prepared you are. You don’t need to have it all figured out at the beginning. Clarity comes through action, not from thought. Get that? So take the first step, no matter how small it is. Then take the next one. If you fall behind and let the project slide, accept it and get back to work.
When I launched my blog on October 9th 2012 I was terrified. I had to take about 3746 deep breathes before I found the courage to remove the maintenance plugin and reveal it to the world. And guess what happened? Not that much. Then slowly people started noticing. I got my first comments, my first email from a subscriber and I could start to see where this project could be going.
Finally launching a project often feels like the end of the journey, but it’s really just the beginning.
You don’t need to have it all figured out. Clarity comes through action. So go take the first step. [tweet this]
- How to Do What You Love, Change the World & Get Paid to Do it
- 18 Entrepreneurs & Bloggers Reveal How You Can Change the World
- Let’s Challenge the Scientists: The Happiness Experiment (join us!)
- How to Escape A Life That Bores You to Death
- The 8 Step Process to Figure Out Your Life + Free Workbook
- “This Is Too Big for Me” – No, It’s Not. Here’s How to Beat the Odds
- The Bright Little Socks Manifesto