My biggest fear in life is to have regrets.
A few weeks ago I stumbled into this article from viralnova.com on 37 regrets of the dying. So, I figured I would evaluate myself and how I’m doing on these… so that I make sure that zero of these are regrets when I’m old!
You say, what does this have to do with wealth? Well, wealth is an abundance of what you really want. It is freedom; personal, financial and spiritual freedom. And that is achieved by not having any regrets.
Here are the 37 regrets and the lessons that you can take away from these. Don’t let them be regrets for you!
1. Not traveling when you had the chance.
The world can really open up your eyes. From a small town in Ohio, I’ve always had the traveling bug. And I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to 21 countries and counting. I am in the middle of traveling for 7 months all throughout the U.S. and southeast Asia. The things you learn about yourself and others on these journeys are priceless.
A big lesson learned: cultures, people, things are not weird – they’re just different. Appreciate them and accept them for who/what they are, and your world will be so much better.
Lesson: Get outside of your comfort zone, and learn to appreciate the things that are different.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
Grade: A (follow my travels here: Facebook.com/austin.netzley and/or AustinGN.com)
2. Not learning another language.
3 Years of high school Spanish was used well on a senior trip to Cancun, but hasn’t been used much since.
Lesson: If you don’t use it, you lose it!
“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart. “ – Nelson Mandela
Grade: D (but learning Spanish is on the 2015 to-do list).
3. Staying in a bad relationship.
Some people love drama and like bad relationships. I don’t understand that whatsoever, but don’t have time for bad relationships, personally. Sometimes, you have to cut ties with people. It isn’t easy, but it is worth it.
A couple of years ago, I was hanging out with people that I knew I wasn’t going to be talking to in a couple of years. They were lazy, complainers, and just not people that were helping pull me up, like everyone in your network should do. It wasn’t easy, but overnight, I stopped talking to them. Cut ties. You won’t look back.
Lesson: The strongest thing you can do is make a hard decision now that benefits you for the rest of your life.
“Relationship is like cooking. Don’t waste effort on a bad recipe.”
4. Forgoing sunscreen.
I enjoy being in the heat and sun as much as possible, but can’t say I consistently add sunscreen. Spend a few minutes now, so I don’t have to worry about this later (sounds like the financial advice I give!). If we want to be studs (or hotties) later on in life, this is probably good advice to consider.
Lesson: What you do now impacts your life 30, 50 years from now.
“To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear. “
5. Missing the chance to see your favorite musicians.
Wealth is about accumulating assets and experiences, not things. And, in my opinion, a $35 concert is much better than a $35 meal. I will always be a fan of any live music, and will get an ‘A’ for this one.
Lesson: Buy experiences and assets, not things.
“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” – Bob Marley
6. Being afraid to do things
I have been afraid my entire life. Until now. Now I enjoy fighting fear and conquering that inner demon that never leaves anyone. It started for me by simply taking a freezing cold shower everyday. I would jump out of bed, head to the shower, turn it on cold, get psyched up, and jump in. It sucked. I was afraid each and every time. I would lose my breath, cringe and let it hit me. Then, it’d be just fine. This fear, it was all in my head. And I continued to step more and more outside of my comfort zone… I’m an engineer, so my social comfort zone was extremely small. Now, I can’t think of anything I’m really afraid of besides regret, and dying ‘too soon’. I had to develop an “F You” mentality to squash the fears in my own head. And it is an ongoing process. Fear never goes away, but you do learn to control it and conquer it. And it started, for me, with simply taking this freezing cold shower every day. Don’t let fear paralyze you.
Lesson: Fight fear by taking small steps outside of your comfort zone; by taking small steps, your subconscious won’t even know that you’re doing it!
“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” – Dale Carnegie
7.) Failing to make physical fitness a priority.
Fitness is a top priority in my life. You cannot be at the top of your game if you aren’t healthy. Sustained energy only comes from taking care of yourself and your fitness. I workout every single day, and usually for only 15 minutes. After playing sports my entire life, including college football, fitness is a must. Once you get in the groove of keeping fit, you’ll notice how much it really helps you in all other areas of your life, and you’ll never become unfit.
Lesson: As Ralph Waldo Emerson says, “The first wealth is health.” Take care of this and you’ll be able to do everything else that you want to do.
