post written by: Angel Chernoff

10 Choices You Will Regret in 10 Years

10 Decisions You Will Regret in 10 Years

“If only…”  These two words paired together create one of the saddest phrases in the English language.

Here are ten choices that ultimately lead to this phrase of regret, and how to elude them:

  1. Wearing a mask to impress others. – If the face you always show the world is a mask, someday there will be nothing beneath it.  Because when you spend too much time concentrating on everyone else’s perception of you, or who everyone else wants you to be, you eventually forget who you really are.  So don’t fear the judgments of others; you know in your heart who you are and what’s true to you.  You don’t have to be perfect to impress and inspire people.  Let them be impressed and inspired by how you deal with your imperfections.
  2. Letting someone else create your dreams for you. – The greatest challenge in life is discovering who you are; the second greatest is being happy with what you find.  A big part of this is your decision to stay true to your own goals and dreams.  Do you have people who disagree with you?  Good.  It means you’re standing your ground and walking your own path.  Sometimes you’ll do things considered crazy by others, but when you catch yourself excitedly losing track of time, that’s when you’ll know you’re doing the right thing.  Read The 4-Hour Workweek.
  3. Keeping negative company. – Don’t let someone who has a bad attitude give it to you.  Don’t let them get to you.  They can’t pull the trigger if you don’t hand them the gun.  When you remember that keeping the company of negative people is a choice, instead of an obligation, you free yourself to keep the company of compassion instead of anger, generosity instead of greed, and patience instead of anxiety.
  4. Being selfish and egotistical. – A life filled with loving deeds and good character is the best tombstone.  Those who you inspired and shared your love with will remember how you made them feel long after your time has expired.  So carve your name on hearts, not stone.  What you have done for yourself alone dies with you; what you have done for others and the world remains.
  5. Avoiding change and growth. – If you want to know your past look into your present conditions.  If you want to know your future look into your present actions.  You must let go of the old to make way for the new; the old way is gone, never to come back.  If you acknowledge this right now and take steps to address it, you will position yourself for lasting success.  Read The Power of Habit.
  6. Giving up when the going gets tough. – There are no failures, just results.  Even if things don’t unfold the way you had expected, don’t be disheartened or give up.  Learn what you can and move on.  The one who continues to advance one step at a time will win in the end.  Because the battle is always won far away and long before the final victory.  It’s a process that occurs with small steps, decisions, and actions that gradually build upon each other and eventually lead to that glorious moment of triumph.
  7. Trying to micromanage every little thing. – Life should be touched, not strangled.  Sometimes you’ve got to relax and let life happen without incessant worry and micromanagement.  Learn to let go a little before you squeeze too tight.  Take a deep breath.  When the dust settles and you can once again see the forest for the trees, take the next step forward.  You don’t have to know exactly where you’re going to be headed somewhere great.  Everything in life is in perfect order whether you understand it yet or not.  It just takes some time to connect all the dots.
  8. Settling for less than you deserve. – Be strong enough to let go and wise enough to wait for what you deserve.  Sometimes you have to get knocked down lower than you have ever been to stand up taller than you ever were before.  Sometimes your eyes need to be washed by your tears so you can see the possibilities in front of you with a clearer vision again.  Don’t settle.
  9. Endlessly waiting until tomorrow. – The trouble is, you always think you have more time than you do.  But one day you will wake up and there won’t be any more time to work on the things you’ve always wanted to do.  And at that point you either will have achieved the goals you set for yourself, or you will have a list of excuses for why you haven’t.  Read The Last Lecture.
  10. Being lazy and wishy-washy. – The world doesn’t owe you anything, you owe the world something.  So stop daydreaming and start DOING.  Develop a backbone, not a wishbone.  Take full responsibility for your life – take control.  You are important and you are needed.  It’s too late to sit around and wait for somebody to do something someday.  Someday is now; the somebody the world needs is YOU.

