In 2013, Bronnie Ware, a nurse in a terminal palliative care unit, conducted a survey. She polled her patients in their last days in hopes of uncovering any regrets so others could learn from them. She posted her findings on her blog, which became an Internet sensation that later turned into a book. The findings struck to the human core.
If this were the last day of your life, what would your top regret be? In doing research for my next book, I asked life-coaching clients, students, friends and family this same question. After surveying people over a three-year period, I was surprised to see the results unvaried.
For many people, their biggest life regret has nothing to do with crazy adventures; it is wishing they did not deny themselves certain life pleasures.
The truth is you don’t have to be dying to have regrets. Everyone is alive but not everyone lives. What it comes down to is not the amount of experiences we have but the quality of each experience.
From the survey, most people’s top regret has nothing to do with crazy adventures or traditional bucket list checks — it’s wishing they didn’t deny themselves certain life pleasures.
The majority of us all want the same things: to love, to give and to be happy. But when it comes to the end of our life, the things most of us spend our life doing are often our largest regrets.
Here are what I've found to be the top regrets of people across the world:
1. I wish I didn’t worry so much.
2. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, instead of the life others expected of me.
3. I wish I had let myself be happier.
4. I wish I were more present when I spent time with family and close friends.
5. I wish I trusted myself more.
6. I wish I left the job I hated sooner.
7. I wish I pursued my dreams and aspirations.
8. I wish I had forgiven more.
9. I wish I knew it was OK to be my own friend; I should have accepted myself sooner.