post written by: Marc Chernoff

10 Ways to Live Life with No Regrets


10 Ways to Live Life With No Regrets

This article was inspired by a recent email we received:

Dear Marc and Angel,

I am a 38-year old college drop-out whose childhood dream was to become a psychologist like my grandfather.  Right now, I am a librarian at a city library who moonlights on the side as a life coach.  I enjoy my day job, but my life coaching gig is the work that really moves me – it gives me a chance to indirectly dabble in psychological counseling.  This side gig has started to gain traction, and several of my recent clients have told me that I would have made a great medical psychologist.

But if I go back to college and get my degree, then go to graduate school, then complete my internship and dissertation, and finally begin my own legitimate psychologist/counseling practice, it will take me almost eight years from today. And, in eight years I will be 46 years old!

I’m trying to decide what I want to do.  Do you have any thoughts or advice for me?

Sincerely,
An Inspired Reader

Our reply:

Dear Inspired Reader,

Sometimes asking the right question is the answer.  Therefore, we have one for you:

In eight years from today, how old will you be if you don’t do it?

Sincerely,

Marc and Angel

As Kurt Vonnegut once said, “Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are:  “It might have been.”

Forget the past.  Forget your age.  Today is the first day of the rest of your life.  At the end of it, let there be no excuses, no explanations, and no regrets.

Here are ten ideas to get you there…

  1. Wear your truth. – As long as you keep being YOU, as long as you keep staying true to yourself and the passions that move you, it doesn’t matter how many jobs you get or don’t get, how many mistakes you make, or how many times you have to pull a u-turn.  None of it matters.  What matters is that you’re living in your truth.  The people who need you will eventually find you – the real you.  And you will find the people you need.  You will find the answers you need.  But more importantly, you will find the questions you would have never thought to ask.  Read The Art of Non-Conformity.
  2. Take time before it’s too late. – Before you know it you’ll be asking, “How did it get so late so soon?”  Take time to figure yourself out.  Take time to realize what it is you want.  Take time to take risks.  Take time to love, laugh, cry, and forgive.  Life is shorter than it often seems.  Take time before it’s too late.  Look straight ahead and say “YES” to the opportunities coming your way.  Happiness and success never come to look for you while you wait around.  You’ve got to get out there, take chances, and work at it to make your dreams come true.
  3. Be the leader of your own journey. – There are far too many capable people who don’t pursue their dreams and goals because they let their fears and others talk them out of it.  They give up before they even try, and simply let life’s river flow them downstream.  Choose to be stronger than that.  Choose to swim upstream when you have to.  Choose to do the things in life that move you.  Let others lead small lives.  Let others argue over small things.  Let others cry over small wounds.  Let others leave their future in someone else’s hands.  But not you.  Read Quitter.
  4. Take calculated risks. – There is no excuse for being an amateur forever.  Life is short.  The day is rapidly approaching when the risk to remain perched in your nest is far more detrimental than the risk it takes to fly.  Fly!  Spread your wings.  Start now.  What a disgrace it would be for you to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of your full potential.
  5. Change your thoughts. – Thoughts are power.  They create and destroy.  What is possible is everything.  What you do is up to you.  Look around and you will see that almost your entire life has been born out of your thoughts.  Know this, and plant your seeds accordingly.  You can change your mind at any moment.  So go ahead.  Change it right now.
  6. Think you CAN. – If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.  And change breeds growth.  So when a goal seems big and a plan looks tough, just start, push through it for awhile, and soon the next thing you need to do will look possible.  Step by step you can get through anything – this is the truth and you have to believe it.  In the end, you’re going to succeed because you’re crazy enough to think you can.
  7. Concentrate on being your best self. – Negativity becomes a life altering habit, just the same as positivity; the difference is the amount of belief you hold in yourself, and how you use this belief to fuel your growth.  Never think that what you have to offer is insignificant.  When the time is right, there will be forces out there in need of exactly what you have to offer.  So hang in there, stay positive, and remember that the connections you’re looking for in life typically become visible when you’re working hard at being your best self, and not looking at all.
  8. Pay attention to life while you’re living it. – Realize that life is simply a collection of little chances for happiness, each lived one second at a time.  That some time each day should be spent noticing the beauty in the space between the big events.  That moments of dreaming and sunsets and refreshing breezes cannot be bettered.  But most of all, realize that life is about being here and now, watching and listening without a clock and without anticipation of results at every moment, and sometimes, on good days, for letting these little moments fill your heart with passion and love.  Read The Power of Now.
  9. Share your love openly and honestly with those you love. – No matter what, you’re going to lose people in your life.  Realize that no matter how much time you spend with someone, or how much you appreciate them, sometimes it will never seem like you had enough time together.  Don’t learn this lesson the hard way.  Express your love.  Tell people what you need to tell them.  Don’t shy away from important conversations because you feel awkward or uncomfortable.  You never know when you might lose your opportunity.
  10. Say “goodbye” so you can say “hello.” – In life, goodbyes are a gift.  When certain people walk away from you, and certain opportunities close their doors on you, there is no need to hold onto them or pray to keep them present in your life.  If they close you out, take it as a direct indication that these people, circumstances and opportunities are not part of the plan for the next step of your life.  It’s a hint that your personal growth requires someone different and something more, and life is simply making room.  So embrace your goodbyes, because every “goodbye” you receive sets you up for an even better “hello.”