Photo by: J.T. Noriega

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  • Solid advice from you two as usual. This post reminds me of this quote from Kurt Vonnegut that my father had hanging on his office bulletin board for many years during my childhood:

    “Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are, “It might have been.”

  • Spot on! I just turned 70 last week and I can tell you from experience, the cruelest words in the world are “if only.” You’ve got to live and take the chances that feel right.

  • Fantastic!!! Seriously fantastic!

    Thank you.

  • Heck yes! I made some huge changes involving these ideas last year such as leaving a relationship, distancing myself from negative people and reflecting on what I really want, my goals and things. I feel so much better for it and my life has taken on a much better direction and the people and opportunities that have come into it are amazing.

    I knew years ago I needed to make these changes, but didn’t. I don’t want to feel like that again, where I knew, but didn’t take action.

  • This post is spot on. I believe the greatest failure in life is not giving things a go because you are too scared of the unknown. As Helen Keller said “Life is a daring adventure or nothing”.

  • “You don’t have to know exactly where you’re going to be headed somewhere great.”

    This cuts right to the heart of the matter, but so many of us never take a moment to conisder the point.

    We think we need to have a solid plan, with each little step mapped out miles ahead.

    But what happens when you take your first misstep?

    It’s fine to have a plan, but sometimes we have to let go a little bit and just go with the flow. Things won’t always turn out as expected . . .

    Sometimes they’ll turn out even better.


  • Every single one of these is perfect! Just what I needed to read today.
    Thank you!

  • Always inspiring and motivational! This one was wonderful.

  • ‘Develop a backbone, not a wishbone’ - love that quote! This list is a perfect 10! I thank you for your continued flow of motivation to be the best I can!

    I find it somewhat sad that so many people prefer to walk around with a mask than show their inner beauty, as I know they have it, they just need to show it.

  • You guys are great… You two such young souls, sure have helped this old soul. Thanks a lot for all that you do, it’s obvious you guys put your heart into your work, and it is much needed and appreciated.

  • These are excellent points. Thank you for sharing!

    I encourage others to take-off their masks and remind everyone of the Dr. Seuss quote, “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” It’s a good one.

  • #6 and #7 are exactly what I needed this morning, thanks!

  • Perfect timing! Perfect timing! Perfect timing! Thank you…

  • @All:

    Thank you so much. I just wanted to jump on here this morning and tell you again how much we sincerely appreciate reading your comments. Please keep them coming and I’ll jump back online later today and reply to you each of you individually.

    Happy Friday! ;-)

  • I love #8… I needed someone to tell me that a long time ago..:)
    Thank you, thank you!!!

  • I love you guys so much! I wanted to thank you for the “99 stories to make you think, smile and cry” that you sent me for free after ordering your first e-book. I read a little of each book, along with your posts everyday. You have literally changed my life by opening my mind to new perceptions and keeping me on track with your posts. You are truly angels on earth for so many. Thanks again and keep up the great work.

  • An inspiring post! Thank you for sharing :)

  • I’m telling you, your posts always come at exactly the right time!

    Number 7 resonated with me as I just left a horrible apartment, environment, you name it after five years. We are in our new home and to be quite honest, this feels like a stop gap. I was in tears and have been pretty upset feeling like a made a huge mistake. I then said to myself, ‘Maybe I’m here as a breather until the right place turns up, or maybe this is the right place.’ only time will tell. I’m making the best of it and being grateful :). Thank you for soothing my soul.

  • You always, always, amaze me with your inspiring insights. Thank you and have a great week-end.

    Mumbai, India :)
    Lots of love to your team.

  • #8 & #9
    Don’t settle and Don’t keep waiting!
    I’ve been a slow learner in the past.
    The hardest part is being patient while
    awaiting the future to unfold.

  • #10 oh my goodness … though I don’t consider myself lazy, the wish-washy part can apply at times. AND the message is just lovely. I needed to read and absorb this. thank you so much.

