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We all strive to be successful in this world. Whether it be in business, our personal life, or some other capacity, we would all love to be the best that we can be.

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Even if you aren’t personally seeking the “American Dream,” we undoubtedly live in a world obsessed with attaining it.

But what happens when we do attain success? Does everything in our life suddenly fall together perfectly, leaving us no longer susceptible to challenge or hardship?

Chances are that you, like me, are not “successful” by societal standards, yet you know the answer to the previous question. There are countless examples of individuals who have attained all of the luxuries, wealth, and attention that one could hope for, yet still find themselves fundamentally unhappy.

With this being the case, I was happy to come across the work of Dr. Gerald D. Bell through the book The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth: Live Them and Reach Your Potentialwritten by John C. Maxwell. Within the book, John references a particular study conducted by Dr. Bell in which he asked 4,000 now-retired successful executives: If you could live your life over again, what would you do differently?

His findings uncovered eight top regrets that John shared in his book, and that I would like to share with you now alongside my takeaway from each of them. Here are the eight top regrets of the successful, in both video and written form:

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1. I Would Have Taken Charge of My Life and Set my Goals Earlier

I’ve stated this in several previous articles and am going to state it once again, since it is certainly worth noting: In this life you are never going to be younger than you are right now. So if not now, when?

Far too many of us are habitual procrastinators, rarely seizing the never-ending opportunity that is this moment to take control of our lives and begin working toward our goals. Don’t let another minute pass you by. Lay out your goals and establish concrete action steps that you can put into practice today!

Struggle with goal setting? My favourite book for helping with this is Awaken the Giant Within: How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny!

2. I Would Have Taken Better Care of My Health 

In my opinion, one of the saddest things about the way so many of us approach healthcare is that we are reactive rather than proactive. We wait for symptoms and diagnoses before we make smarter choices and take good care of ourselves.

Choose to be proactive with your dietary choices and exercise habits to minimize your chances of ever receiving that unwanted diagnosis.

Unsure of what works best for your body? Check out this video I put together on the best free dietitian we all have access to.

3. I Would Have Managed My Money Better

Effective money management isn’t that complicated, yet many of us completely neglect it as if it were. We live paycheque to paycheque with little to no consideration for long-term goals and we put ourselves in debt with no concrete plan in place to get ourselves out of it in a reasonable amount of time. 

Whether your financial resources are abundant or bare, we could all benefit from understanding how to best work with the money we earn to maximize its positive impact on us now and in the future.

Unsure of where to start when it comes to money management? One of my favourite books on this topic is MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom.

4. I Would Have Spent More Time With My Family

There are few things more nourishing to the soul than quality time spent with loved friends and family members. Schedule regular time spent with them into your calendar just as you would a mandatory task handed down to you from your boss.

Even if it puts you behind on some other important tasks, remind yourself that this kind of self care will positively impact how you approach those tasks afterwards.

5. I Would Have Spent More Time on Personal Development 

The fact that you are reading this article is a pretty good indicator that you recognize the importance of personal development. But let this point remind you to make sure that doing things like this is not just a blip in your radar and is instead a regular part of your life.

Whether it be my work, or the work of one of the other incredibly talented individuals out there committed to the field, make self-help content part of your daily regimen.

Do you find personal development boring? My goal through my website is to make personal development more interesting for both of us!

6. I Would Have Had More Fun

There are undoubtedly several aspects of and experiences within life that need to be taken seriously, but life as a whole is not as serious as so many of us make it out to be. Stop seeking out and living in unnecessary drama and instead choose to dedicate more time to the things that make you smile and laugh.

I’m not suggesting we all quit our day jobs in pursuit of joy, but rather, that we incorporate the things that we love and are passionate about into our weekly planners.

7. I Would Have Planned My Career Better

Is there a bigger picture to what you are currently doing for work? Is your current job a stepping stone to a dream project or occupation? Or is it something that you have been and will continue to be complacent within because of the security it provides?

Whether or not you are truly content in your current position, we could all benefit from knowing the bigger picture of our careers. Even if the end result is you feeling even more grateful to be exactly where you are, having a plan is more than worth the effort.

8. I Would Have Given More Back

There are few things more rewarding, for everyone involved, than helping those in need. Whether it be through formal volunteering or simply lending a hand to a family or community member that you know could use your help, there are plenty of ways for us to give back.

Make a point of giving back in any way that you can, knowing that it can have an even bigger impact than you will directly get to see.


Which of these regrets has inspired you the most? To see a new video and article like this weekly, be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel and to like me on Facebook to be a part of my mission to make personal development more interesting for both of us.


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