Photo by: J.T. Noriega

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51 Comments

  • You two seriously need a TV show - your reply to that email floored me. Such profound advice. Another solid article all the way around. Time to get out there and proactively avoid those regrets…

  • Thanks for an inspirational post! Great insights on living with purpose. I should read this daily.

  • So true! And I’m proud to say that I’m on my way to a life without regrets. In a year from now, I’m going to be smiling about today, because I’m following my heart, and have been for the past year. And as scared as I am sometimes, I realize it’s worth it - I’m worth it.

    Thanks for inspiring me every day!

  • Thank you so much for the inspiring advice, especially number 10:) It is speaking directly to my current situation. Right now i am preening my wings so I can soar to dizzying heights. Looking forward to the journey.

  • As my friend would always say, only dead fish follow the flow of a current. The moment you let external decisions sway you is the moment you will plant the seed of regret.

    Thank you so much for this very insightful and enlightening advice. The Inspired Reader is very lucky to have been answered. Not all people always have this chance.

    And to the “Inspired Reader”, keep your dreams alive and make it real. Good luck on your endeavors and hope you decide to follow the life where you don’t have to regret at the end.

  • I was introduced to your website in September and ever since I have read all your posts. I do not comment but I am always reading. You guys somehow always post the right things at the right time. I am now ready to move on to a new chapter in my life. I am living without regrets :) Thank you for being so positive and uplifting.

  • Nice post. I really liked the reply you gave our inspired reader. Sometimes asking the right question is truly the answer.

  • Thank you so much…..Say “goodbye” so you can say “hello.”

    Thanks for inspiring me… and make me move on…

  • Thank you so much for all of your practical tips! You don’t know how much they help. I read and re-read daily. And overcoming regrets is something I’m working on now, so this post was perfect for me.

  • I woke this morning and soon my scared negative thoughts had a hold of me… and I wondered if your site would help, so logged on to my home page (your site) and read this… and my negative thoughts from my scared child within soon calmed down. I now have my ‘lets get on with this life’ spirit back in action. Thank you for such insights.

  • Hi to everyone.
    I got up this morning with the intention of sitting down and writing myself a list of things I need to do to get to where I want to be. I have been actively moving forward for a while now, even if only slowly. I sat down with my coffee and as I often do I visit your website to start my day. So a big thank you to “an inspired reader” and Marc and Angel for a post this morning that’s smacked me right between the eyes, put a smile on my face and started a few tears rolling too. I’m 56 soon and find I have a lot of tangled rubbish from my past holding me tight and keeping my fears alive.

    So anyone wanting a new start you are welcome to join me TODAY as I take my first step on a path that will take me somewhere I want to go but I don’t know exactly where that will be. Your journey, your dreams, your new beginning. Another big thank you to an inspired reader, Marc and Angel, and all who contribute to this site.

    Bless you
    Nige

  • “What matters is that you’re living in your truth.”