  • Excellent! Reminded me of 2 quotes
    Hannibal: “We will either find a way or make a way”
    Chinese Proverb: ” The longest journey begins with a single step”

  • I have valed to change so much this year, these posts give me strength and hope. Even though others won’t always agree with the choices I make, but I don’t care, i am moving forward in 2013. Life is to short to focus on who will accept me or who will not. I am hopelessly and fearlessly made. I will be my own man this year. THANKS for the courage to move forward. I hope much success for ya’ll in this year. Love and Respect. Big Will.

  • Nice one Angel. If we keep out focus out in the longer-term we can avoid doing a lot of these things. Imagine where things will bring you. The do the things that keep life moving forward the way you want it.

  • So good.
    Every darn word of this.

  • A good list, “Taking things for granted” should be on there too.

  • Just when I think I couldn’t possibly resonate even more with another one of your great posts, it happens again! Such great advice for which I will refer to often. Sending much light your way, Liz :)

  • @All: Sorry everyone - busy day yesterday. Marc and I didn’t get a chance to jump back on here and reply to each of you.

    But I just wanted to say “thank you” again for leaving such insightful comments. We sincerely appreciate every one of you.

    @Dianna: You are welcome, I’m glad you are enjoying our ebook. Thank you for supporting our work.

    @Kylie: Awesome! It takes a lot to build-up the courage to make a big life change. Sounds like you’re on the right track.

    @Hope & Sugar: Very true. Letting fear and anxiety stop you from taking action is the biggest mistake you can make.

    @Trevor: Spot on!

    @Nick: Agreed. We are all beautiful.

    @john hackleman, Anya, Therandombitsandpieces, D, and Joanne Guidoccio: You’re welcome. Thanks for the kind words and continued support.

    @Amandah: Awesome quote. Thanks for sharing.

    @Connie: It doesn’t sound like you made a mistake. It sounds like you are dealing with the shock of change. Stay strong, let go of the old and make way for the new. Best of luck to you.

    @Alexis: Patience and persistence will get you there. :)

    @David Rapp: Thank you for sharing those quotes.

    @Sweetpea and Liz: Thanks.

    @Ravi: I agree. Great addition.

  • Melinda Balmaceda
    January 20th, 2013 at 7:49 am

    I don’t know how you guys do this, but your words always make me find myself in every posts I read. It’s a big help.. Thanks a lot.:)

  • So spot on. Thank you and thank you again.

  • Wow, just what I needed to hear. #7 really hit home for me. I have a hard time letting go and not planning every little detail…

    Going with the flow is so hard! I am working on it :)

  • I totally agree. If you surround yourself with negative people, you’ll become negative yourself. I always try to look on the bright side of everything and share only the good, positive thoughts.

  • I found your website all the way from South Africa, after a particularly bad break-up. Your wise and compassionate words have changed my life and have made me hopeful and inspired again. Thank you.

  • Very inspiring quotes and advice! Thank you very Much Marc & Angel.


  • ” You don’t have to know exactly where you’re going to be headed somewhere great. Everything in life is in perfect order whether you understand it yet or not. It just takes some time to connect all the dots.”

    I really needed to hear that. Thank you so much for this post!

  • Dear Angel,
    Thank you for this great post! Actually it reminds me of Mark Twain’s powerful quote: “20 years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do, rather 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.” Your blog is a blessing!!

  • Keep writing. Please. :)

  • Athena from Maui, Hawaii
    February 13th, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    Amazing words of encouragement. Thank you!

  • Numbers 3, 5, and 6 for me. But anyways, I feel like I’m learning something new everyday.

  • Thank you for this great blog post, which I was delighted to highlight in “Inauthenticity at work and the fast track to a midlife crisis,” posted to my Minding the Workplace blog, linked above.

    David Yamada

  • Several years ago I battled cancer and what I realized is that it is a great time to hit a reset button, if needed. The one that most needed to be reset for my husband and I was the waiting until tomorrow. Plan for the future but live for today. A question that I have asked my mother (locked into a cycle of not wanting to do something because she might not feel well) is “do you want to spend the rest of your life living or the rest of your life dying” It really is a choice.

