In life, we all inevitably accumulate a certain number of regrets, just through the messy business of everyday decision-making, and our own often-limited perspectives and outlooks on things.
Of course, life is finite, and whether or not you are actively researching flat headstones and contemplating your mortality, everyone obviously wants to minimise the number of regrets they accumulate and experience over the course of their lives.
Here are a handful of good tips and approaches you can try that might help to minimise your regrets in life.
Strike the right balance between savouring the present moment, and pursuing your goals
To have a fulfilling and fully engaged life, and one where you don’t feel that you are missing out on some of the most important aspects of your existence, it’s important to strike the right balance between savouring the present moment, and pursuing your goals.
If you live your life entirely goal-focused, and never stop to appreciate and engage with the present moment, you can trick yourself into never really “living” and appreciating satisfaction in life, but instead, constantly chasing after fulfilment that you expect to always be just over the next horizon.
On the other hand, if you live your life entirely focusing on savouring the present moment, you will stagnate and miss out on a lot of the great things that come with having a sense of direction, and pursuing valued aims.
To minimise regret in your life, you have to find the right balance between these two things. Appreciate, be present for, and savour the blessings of everyday life – both large and small. At the same time, have some goals, and a sense of the general direction you want to head in.
Don’t be afraid to engage with your work and life in a spirit of play
Treating life with sombre, stone-cold seriousness and intensity at all times is likely to be a pretty effective way of causing yourself needless excess stress, and causing you to miss out on a lot of the happiness and positivity that could be present in your everyday experiences.
Instead, be bold enough to engage with your work and life in the spirit of play – having fun with the process, and approaching things in a more light-hearted manner overall.
If you are worried that this will make you unsuccessful or unproductive, it’s worth keeping in mind that many of the most successful people out there report experiencing their work as play.
Emphasise the importance of interpersonal connections
According to surveys done of people on their deathbeds, a lack of interpersonal connections ranks among the most prominent and common of all regrets.
As the saying goes, “people need people,” and many of the richest experiences in our lives are inevitably those we share with others.
Emphasise the importance of interpersonal connections in your own life, and spend more time actively engaging with other people – especially those who you care about the most.
Regret often comes from neglecting these connections, but it likely never comes from paying attention to them.