    Great advice, great article. Worth reading more than once.

    I advise people to please share quality, life-changing articles like this one with others. Share Facebook links, email a link, whatever…spread the word.

    Thanks,
    Dan @ ZenPresence

  • “the connections you’re looking for in life typically become visible when you’re working hard at being your best self, and not looking at all.”

    ” If they close you out, take it as a direct indication that these people, circumstances and opportunities are not part of the plan for the next step of your life.”

    Thank you…

  • #10 was meant for me! Thank you so much . I have said the goodbye and I know there will be a thousand Hello’s to follow . Much love to you both . Rehana

  • Thank you so much for the inspiring words…. you always have something really special to say. My best friend told me about your blog a few weeks ago and let me tell thanks to you, and my friends I’m able to stay a bit stronger. #10 it is speaking directly to me today… I need to learn how to say “goodbye” so I can say “hello”.

  • That is one FABULOUS reply! Totally love it. Bookmarking it.

    I have close to no regrets in life. And I’m glad about it. But there’s a lot that I want to achieve and I’m all set to follow my heart and let it take me to my goal! :)

    Wonderful article as usual.

  • Dear Marc & Angel,

    This answer, “Sometimes asking the right question is the answer. Therefore, we have one for you:

    In eight years from today, how old will you be if you don’t do it?” really moved me! So true!

    Thank you so much. You guys are an inspiration. I love your articles, I read them always esp. when I’m feeling depressed/empty. Bless you! <3

  • Thank you. Your reply to “An Inspired Reader” is just what I needed to hear. I’m ready to carry on.

  • I really appreciate your work. Its the mental centering that is required each day.

  • Today, I really needed to read this article. Number 1 is especially inspiring and your response to the letter hit home! So, thank you again for bringing clarity and meaning to our lives! Peace.

  • Amazing question that actually delivered the ‘right question.’ Absolutely fantastic!! And many of the points that follow are wonderful well.

  • I love the last point. I have found it to be so true. Doors may close and people may leave but it is only then your next journey begins.

  • Marc & Angel, your reply was simply stunning, thank you. To our inspired reader, go on-you can do it. The longer you put it off the harder it is to start.

  • These are great! Your reply to the email was dead on and inspirational. It is so easy to get caught up in how long it will take to accomplish something but what we so often forget is that the time is going to pass whether we do something or not. The time passing is not optional.

    The question then is this…”What do you want your life to look like in 5 years or however long you think it is going to take to become what you want?”

    It’s not about the 5 years seeming like a long time… It is about where you will be in 5 years if you don’t do it?

    Will you be in the same place you are today or closer to where you really want to be?

  • Well, I was feeling particularly down and dark this morning until I read this article! I REALLY needed to read some inspiring and uplifting words and here; on your site, I always, without fail, find those strengthening and encouraging expressions. So, thank you again and again and again.

  • The intro to this post was striking-especially since I am 46 and taking college courses to finish what I began long ago. So far, I have received A’s in all 6 courses I’ve taken. I thought I was stupid for many years because my poor choices earlier in life affected my grades. Sometimes I still fall into the “it will take me until I’m 65 to get a Masters degree!”-but you are exactly right-65 with a Masters degree, or 65 without-which sounds more appealing? And the fears are still with me-that is why I appreciate your website so much:)

  • Yes! We can spread our wings and fly. In addition to changing our minds and affirm good, we also have the power to course correct when the currents or other creatures or Angels gently point to another path. And, yes, as the song says, “Love will lead the way.” All we need to do is listen and learn =)

  • Awesome post, it reminds me of a quote that I love: “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream” - C.S Lewis

  • This is so key:
    “Choose to do the things in life that move you. Let others lead small lives. Let others argue over small things. Let others cry over small wounds. Let others leave their future in someone else’s hands.”

    Asking questions is great, and taking action is greater. I’m in my mid 30s and it seems as if a lot of people around me are in a similar situation (”is it too late?” mentality). It’s too late if you want it to be.

    The amazing thing is that once you follow your passion, your questions will be answered and you’ll discover things that are greater than your understanding right now. But those who don’t take that action (lead a small life), or who take action on things that OTHER people seem to be successful at (leave their future in someone else’s hands) will always be left wondering where they went wrong.