“Take care of your body. It is the only place you have to live.” – Jim Rohn
8.) Letting yourself be defined by gender roles.
Define yourself, don’t let society do it. I’ve often called myself an ‘enginerd’, and pride myself on being me… as different as I am in some areas. 🙂
Lesson: Do what you want, regardless of ‘expectations’ or what is viewed as ‘normal’. Be you.
“If you believe that discrimination exists, it will.” -Anthony D’Angelo
Grade: Pass (not a grade since it is easy being a white male in the U.S. But I am a huge proponent of the women I know well that stand up strong for women rights (shout out to La and Virzi!). Heck, I’m a fan of anyone that stands up for themselves in anything.
9.) Not quitting a terrible job.
I’ve been fortunate enough to not ever have a job I don’t like, but I did recently leave the corporate world in pursuit of going from good to great.
If you don’t like something, change it. Period. Life is too short to be unhappy. I have a pet-peeve, and it is called complaining. So many people complain about their jobs, but they do nothing about it. 12 Months from now, 5 years from now, you just know they’ll be doing the same thing: complaining and not doing anything about it. Don’t let that be you.
Lesson: A terrible job makes you: Just Over Broke.
“Choose a job you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” – Confucius
10.) Not trying harder in school.
I’m the opposite; I tried very hard and wish I’d have approached school and learning the right way – by building my network, building relationships and learning skills that are actually useful. In our typical school system, they don’t teach you a lot of great stuff. I learned how to study for tests. Grades are extremely important (they got me the job, scholarships, awards and opportunities I’ve had), but they aren’t everything. Learn good habits, and take advantage of the resources at school.
Lesson: School has great value only if you have a purpose.
“Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.”
Grade: A since I did try hard, or D since I maybe tried TOO hard. Overall: C+
11.) Not realizing how beautiful you are.
‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.’ Or as my buddy’s bar says, ‘Beauty is in the eyes of the beer holder.’ (Shout out to Pasco!)… Sorry, I needed an excuse to say that. Now, seriously, us males are (mostly) too tough to think about how ‘beautiful’ we are.
Lesson: You are the one and only you. And you sure are beautiful.
“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.” – Confucius
12.) Being afraid to say “I love you.”
Saying those 3 letters is so often awkward and scary. And that is a shame. To my family, my friends, and anyone else that I have learned from along the way, I love you.
Lesson: Telling someone you care for them is the
“Love is always open arms. If you close your arms about love you will find that you are left holding only yourself.” – Leo Buscaglia
13.) Not listening to your parents’ advice.
It’s funny how you realize more and more as you grow older, 1) how much your parents were right, 2) how much they know that you didn’t think they knew, and 3) how they have been in so many similar situations as you. My parents rock, and have always provided the best advice. Still today they are some of my most trusted advisors. However, I am very independent, and try to make my own decisions.
Lesson: Your elders are wiser than you think. Listen to them and utilize their advice.
“Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that comes before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.” – George Orwell
14.) Spending your youth being self-absorbed.
It’s a big world out there. You, and I, are only a small, small piece of it. Realize that, be humble, but be yourself.
Lesson: Realize that you’re not the center of the world, but you are the center of your world.
“Self-centered people have but only one topic to talk about… THEMSELVES.” – Stef Harder
15.) Caring too much about what other people think.
Nobody cares nearly as much as we think. People are too worried about how other people are judging them to judge someone else, so they don’t care about judging you. The average person has 50,000 thoughts throughout the day. If they have 10 about you, that is still 0.02%. You see? They don’t really care about judging you. And who cares what they think. (see article on not giving a f*** here)
Lesson: People do not care, so quit worrying that they do.
“Opinions are like ____. Everyone’s got one, and they all stink.”
Grade: C+, but improving. I don’t give a damn now. 🙂
16.) Supporting the dreams of others over your own.
This one, like a few others is a balancing act. You have to be selfless to be ultimately successful in my opinion, but you also have to be you, and live your own life.
Lesson: Make sure your dreams are your own, and that you see them through.
“If You Don’t Build Your Dreams, Someone Will Hire You To Help Build Theirs.” -Tony Gaskin
17.) Not moving fast enough.
