Updated: December 30, 2020
American novelist Kurt Vonnegut once said, “Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are: It might have been.”
Indeed, getting to the end of your life burdened with “could have’s” and “should have’s” is a painful experience that no person wants to happen.
But how do you avoid living a life full of regrets?
Below are five simple rules, which are admittedly not that easy to follow, but that’s what makes them all the more important to remember.
Rule #1: Never let your memories outweigh your dreams.
It’s good to remember the past and reminisce all the great times and achievements you had. But move away from constant nostalgia.
The future is yet to come, and still ahead of you are several lifetimes that is full of possibilities and opportunities waiting to be pursued.
Your book of life is never done until you take your last breath. When you finish writing one chapter, start the next one. Don’t stop taking risks.
And most importantly, don’t give up on your dreams. Always aspire and never lose your sense of adventure.
Rule #2: Be fair and kind, even if others are not.
Life is unfair – but it doesn’t mean you have to be. Always listen to every side of the story and never be too quick to pass judgment on others.
Be kind and believe that each person is inherently good. Because when you do, dealing with difficult people becomes easier.
Be tough, but tenderhearted. Be nice, but don’t let others take advantage of you.
Remember that life is not about getting people to like you, it’s about finding people you’d like to spend life with.
And when you find those people, always be fair and kind to them.
Rule #3: Plant more than what you can sow.
Learn to lead. Teach what you know. Be a hero to someone. Give sincerely. Care deeply. Love generously. Be passionate about helping others. Realize that you have the power to make a difference in someone’s life.
Be compassionate. An act of kindness is often enough to give hope to someone who is down and out. Live your life to the fullest, but leave this world a better place than how you found it.
Rule #4: Earn your success by serving others.
Money and fame that comes at the expense of others is not success, it’s simply an act of greed, and one that you’ll surely regret later in life.
Work hard. Follow your passion. Make a positive impact in other people’s lives.
Strive for excellence without pushing others down. Be an entrepreneur that solves problems, and judge your success by the gratitude of the people you’ve helped.
Rule #5: Be happy with what you have while working for what you want.
Build positive relationships with the people you love and respect. It’s one of the most effective ways to experience happiness.
Life can sometimes be sad, and that feeling can linger for days or weeks, but never stay too long under that cloud. Understand that there is always a choice.
Practice gratitude. Believe in abundance. Work for mastery. Be self-directed. Live life with a purpose.
When you learn to do these things, happiness becomes an easier choice. And regret would nothing be but a fleeting thought you can dismiss because you’ve chosen to live your life courageously with honor and passion.