Five Things

I read an article recently by Dr. Travis Bradberry who is the author of a bestselling book called Emotional Intelligence 2.0. In it, he speaks about how each of us are weighed down by at least 70 decisions each day; how we handle each of those decisions and how they affect our lives.
He also speaks about a palliative care nurse by the name of Bonnie Ware who works with people every day who are usually three to twelve months from dying.

According to Dr. Bradberry, Bonnie has made a habit of asking her patients, during their conversations, if they had any real regrets in life. The following five responses made the list every time.

** They wish they hadn’t made decisions based on what other people think.
They realized when they lived life for others, they either made poor career choices or compromised  their own morals.

** They wished they hadn’t worked so hard.
We are programmed or taught that hard work leads to certain results or rewards in life; that we are providing for our families, their futures and well-being. But balance has always been the key when it comes to how much time we spend at our jobs. When work compromises a person’s ability to communicate and connect with those we love most, then our priorities need to be reassessed. As the old saying goes, no one on their death-bed ever said, I wish I would have stayed at the office longer. 

** They wish the had expressed their feelings.
We always think we have more time to say the things we need or should say to others. When time runs out, the regret of not having said those things is sometimes difficult to accept. In the words of John Mayer, Say What You Need To Say

** They wish they had stayed in touch with their friends.
With our day-to-day routines pulling us in many different directions, it’s easy to lose track of friends. Then thirty years go by and you wonder how and why it happened. Reach out.

** They wish that had let themselves be happy.
This was an interesting one for me but as I thought about it I understood why it would be there. Michael J Fox was on a magazine cover no long ago; an individual who has battled Parkinson’s disease since he was thirty years old. On the cover he was quoted as saying, Happiness Is A Decision.
He’s absolutely right. We all encounter challenges in our lives. Some more so than others. How we face those challenges and live our lives is our choice. It may not always be easy to accept or live with those challenges but our lives would be much richer and rewarding if we can allow ourselves to be happy.

Happiness is our choice.

Five things that can make a difference in each of our lives. All we need to do is listen to the suggestions of those who truly understand.

 

 

56 thoughts on “Five Things

  1. DailyMusings

    I would also like to share this George. It is a wonderful piece and I have to say I am happy that all 5 things listed would not be on my list at the end of my life. I came to realize their importance as I grew older. Thanks for sharing

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  2. Osyth

    May I share this on FaceBook? I think it deserves to be read by as many as possible or should I say that many deserve to read it and hopefully take note of the 5. We have, after all only one life ….

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    1. George Post author

      Thank you, Jodi. Sorry, it’s been crazy the last few weeks. Since you work in that field you would know better than most. It’s a difficult but enlightening time for those who choose to listen and learn.

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  3. Lynn

    All of these are so important to recognize before end of life. I think as I age I have tried to do a much better job of paying attention to all of the five you mention. Currently reading a book co-written by Sheryl Sanders & Adam Grant, called Option B. After suddenly losing her husband Sheryl writes about facing adversity, building resilience & finding joy. Great read & after reading your post today, I think the Universe is trying to tell me something. Message received! Thanks for this George πŸ’›

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    1. George Post author

      That sounds like an interesting book and in many ways it echoes the feelings of these patients.
      You know, when the Universe speaks, we should pay attention.😊

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  5. joylovestravel

    So thought provoking George. The last one really struck me, my family has had some big challenges over the last couple of years and I can definitely say happiness is a decision, no matter what, choosing to be happy makes everything better.

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  6. Ann Coleman

    I loved this post, because I agree with every single point. It seems these are lessons we tend to learn late in life, if at all, which is sad. I had two very good friends in high school (from even before that, actually) and I was not good about keeping up with them for far too long. But about ten years ago, the three of us decided we were going to get together at least once a year, even though we live 500 miles a part. I can’t tell you how happy I am to be back in touch…that yearly visit has led to regular texts, calls and emails, and they came to both of my kids’ weddings. I’m just sorry I left so much time go by before I figured out good friends are always worth the effort!
    As as for happiness, you are so right: it is a choice. We can’t keep waiting for things to be just right so we can be happy…..

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    1. George Post author

      I’m so glad you reconnected with your friends, Ann. Even though you lost some time you took the steps to get together once again and that’s what’s most important.
      As for happiness, it really is all up to us…:)

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  7. thechickengrandma

    This is a great post George! All five points are so valid! And yes happiness is a choice. I also believe there is a difference between happiness and joy. Joy is something that runs deep and remains through the tough times. It is not dependent on our circumstances where happiness seems to be. My thought anyway!
    I am going to have to reread this more than once!

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  8. reocochran

    George, such a powerful message! I am a worrier, sometimes forgetting that I am in control of my own fate. (Except family member’s sickness, deaths, health, I suppose. . .)
    I choose daily to “Be Happy” and try to keep the “worry wart” at bay! Great list of five reminders to live by! πŸ™‚

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  9. Kim Gorman

    I really enjoyed this post, George. I can easily see how this 5 things were repeated by people on their death beds. It’s the simple things in life that bring is the most joy but most of us are too busy being busy and striving to know it and live it. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about going back to part time work. It gave the perfect balance. My husband has gotten spoiled by me providing amazing benefits though and so isn’t supportive of this. I’m close to not asking for his approval. I just want to be happy.

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    1. George Post author

      You have the power to make your own happiness, Kim. Discussing things is always important but at the end of the day what your heart tells you is best is where you should be…:)

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    1. George Post author

      You’re right, It is easier in hindsight, especially the work thing. I guess Mark Twain was right when he said, life would be infinitely happier if we were born at 80 and gradually approached 18..:)

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  10. sportsattitudes

    I wish everyone would take these five things to heart and adjust accordingly. I consider myself fortunate indeed that I started to accept these as truths some time ago and have made changes in how I go about my daily living. Glad to see you “getting the word out” here George…lots of great comments from readers also.

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  11. my one life. today

    Funny coincidence, a few weeks ago after a mini meditation on what I do do if I only had six months to live (somber but very effective) I came up with pretty much the same list. I wrote it down and have actually started working on it. Why wait till it’s too late and all we have are regrets….?

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    1. George Post author

      I think we all we all consider our mortality at different times, as you did, but push away those thoughts because they scare us. We never write down or act on the things we’d like to do or change because we always think we have more time. I love the fact that you not only made a list but are acting on it😊

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      1. my one life. today

        I see you found my list πŸ™‚ I’m currently working on the basement while mentally preparing for talking to my dad. Gulp. I’m determined to go through with this list, though, and adding on more things later. For now however am I focusing on the four items that came to my mind immediately when I did the meditation, and see how I feel once I’ve acted on all of them. Wish me luck (and courage)!

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  12. roughwighting

    Wise and true – ever point. When I learned that my guy and I would have to leave the SF Bay two years ago – the place I loved beyond all – to move to the East Coast, I was despondent. Then I read an Abe Lincoln quote that goes something like : “Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.” And he is so right. Make the choice to be happy. Find happiness in your life – no matter where you live – or what your circumstances are. The alternative sure isn’t worthwhile.

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    1. George Post author

      Abe was a wise man…:) Finding happiness in certain situations is very difficult but I think it’s critical to surviving those challenges. Some things are out of our control but how we deal with it is completely up to each of us.

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