overcoming fear of regrets

Can I get a do-over? – Said Everyone

What if tomorrow was the last day of your life, would you have any regrets regarding the things you did or didn’t do?

We have all experienced a sense of remorse or regret at some point in our lives. If you haven’t, then you’re one of the lucky ones. The holidays and end of year bring with it, a time to reflect on the past years experiences and for many, it’s the jump off point to looking into goals for the new year.

The challenge for many is that the road to 2017 is paved with regret and a feeling of “what if’s” and “should haves” and however uncomfortable this may be, it’s quiet normal…it’s called remorse of more widely known as regret.

So what is regret? 

  • re·gret / regret; 
feeling sad, repentant, or disappointed over something that has happened or been done; a loss or missed opportunity.

“ The saddest summary of life contains three descriptions: could have, might have, and should have.”

How it shows up:

Living in fear is the quickest way to live a life of regret and it also happens to be the most common. As I was writing this article, I couldn’t help but remember what Carol Dwecks book “Mindset” said about the importance of having a growth mindset (versus a fixed one) so that an individual can take risks, push themselves to learn and develop their talents and abilities along the way. In her words:

  • “This growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts. Although people may differ in every which way — in their initial talents and aptitudes, interests, or temperaments — everyone can change and grow through application and experience.”

Well, there you have it – everyone in “theory” can change and grow.

Now it’s about getting yourself into action, and putting yourself in situations to learn which should keep your level of regret and remorse to a minimum. Sounds great but the application does take some time and effort.

There are actually quite a few different opinions as to what really works (and doesn’t) in terms of living a life with little to no regrets. From my research, all signs point to there not being any one singular action or belief but rather a combination of a few – repeated intentionally and over time could shift your mindset and indeed move the needle on your happiness.

Here are 4 ways to take action in the new year:

  1. Embrace Failure. The people with the most regrets in life are those that are afraid to fail. Nothing is achieved without failure at some point along the road. Therefore if you’re only going to take the easy road and try to avoid failure then you’re setting yourself up for a life of regrets. No one likes failing, making a mistake, saying the wrong thing or rejection. However they’re a natural and necessary part of the process called life.
  2. Don’t Waste Time. Time is the one thing we can never get back, yet we squander it away on a daily basis only to then complain how we never have enough. Stop telling yourself the same excuses and lies only putting off the potential. You know all those things you’ve always wanted to do? You should go do them.
  3. Stop Being A Victim. Complaining is the food of choice for victims and drama is always on the dessert menu. Being a victim drains both your time and energy while yielding little to no results. Your brain is hardwired to protect you by avoiding trouble, danger or anything that’s outside your comfort zone but in reality – this is also one of the oldest parts of our brain which hasn’t evolved since we lived in caves. Unless you’re reading this now in a cave, it’s time to move on and seize the day.
  4. Eliminate “What If” From Your Vocabulary. These simple two words strung together have stopped more people, caused more heartache and more sleepless nights and definitely more stress. Commonly heard phrases such as: what if they laugh at me, what if I fail, what if I look stupid are universally accepted in todays conversations. The reality is that until you try, you will never know. The actual percentage of anything-bad happening is far less than the reality of nothing happening if you don’t take action. Remember Michael Jordan’s famous quote: “You miss one hundred percent of the shots you don’t take.”

Final thoughts: If you really want to live a life free of regrets then simply decide what you want and go after it. Look for opportunities to expand yourself and don’t wait for someone to knock on your door, go start knocking on your own. Oh, and if you happen to be waiting for a sign, consider this is it.

The floor is yours: What will you accomplish in 2017?

Please leave your comment below as your insights are greatly appreciated and a learning opportunity for everyone reading this article.

With leadership,

Joshua / www.JoshHMiller.com

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