Living A Life With No Regrets


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Living A Life With No Regrets

[originally published in The Meadville Tribune’s Active For Life supplement 4/27/2011]

“The average person goes to his grave with his music still in him.”

Oliver Wendell Holmes (1)


In his classic work, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah, Richard Bach states, “You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it true. You may have to work for it, however.” (2) Jim Rohn, America’s Leading Business Authority On Success, says, “We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.” (3)


Most of us start life starry-eyed, full to the brim with dreams, hopes and aspirations. Unfortunately, the realities of life have a way of setting in, chipping away at and eroding our dreams. Some, perhaps most, give up their dreams, at least “temporarily” to: raise a family, pay the bills, follow a career, not upset another (spouse, parent, teacher, etc.) and on and on. Before you know it, decades may have passed. Every major life transition such as marriage, divorce, job loss, illness, retirement and loss of a spouse or loved one tends to re-connect us with our inner longings, begging the question: When would NOW be a good time to resuscitate those dreams? How about you? If you knew for certain you would die tomorrow, could you honestly say you would do so without any regrets? Or, is there still something, deep within you, yearning for expression, burning to get done?


Long-term survival rates for some of the more serious ailments (think: cancer) are highest among those who are able to re-frame their illness as a positive experience more than just a negative one; the “best worst” experience of their lives, so to speak. Finding the rose among the thorns is no easy task, initially. But, it can be done. As Napoleon Hill states in Think And Grow Rich, “Every adversity… carries with it the seed of an equivalent or a greater benefit.” (4) One of the biggest potential benefits of a major illness is that it forces some to take action. So many put their hopes, dreams, needs, etc. “on hold” until “someday.” When they become ill, it brings “someday” into the NOW.


A few years back, Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman starred in a wonderful movie called “The Bucket List.” Faced with only six months to a year left to live, they compile a “bucket list,” a list of things they want to do, see and experience before they “kick the bucket.” Basically, it is a written listing of their innermost dreams and longings. They could have written and pursued their “bucket lists” at any time in their lives up until that point, but never did. Only when faced with the near certainty of imminent death did writing and accomplishing a bucket list seem important. Near the end of the movie, one of the actors acknowledges having “lived” more in what turned out to be the final three months of their lives than either had done in their entire lives up until that point.


By choosing to honor their spirit and follow their innermost passions for those three months, they finally were saying: 1. “I matter.” 2. “My dreams matter.” 3. “I am following my dreams because I am worth it!” How different would your life be if you said (and meant) those same three statements to yourself?


Wayne Dyer states, “You’ll seldom experience regret for anything that you’ve done. It is what you haven’t done that will torment you.” (5) As my wife Lisa says, “Regret is a self-inflicted prison on the soul.” Only by honoring our innermost longings can we be complete. The discipline it takes to follow your dreams is nothing compared to the regret you will feel if you don’t. It shouldn’t take a terminal illness to motivate you to take action. You do matter! Your dreams matter! Follow your dreams now because you are worth it! The time to resuscitate your dreams is NOW. Don’t let it pass you by!


Dr. Jon M. Ketcham, Author of iContractor 1 & Dream re-Kindler to Earth-bound Travelers of Light




(1)  Brian Tracy Quote of the Day, February 3, 2011

(2)  Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah, Richard Bach p. 120

(3)  The Treasury of Quotes by Jim Rohn, Jim Rohn p. 40

(4)  Think And Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill p. 55

(5)  Insight of the Day, Bob Proctor, February 17, 2011



Copyright 2011

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