Quit “should-ing” all over yourself. Move. Go. Run. Start. That is where you learn. I’m a perfectionist and used to never think I was ready. But as you get started, you learn. All that you have to know is your first couple of steps, and as you go the next few steps will become clear.
Lesson: Don’t delay, start today. Time is of the essence and action squashes doubt.
“Action is the true measure of intelligence.” – Napoleon Hill
Grade: First 26 years: D… Last 9 Months: A-
18.) Holding grudges, especially against those you love.
Let go. I personally don’t hold grudges. It happened, it’s over, move on. They have.
Lesson: One of those priceless feelings is just letting go. Let go.
“Letting go doesn’t mean that you don’t care about someone anymore. It’s just realizing that the only person you really have control over is yourself.”– Deborah Reber
19.) Not standing up for yourself.
I agree to disagree with people, but often find that it isn’t worth trying to convince others of my view. I don’t let others opinions change my position, but I don’t “stand up for myself” unless I’m directly challenged. I read an interesting quote recently in regards to what % of millionaires speak what is on their mind… and the number is only 6%. That means they bite their tongue.
Lesson: Stand up for yourself if 1) you are directly challenged, or 2) you strongly believe in something. If not, let it go and bite your tongue.
“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.” – Winston Churchill
20.) Not volunteering enough.
I am so fortunate. You are so fortunate. We’re healthy and wealthy enough to be reading/writing this post. We have endless opportunities to learn and improve. My favorites: Special Olympics, and volunteering with my family during holidays when we’re together. I do volunteer a few times each year, but need to up this area for sure.
Lesson: Give and you shall receive. This is really important.
“Research has shown that people who volunteer often live longer.” – Allen Klein
21.) Neglecting your teeth.
Frequent flossing and brushing are a new habit (thanks, Invisalign), otherwise I would have been a C- for teeth maintenance. The overall health benefits of taking care of your teeth and flossing are amazing.
Lesson: Attention to detail: it’s important, even when you think it is not.
“The difference between something good and something great is attention to detail.” – Charles R. Swindoll
22.) Missing the chance to talk to your grandparents before they die.
I make a lot of funny/embarrassing videos for my family, and give them as gifts every holiday. Some of my favorites are when I captured my grandparents’ stories on video. The stories they’ve told, the things they went through, it is all so amazing. One of the best trips of my lifetime was taking my Gigi back to his hometown to see where he and my Nana grew up outside of Boston, where his parents were buried, and taking him to a Red Sox game at Fenway. Talk about priceless. Wow.
I call my Gigi or my Grandma & Grandpa nearly every week. They light up every single time. Every. Single. Time. It takes just a few minutes while I drive, and is one of the most rewarding things anybody can do. They keep me up to date on news and movies and sports… and of course, the weather. It’s great. 🙂
And elderly people are hilarious. They much less care about saying things you’re “supposed to not say”. And at the end of the day, they’re just like you and I.
Lesson: People are smart, fun and interesting. Especially our elders. Be quiet and listen to them for a change.
“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.” – James Baldwin
23.) Working too much.
I work my ass off. Sometimes I work too much. But my view is, “Spend some time living like others won’t, so that I can spend the rest of my life living like nobody can’t.” I think you have to sacrifice, but you must have balance. I be sure to have fun, and a lot of it. I either work my ass off, or play just as hard. All business, all the time, 80% of the time.
Lesson: Balance is the word. Work hard, but work smart. Don’t work too much.
“I wish I would have spent more time at the office.” – Nobody in History
24.) Not learning how to cook one good meal.
I make the best oatmeal in the world (14 ingredients). And a mean peanut butter milkshake! Outside of that, I usually let the pros around me do their work. Oh, the life of a bachelor.
Lesson: Know your strengths and let others use theirs… but one good meal isn’t asking too much.
“There is no sincerer love than the love of food.” – George Bernard Shaw
25.) Not stopping to appreciate the moment.
Being present is a big focus of mine. When I stop working and spend time with my family or friends, I try to be 100% there. I try to realize how grateful I am to be doing everything I am. And writing this response has triggered me to stop and smile at how amazing it is to be able to do what I’m doing and connect with everyone in the world that I have through YoPro Wealth. Crazy. Thank you. I need to do this more often.
Lesson: Try it: randomly at a party or with family, step back, stop, and appreciate the moment.
“Today is a gift, that’s why they call it the present.”
