A chalkboard was placed on a street in New York City for one day. It asked people to write their biggest regret, and they did. They didn’t put things like driving a new car or living in a particular place. Instead … they wrote things like not applying to med school, not following an artistic passion and playing it safe.
When the producers (Strayer University) stood back and looked at the regrets, the most commonly used word was a three-letter one. Not. As the video highlights, the regrets were about …
chances not taken
words not spoken
dreams not (ever) pursued
In what seemed like a cathartic move, they erased their regrets so they had a clean slate. They were not their regrets any more. Therein lies the message: Don’t be a prisoner to your regrets. You can clean the slate at any time of your choosing.
Every day is a clean slate.
Do the things you’ll regret not doing.
What about you? Are there things that you regret not doing? We all have them, I’m sure. But we don’t need to be defined by them. We can all play small, but to what end? Why not step onto the skinny branches of life, and do the thing you most want to do regardless of the wobbliness that may accompany it?
Do you recall the palliative care nurse that listed the five common regrets of the dying?
- I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
- I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
- I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
- I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
- I wish that I had let myself be happier.
I’m not suggesting being reckless or maudlin. But, it is good to learn from others. That suggests to me, to live a life that you can look back on and be satisfied with, knowing you did what you were inspired to do – that gave you real satisfaction. Ultimately it is a choice. Yours.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
~ Marianne Williamson, A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles
Would you consider sharing your hopes and aspirations here?