    Great post Marc, I know it will make a difference to a lot of people.

  • Your blog always encourages me, thanks again! I love what you told the inspired reader:
    Sometimes asking the right question is the answer. Therefore, we have one for you:

    In eight years from today, how old will you be if you don’t do it?

    That is exactly the question I asked myself when I enrolled in college at the age of 49. I earned my degree at 53 and have been teaching ever since. Ever since I met my fourth graders, and I get a new batch every year, I haven’t “worked” a day in about ten years! I love my job and I am forever grateful that I pursued my dreams. It is encouragers like you that often give that little extra push.

  • So, so good! Leaves me with such a feeling of joy. XO

  • It’s funny that this topic was posted yesterday. I read it just after returning from my meeting with an academic advisor at the University that Iattended 20 ago. I am 43 and will be going back to school full-time in Sept to finish a degree I started 25 yrs ago. So I will also be around 46 when I graduate and if I decide to go for my Masters afterwards I will be 48 when I graduate. I wasn’t good in school in the past because my priorities were messed up, but after going back to college for my business diploma and getting straight A’s, I have decided that I am finally ready to go back to University and finish that degree once and for all. Even if I graduate at 46-48 I still have almost 2 decades (or more is I love my career so much that I don’t want to retire) left to pursue my dream job.

  • I am always quite worried about where i would stand about 2 yrs from now… That fear has kept on enlarging day by day… posts like this help me, but I wonder if anyone has more advice for motivating myself to push forward.

  • Thank you for your wonderfully encouraging messages. Today’s really struck a chord with me -

    I was a secretary for 20 years - I enjoyed it well enough - I worked in UK, NZ, Solomon Islands, Brisbane and Sydney, but had always wanted to teach children. I believed my family who told me that ‘if my brains were dynamite, I wouldn’t have enough to blow my hat off!’ - until I met my husband who believed in my dream.

    To cut a long story short, I started teaching studies at age 40. Graduated 16th out of a class of 146 with a DipTeach, went on to get a double degree in Primary Education and Special Education, a Masters of Special Education, a Masters of Guidance Counseling and a Graduate Diploma in Boys Education. Also received a Letter of Offer from UQ to do my D.Ed (Doctor of Education in Australia) - didn’t start that one as I’ve been too busy teaching!! Have been teaching now for nearly 20 years. Ran a Special Education Unit for nine of those, and have been a gloriously happy primary school teacher for over a decade. Not bad for a girl with ‘no brains’ and no belief in herself who didn’t start studying until she was 40!

    Bless you for the cheer you bring to so many lives with your encouraging, inspiring messages.

  • Great advice. I’m a perfect example of what she’s talking about. I went back to school at 41 to get my BA, completed it and went right on to get my Masters. I graduated at 46 (doing up to 24 hours each quarter) There’s no time like the present. Do it! Don’t let anyone or anything stop you from reaching your dream.

  • I love the answer, “how will old you be 8 years from today if you don’t do it?” This is something that I tell myself all the time when I want to try something new or go in a direction that may be time consuming. In the end, the growth is always worth it. I loved this post, both the question and the answer. So often the answers to the questions that we have are are within us, we just have to trust ourselves enough to realize it.

  • I love this!! THANK YOU! :D

  • I appreciate your insights. I resonated with your advice. Along with your comment that thoughts are powerful, I would say that even though I understand your intent when you said that “Take time before it’s too late” the idea the “life is short” has a motivation of fear of death. If we focus on the present moment and living for eternity, I believe that our focus will be shifted to the positive and uplifting giving us hope and a desire to live every moment to its fullest.

    Blessings!