  • After coming out the other side of treatment for cancer, I am not who I was before the diagnosis. My landscape has changed. I am so much stronger in so many ways, but I am also very vulnerable and scared. I am adjusting slowly to the new me, but I feel that people are judging me, because I am not the same person I used to be. I worry that they expect me to be back to my old self now that treatment is over, but recovery is a long slow process and my old self will not be returning. Your 10 choices hit home with me and I will continue slowly down my new path, letting go of my old life and embracing the new life ahead of me. :-)

  • Thank you for writing this! This is so validating. We may not always succeed in all of these, but trying it where it’s at. Thank you!

  • I LOVE this article. I feel like I’ve been through all of the above at one point in my life. Number 7 really resonates and I’m trying to shake that one off.

  • County Commissioner
    August 7th, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    I’d like to add to the list…don’t cheat on your spouse ever. You will get caught and everyone will know that you’re morally bankrupt and a general sleaze.

  • THANK YOU. I just shared this on FB from a friend who shared it. So I double shared! I specifically liked, ALL of it! =)

  • Beautifully written.

  • You know what really makes me sad? Thinking about reading this list on my death bed and not being able to do anything about it. If you are alive, you should take this list very seriously - right now.

  • Everyone should know
    September 18th, 2013 at 5:59 am

    Great advice; you hit the nail on the head. This is perfect guidance for anyone trying to do anything meaningful with their lives.

  • “Letting someone else create your dreams for you” Never again - discovering myself has shown me that the best is yet to come!

  • That was a very powerful post. I enjoyed reading it and appreciate the time you took to write it. I wish we all lived like this.

  • Thanks! I needed number 8!!

  • Keeping negative company is such a huge one. Too often we surround ourselves with people who drag us down.

  • I tend to wait until tomorrow…always working today and waiting until tomorrow to enjoy life. Realizing one day that you are 40 and haven’t lived for yourself yet doesn’t feel good.

  • Number 1, 2… with number 4… Sometimes people say that I am being selfish when actually I’m very tired of living another person’s dreams.

  • Angel, I’d like to share the most important part of your post in this comment. What a dilemma! There is no most important part; it’s all equally important!

    Thank you for your positive thoughts. You have built a community based on optimistic living. You show how to build a better life by sharing how you live yours. I appreciate it.

  • Absolute truth, and definitely what I needed.

  • I was into few of the things you’ve written about here. Thanks for enlightening me… I’ll take care not to repeat these mistakes again.

    Thanks for sharing.

  • Number One - Wearing a Mask to Impress Others, really hits home. How many of us are people pleasers? I certainly tried to be. Instead of being myself and showing the world who I really am I hoarded my true thoughts and feelings, just as I hoarded my possessions.

    No wonder I became gravely ill with fibromyalgia. No one knew who I really was and, at times, neither did I. Life is too short to hide. It’s time to live and enjoy who you are. True friends will appreciate you and love you for who you really are rather than the false face you have masked yourself in. If they prefer that, no doubt they are hiding who they are too.

  • Wonderful! This post actually got me out of bed. I planned to go out today to take some photos, but woke up feeling so tired and thought ‘what’s the point of doing anything today?’ Well, life is short, isn’t it, so I might as well live it :) Thanks!

  • Thank you for this. #1 hit me hard enough to inspire a blog post of my own:
    I often feel like I’m wearing a mask, not so much to impress others, but just to keep them comfortable.

  • Marc and Angel. You guys are amazing.

  • This is an extraordinary article. Just what I needed at the perfect time!

    Happy to subscribe. Thanks Marc and Angel.

  • I so needed this, thank you so much

  • Unfortunately I learned many of these after my 20s. Now I get to spend my 30s making better decisions. Maybe I’ll have everything figured out by 40. Ha! I’ll be sharing this link. -Thomas

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