Unless you simply aren’t human, you probably find yourself asking the oldest question in existence: how can we find happiness? Unfortunately for us, there is no book on happiness that gives us a direct route to the nearest smile that is guaranteed to stick around for days at a time. Instead, we have to write our won book. We have to build, pave, and then follow the road that hopefully leads there even though we have no idea if we are even going in the right direction. One of the biggest things we encounter on this road are chances. Taking a chance can lead to multiple outcomes, but the two most common are happiness and regret. The worst thing about regret is that it sneaks up on you like a ghost in a dark room. Once regret has you by the throat, there’s no letting go. Often times we avoid taking chances all together just out of the fear of regret. So how do we know what chances are worth taking? We must learn from the experiences of others and calculate it into our own lives. Luckily for you, we’ve compiled a list of the most common regrets people experience as they get older. Carefully read over them and make the decision on your own if it a chance worth taking.
Trying to be normal.
In middle school and high school, the main goal of the average teenager is to fit in. We want to wear the popular shoes, listen to the popular music, and hang out with the popular people. We are willing to do this at the risk of not being true to ourselves. With the growing plague of bullying in schools, it’s easy to see why being different or even being yourself can be scary. But the truth is nobody is normal. Once we become adults, the normal and popular people from high school often become the boring ones. It’s people who weren’t afraid to be themselves that typically go on to not only be successful, but are also the most fun to be around. Unless you are truly just a normal person, be true to yourself. Don’t become a clone. Stop wearing a mask and be proud to be one of the billions of individuals alive on Earth.
Not pursuing their dream.
Do you really want to be a sales person for a popular company, or is that just the safe route? Much like trying to be normal, you’re simply lying to yourself and everyone around you when you take the easy or safe way instead of doing what you really want. In ten years, you will regret this decision above almost anything else. You will see a select few who are actively doing everything possible to bring their out of the ordinary jobs to life. Meanwhile, you’re looking for jobs online and calling recruitment agencies instead of creating your own opportunities. Sure – you can play it safe and live the typical 9-5 lifestyle. However, if you don’t follow your dreams, you will be helping somebody else follow theirs. Even if you don’t succeed in making your dreams a reality, it is always better to live a life full of “too bad’s” than a life full of “what if’s.”
If you get started down this path, it is very hard to recover. Much like you can get an addiction of drugs, you can also get an addiction of unhealthy food. When you are in your teen years or in your twenties, your metabolism is moving much faster than it will in your thirties and beyond. So unless you change your ways now, you could be looking at an infinite list of health issues like heart disease or obesity. Unfortunately for you, the excuse that healthy eating is more expensive is starting to slip out the door. Today, you can set up for diet meals to be delivered right to your door step for the price of a fast food lunch. If you don’t change your eating habits now, you will definitely regret it in ten years. If you’re lucky, you’ll be around in 20 years to regret it, too.
Letting stress get the best of you.
When we fail to see the big picture of the miracle of life itself, we get caught up in the intricacies that simply don’t matter at all. These intricacies are what lead to stress. Stress has become one of the greatest enemies to mankind. You can’t even walk into a drug store or doctor’s office without coming across stress treatments or sign-up sheets for the newest stress clinic. Stress often blocks are brain for focusing on just how lucky we really are. We simply block out the things that really matter in life. When a stressful situation presents itself, you will regret diving head first into it instead of taking a step back. If you have a difficult time doing that, it’s never too late to venture into natural stress relief with yoga or meditation.
Continuing to associate with negative people.
Remember the old saying, “you are what you eat”? In this case, “you are who you eat with.”When you remember that keeping the company of negative people is a choice instead of an obligation, you free yourself from jealousy and greed and open yourself to compassion and useful advice. Don’t ever feel obligated to do anything for people if they aren’t helping you achieve your goals in any way. There are 86,400 seconds in a day. Wasting any of that precious time with someone who is going to drag you down, even if it’s unconsciously, is the easiest way to bring depression and unneeded anger into your thoughts.
Giving up during rough times.
Anybody who has a conscious mind will experience failure when pursuing something they desire. Unfortunately, we’ve associated failure with negativity. Outside of medical emergencies like bladder or liver failure, failure can be one of the single best things that will happen to you. You won’t realize this until the moment has come and passed, but most people who look back on failed pursuits wouldn’t change them. You will learn more from your failures than you ever will in a classroom. Just because you fail at something doesn’t mean it is over. It simply means you have eliminated a way of accomplishing that goal. Mistakes and failure are a natural result of pushing your boundaries and trying to conquer what is ahead of you to reach your goals. It’s never about the failure or mistake itself, but rather about what you do after it occurs. Do you give up or do you get back in the game and swing harder?
Giving in to the social norms.
You’ll feel societal pressures in your twenties and thirties more than ever before, but don’t let this hold you back. You may constantly worry about how you should own a home, have kids, be married, or have a steady career. Drop all those expectations, and live life the way that makes you the happiest. Don’t feel down on yourself just because your life happens to deviate from the norm – you’ve got one life to live, so live it your way. Besides, rushing into a marriage you don’t really want will only end in heartbreak. Bringing children into that kind of world is something that is truly not fair to them. Just because you aren’t ready now doesn’t mean you won’t be in the future.
Endlessly waiting until tomorrow arrives.
Yesterday you said you would do it tomorrow, and tomorrow never comes. We always think we have more time than we actually do, but until you learn to take advantage of every last second you are given, you will keep procrastinating into nothingness. Stop ignoring your urges to work hard and put your ideas into reality. Make the most of your time, and realize how many chances you are given each day to take more steps towards your goal. This quote sums it up perfectly:
“The graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry our their dream.” – Les Brown
Not saving money.
You’ve heard it your entire life – save your money! Your mom has told you, your aunt has told you, and probably your best friend’s grandparents have told you, too. With today’s economy, even trying to save money for college is seemingly impossible. So how do you manage money you don’t have? There are always ways to put together the proper budget for that allows you to drop something into a piggy bank. When you hit your thirties, you will be thankful for every single penny you saved. Even if you can put a measly 1% of your paycheck into a savings account, you will thank yourself in the future.
Settling for less than you deserve.
You get what you’re worth in this life. Unfortunately, very few people realize just how much they are actually worth. If you see something you want, do everything in your power to get it. Stop settling for mediocrity or take the easy way out. Stop feeling entitled to anything or feel like you are going to get lucky, because until you prove yourself worthy of the things you dream of, you won’t come any closer to getting them.
The choices you make are completely up to you. However, you also have to live the consequences of those choices, as good or bad as they may be. As mentioned before, using other’s life experiences can help us make our own choices. To look even deeper into how you are living your life, take a look at what people on their deathbed say they regret the most in their lives.