The Top 5 Regrets In Life By Those About to Die

By on November 30, 2011
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regrets in life

To all my readers out there, sorry to bring down the mood on this one, but I believe this post you are about to read will be a life changing article in the way that you see your life and how you are living it at the moment. This article is written by Bronnie Ware, a palliative care worker who has worked with a countless number of patients who are sadly seeing their last days on earth. When Bronnie had questioned the patients about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:


The Top 5 Regrets In Life By Those About To Die

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me
This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people have had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.

It is very important to try and honor at least some of your dreams along the way.

From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.


2. I wish I didn’t work so hard – This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship.

Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.
By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.


3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings – Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.

As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming.

We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.


4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends – Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.

It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.


5. I wish that I had let myself be happier
This is a surprisingly common one.

Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice.

They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.
When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.

Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.


By Bronnie Ware – Purchase Bronnie Wares full – length book:


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About The Author: Joel Brown

Joel Brown is the CEO and Founder of With a long time passion for Entrepreneurship, Self development & Success, Joel started his website with the intention of educating and inspiring likeminded people all over the world to always strive for success no matter what their circumstances. Joel’s passion for what he does shows through the continual growth of's online community. Follow Joel Brown on Twitter or keep upto date with him on Facebook:


  1. Don Miguel

    May 18, 2012 at 10:28 am

    Excellent post. A few years back I realized that my work was stealing my life away so I made arrangements to retire early. Although it has been tough financially, it was ultimately the right decision. You can’t get those days back. Keep up the good writing.

  2. Caroll

    May 22, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    Fantastic post! I had to follow you on twitter. This is so true. I am glad I realized this before I got older. Love your blog!


  3. starr levine

    June 13, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    My husband Lynn died 1 year ago today, It has been a hard and emotional time for our family he was our hero. He took time each day and spent his life happy and full of energy. He played, planned and enjoyed each day and when he found out that his life would be shortened by Cancer he took it simply the way he lived with no regrets and kept that wonderful smile throughout the 5 months that he had. the end was peaceful for him this is what handed him and slipped away gently with his family around him. He didn’t put off anything in his life and enjoyed it all. I wish you could’ve known him a model parent and loving husband and a great friend to those that knew him. Enjoy life you only get one. Live laugh love & have no regrets

    • bhupinder

      June 14, 2012 at 12:05 pm

      lovely life full of positivity and jestures pl follow ,

    • Steven Narbonne

      July 28, 2012 at 10:00 pm

      Starr, I am sorry for your loss but it is only temporary. From a Buddhist point of reference, you only get one life but it never ends. You will most certainly be re-united with Lynn again as you have been countless times in the past. I don’t know if this helps but hope it does.
      Light and Peace,

  4. Steven Narbonne

    July 1, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    Great message, well worth keeping in mind constantly which I do.

  5. Eddy R

    July 6, 2012 at 8:58 am

    You know I like this post. Excellent post on the reality of the situations and why we do this and strive to be successful everyday. Some people may not like the truth cause it ruins the feel good mood but sooner or later they have to understand why they, and ourselves, do what we do to be successful. Glad those who were about to pass dropped insight as to what they wish their lives would have been, brings all the quotes and everything truly into focus.

  6. Gordon

    July 11, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    Awesome post! FEAR is a killer… you have to face fear in life. That is the only way you will overcome it.

  7. curtis c

    July 28, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    you know what the most important thing is not matter what anyone else does or anything else that ever happens, you never forget who you are and where you are from. that the best you can ever be is yourself forget about trying to be better than anyone but just be the best that you can be break your own records before anyone elses, lead by exsample before seeking insperation, you exspress yourself better then anyone else becuase no one is better at being you then you. remmember that!

  8. Aamir

    September 2, 2012 at 9:05 am

    Too good. There can be no one more realistic then a person about to die.

  9. Shining Earth

    October 10, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    By reading this, I have just amazed ! I have just encouraged. Now I think I have to live, Yeas I have to live like real living. There is no meaning of life I can’t use it properly. But the properly usage is difference from person to person. So, Live, lough and love. There is nothing without these three !!!

  10. Run the race

    December 10, 2012 at 4:52 am

    Total hog wash! The five regrets of a malignant narcissist, should be the title of this article! I,I,I, me,me,me, self,self,self!

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