26.) Failing to finish what you start.
It is easy to start. We’re all experts at starting stuff. But what happens when the ‘honey moon’ time period is over? Do you lose interest? Do you quit? Do you start something else? I did. In a perfect world, I would jump from project to project. I’m semi-ADD and can blame that all I want, but success comes from perseverance and finishing. What good is starting if you don’t finish?
Lesson: Anyone can start, only few can finish. Be in the few.
“The only purpose of starting is to finish, and while the projects we do are never really finished, they must ship… shipping is the collision between your work and the outside world.” – Seth Godin
27.) Never mastering one awesome party trick.
I never wanted to be the center of attention, and have zero party trick skills. If you have one that I can use, send it to me! 🙂
Lesson: Find a way to stand out.
“I realized after 4 years that calling myself a ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ was not the best compliment.” – Austin Netzley
28.) Letting yourself be defined by cultural expectations.
Cultural expectations can be defined by your country or your family/friends. Don’t let it define you.
Lesson: Define your expectations, don’t let them define you.
“It takes nothing to join the crowd. It takes everything to stand alone.” – Hans F. Hansen (shout out to Erica for this!)
Grade: Pass (since it is so easy being a white male in the U.S.)
29.) Refusing to let friendships run their course.
One thing that I’ve been fortunate enough to build is a close crew of best friends that will be that way for the rest of my life. I’d rather have a smaller, tight-knit group than a huge group with no real relationships.
A few things that have worked for me are: 1) understand how different people interact, and handle your relationships differently, and 2) don’t waste too much time on people you know that won’t be there to have your back or won’t be around in 5 years. Friends come and go, and the cream will rise to the top. Let it happen.
Lesson: If it isn’t right, it isn’t right. The best thing we can do is move on now sometimes.
“Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk ahead of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.” – Albert Camus
30.) Not playing with your children enough.
I’m so excited to have kids someday. But, as I don’t have kids yet, I like to enjoy my family and friends’ kids as much as possible. Forget adults, kids are more fun. 🙂
And I’ll be visiting my nephew every few months! Jaxon, get ready to play! (Actually I’m writing this right in between visiting him for a week full of playing.)
Lesson: The time is now. Be present, enjoy the moment, and take advantage of their youth. Nobody ever said, “I wish I wouldn’t have played with my kids so much!” on their deathbed.
“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than you can in a year of conversation.” – Plato
31.) Never taking a big risk (especially in love).
I am yet to fall in love. At some point in time, I will take a big risk in love. But not yet. As far as other risks, the only risk is in not taking risks. A few people thought I was taking a big risk by leaving an easy, six-figure salary in corporate America. I disagreed, and left to run my own ventures. I look forward to more risk-taking in the future!
Lesson: No risk, no reward. Be bold.
“Go big or go home.”
32.) Not taking the time to develop contacts and network.
Your network is your net worth. My network has tripled in the last year, and will at least triple again this year. It is impossible to do everything you want alone, but with the help of your network, you can do anything. It is so important to continue to build your network. You never know what types of doors it will open. It is like anything, challenging and scary at first, but oh so worth it. ‘You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with’ is a quote that has changed my life.
You really are, and your income is also within 10% of that average as well. Improve your network = improved life and wealth.
Lesson: Your network is your net worth. You are who you hang out with. If you want to improve, improve your network. It is a MUST.
“My network won’t let me fail.”
Grade: B+ (but getting better)
33.) Worrying too much.
I used to worry a ton. I was always worried about the future, about setting myself up well for the future. Now, I don’t worry too much at all. I laugh when I hear people tell me that I’m so relaxed and nonchalant because I haven’t always been this way. But now, I laugh at being worried. I know there is a way, and I’ll figure it out. A great practice is to : define the worst case scenario. Accept that, then improve upon it.
Lesson: Define the worst case scenario. Accept that, then improve upon it.
“The only difference between excitement and fear is the expected outcome.”
34.) Getting caught up in needless drama.
I don’t do drama. At one point in my life, I had to cut the group of friends I was hanging out with in half. Boom, overnight I stopped hanging out and talking to some dramatic people. The freeing feeling of never being involved in drama is priceless. I’d highly recommend you do the same. 🙂
Lesson: Drama takes way too much time and energy. Don’t get involved in it.