  • Please send this to the “inspired reader.”
    Dear Inspired Reader,
    Guess what…last year I was 38, and decided to go back to school to earn my PhD in psychology. It was always something that I wanted to do, and felt like it was my purpose in life. So after going through a tough divorce, I decided that I was going to start living my life with no regrets. Like you, I am also a part time life coach trying to juggle a career, while being a full time Mom. But there is always a way…and even if it takes you more than 8 years, it will be worth every ounce of time and effort to fulfill your life’s purpose. I will be 46 when I am done with my schooling, but I would much rather be 46 with my PhD, living my purpose, than reaching 46, working for someone else, helping them fulfill their purpose. The choice is yours….
    Sincerely,
    M

  • I celebrated my 51st birthday on September 18th of this year. On September 19th I was declared to be cancer free. On September 27th I decided to go back to school to obtain the remaining six core courses I require to enter a 2-year RN program. I will be 54 when I graduate from nursing school. I don’t know how much life I may have left, but I am going to live whatever time I have and do what makes me happy. All because I started reading Marc and Angel and was inspired to LIVE my ONE life for myself.

    I gained 60 pounds due to medications while I was battling cancer. I stayed home because of embarrassment about the weight gain and because I could not bear to wear anything that showed off my new curves. I have been struggling with an off-again, on-again relationship for the past 2 years and 10 months. If it were not for the words I read on your blogs… I would be stuck in the same rut. I have been liberated to live my life, to resume taking care of my body and know/believe I will meet someone who loves my heart and what I have to offer. Thank you Marc and Angel. :)

  • Truth is… self-awareness… is the beginning of changing to make your life better. I was kidding myself for too long because it’s demoralizing to see how far you are from what you want to be. But self-realization of mortality and our mistakes is necessary to then accept them.
    Cheers to truth.

  • Once again, you just made my day better than I could have Imagined.

  • Wonderful post.

    Something for your “Inspired Reader” to think about; I am 62 now, and looking back, in some ways, the 24 years between her/his age and mine have gone in the blink of an eye.

    In an other ways, I have accumulated a third of a lifetime of experiences. At age 54, politics on another continent took away my farm, home, business and assets. I moved to a different country and started again.

    At age 60, a heart attack stopped my business overnight. I learned how to use the internet, start a blog, start a new life.

    Never let age or worrying about age stop you… life is too short.

  • Every morning I wake up and the first thing i do is read your articles. They boost up my energy.

    I know what I lack motivation to pursue my dream. Its like me, my thoughts are barrier in achieving my goals. I have the will and courage to achieve it, but then at some point I doubt my own potential by comparing myself with those who are ahead of me… and so I give up. But now on I wont give up, I know I can do it and am gonna stick to it and this commitment is the result of your articles. Thank you for this motivation. Your articles are seriously like a daily dose of medicine to my negative and demotivating thoughts. And the best thing is I am healing :)

  • I discovered your website about a year and half ago, and from then on I log on regularly to read your bogs. You have definitely helped me through tough times :) “10 ways to live a life of no regret” has opened my mind to daily things I do… Thank you once again!!!

  • My reactions to your blog posts are always a simple: WOW!
    It seems you get it right every time.

  • A friend posted this to me on Facebook. You are so right. I have just moved from Italy to France to refresh and invigorate my life and in the last few days have discovered my true calling. So much to do, so exciting, and it’s my 66th birthday. It’s never too late.

  • How do I say goodbye to someone I love with all my heart? I can’t help but to hold on. :( I’ve been reading so many things to try and help with it, but my heart is so strong and it’s what’s dictating my life. .. help.

  • I want to leave a message for “An Inspired Reader.” I was 33 when I started college. I had felt a call to ministry when I was about 31 and knew I needed an education. Some of my family were very negative about it, but fortunately I did not listen to them. I was 36 when I graduated with my BS in Sociology/Psychology, and 39 when I received my Master of Divinity. Had I gone on to get my DMin, I would have been nearly 44 when I finished. I have never regretted waiting until I was older—I was a better student because of my age, and took things more seriously. I have had many twists and turns, and U-turns since then, but never fought them and today I am a semi-retired Hospice Chaplain living in a beautiful valley in Colorado, married to a wonderful man I met in seminary, and happy.

    Go for it—you’ll still be 46, but with a Doctorate in Psychology and able to fulfill your dream. 46 is not too old.

  • One thing i really love about your blog always is that you stay neutral and speak d truth. No bible quotations!!. Why not make a print book that can be bought at amazon.com and get shipped.

  • If I could follow every piece of your advice, I’d be a spiritual millionaire. Love you both!

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