The Regrets of the Dying

by J.D. Roth

The Regrets of the DyingFor the next year at More Than Money, we’re going to have a conversation about how to obtain personal and financial independence. To begin, I want to talk about death.

Australian singer-songwriter Bronnie Ware worked in palliative care for many years, spending time with men and women who were about to die. As she nursed her patients, she listened to them describe their fear, anger, and remorse. She noticed recurring themes.

In 2009, Ware wrote about her experience in a blog post that went viral. She turned that article into a book called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying. When people die, she says, they often express one or more of the following sentiments:

Blue Zones commonalities
Common attributes among Blue Zones

These regrets share a common theme. In each case, the dying lament having spent too much time seeking outside approval instead of focusing on their own feelings, values, and relationships. This is true regardless of wealth and social status.

Ware is not a nurse and she’s not a scientist – her observations are based on experience, not empirical data – but, from my reading, her conclusions match the research into happiness and human development.

Money can’t buy happiness – at least not directly. Money is a powerful tool, it’s true. Abused, it brings sorrow and suffering. Used wisely, it opens doors, delivers dreams, and fosters joy. Although wealth is no guarantee of well-being, the more money you have, the easier it becomes to flourish.

The bottom line: You don’t want to be rich – you want to be happy.

On your deathbed, you want to have lived a life without regret. To do that, you need to face and defeat your fears. You need to find joy in day-to-day activities, and then use that happiness as a platform to procure passion and purpose. And you need to forge freedom, both personal and financial.

This blog will show you how. Over the next year, we’ll explore each of these topics, and we’ll discuss specific strategies to improve your life. I’ll share what I know, and I hope that you’ll share your knowledge and experience too.

Updated: 06 January 2014

Do what's right. Do your best. Accept the outcome.
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