“So many people prefer to live in drama because it’s comfortable. It’s like someone staying in a bad marriage or relationship – it’s actually easier to stay because they know what to expect every day, versus leaving and not knowing what to expect.” – Ellen DeGeneres
35.) Not spending enough time with loved ones.
I’m in the middle of traveling around the U.S. and southeast Asia. 7 Months, 50 stops. And the majority of these stops are with, or to visit, my family and closest friends.
A kickass life to me is to have the freedom to do this as much as possible with the people that I want to do them with… and that is what I’m doing. We have limited time, so spend it wisely.
Lesson: What experiences do you remember throughout your life? That’s right, the ones with your loved ones.
“Family is not an important thing. It is everything.” – Michael J. Fox
36.) Never performing in front of others.
I am afraid of speaking in front of peers. Yet, I love the challenge of it. I’m terrible at it, yet, I will be great at it. I hate to even be behind the microphone. Go listen to my first few episodes of YoPro Wealth. I was horrible! I’m an engineer, and was built to be dealing with numbers and creating algorithms, not speaking to thousands and thousands of people. But, fight fear, perform in front of others. When you do it well, it is a feeling that makes it all worth it.
The biggest fear among people is public speaking. We’re more afraid of public speaking than we are of dying! How dumb is that?
Fight that fear, and perform in front of others. I’ll be on that ride with you.
Lesson: The biggest fear among anyone is public speaking. Even more so than death. Conquer it, and you can conquer anything.
“We would rather be the person in the coffin than the one giving the eulogy.”
37.) Not being grateful sooner.
One of my favorite lessons over the last few years has been the power of gratitude. Wow.
Thank you to my family for making my sisters and I so grateful for everything. I may not always say it, but I am so grateful for everything in my life. Poor manners is a pet peeve of mine. Be grateful, be humble. Many thanks to you for reading all of this!
Lesson: Make sharing gratitude one of your most important habits. It will pay off.
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” – Melody Beattie
It’s never too late to change your life, so start by changing these things.
You won’t REGRET it. (See what I did there?)
Now it’s your turn. How do you stack up with these regrets? Grade yourself here: 37 Regrets
Mike Kawula says
This was awesome Austin and great for all of us to reflect. I’m a huge fan of Tony Robbins and he’s always saying what will your “Rocking Chair Moment” be when you’re older. Will you look back at your life with I wish I had or will you look back and smile.
This is a great mile marker to make some needed changes for all. Loved the honesty grades!
Austin G. Netzley says
Man, I absolutely love that. That is spot on, @MichaelKawula:disqus.
I agree – reflection is absolutely key. It was an eye opener for me, and I hope for others as well… but I truly love the Rocking Chair Moment analogy.
Amber Hurdle says
Wow. I really enjoyed reading this and grading myself along with your own grades. I’ve tended to be one who just lived life full-throttle in my own little world and invited others to participate. Haha! But there were some things on this list that I will be reflective about moving forward. There were a few “ouch” moments for sure. You are so much bigger than you even realize, Austin! It’s an honor to watch your journey. 🙂
Austin G. Netzley says
Thanks, @amberhurdle:disqus! I really, really appreciate it.
I don’t think we stop and grade ourselves enough. Forget how others grade us, it is our own opinions and happiness that we often neglect for the sake of others.
I know exactly how you do it, and I’m the same way: full-throttle. But that quick rest break is priceless. Thanks for reading!!
Christine Draper says
A great list Austin. Failing to make physical fitness a priority is the one I’m currently trying to work on, Also not realising how beautiful you are is one that my daughter and I both fail on. Thanks for the insightful list.
Austin G. Netzley says
That is great, @crdraper:disqus. I think it is best to attack one at a time! That is what I’m trying to do myself.
I appreciate the comment and for you reading it! 🙂
Myles Money says
Brilliant. What a great list. Thank you. Everyone gets a ton of advice as they’re growing up and a lot of it sounds or feels like criticism. I think it’s important to take time to stand back and judge yourself by your own standards from time to time: if you hold yourself accountable in the same way you hold other people accountable and still look at yourself in the mirror each morning, you’re probably not doing a bad job.
This list sounds like its from someone starting life not ending it. No one actually dying after 80 years on earth would state half of them. Sounds like the list of someone dying at 25.