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. Krishna Khandelwal

    March 25, 2012 at 9:13 am

    Hindu philosophy says that the regrets (or likings) at the time of death form the basis of next birth. If you remember the almighty Lord at the time of death , the rebirth will not take place.

  2. bhupinder

    March 25, 2012 at 11:39 am

    very true

  3. Chari

    March 27, 2012 at 2:35 am

    Love this article! Thanks so much for sharing! Gives us a lot to think about and things we need to change to live a happy existence!

    Keep up the wonderful work!


  4. Graham C

    March 28, 2012 at 11:50 am

    This is a very inspiring article. It sounds like the book is a must read. This sort of thing should be taught at school / college so that everyone will know how to get the best out of life. Imagine if everybody worked to their maximum potential !

    • Gabriel

      April 18, 2012 at 5:10 pm

      Great idea you have there Graham. It should be taught to all students and it will be! Check out the blog, let me know if you like it

  5. Shekaran Thought Catalyst

    April 15, 2012 at 8:05 am

    I am truly inspired by what you do.
    I would like to be a guest blogger to your website.
    Are you open?

  6. Diana

    April 19, 2012 at 5:39 am

    Inspiring article, it give me time to think about my self and what I want not what others want me to be. Thanks you.

  7. Shahida Fozia Khan

    April 26, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    I really liked this one. It is really an advice worth million. It was something similar that I read and decided to be myself in choosing my cloths. I migrated to USA in 2000 and since than was almost always confused about it. But not any more.

    Keep up good work

  8. Deeone Higgs

    May 3, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    Wow! I LOVED this post! Just as much as I’m loving this site! This is really good stuff! It provided me with some awesome things to think about on my own journey. I’m glad to say that many of these lessons I’ve learned over the last 3 years of my self-betterment journey… the greatest one being that life, peace, and happiness are all choices that we can always choose. Thanks for sharing the powerful post, my friend. Keep up the AWESOME work!

  9. lissee

    May 7, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    Health and happiness are in large part a choice. I’ve worked in healthcare for over 23 years, and most people who leave this earth too soon is due to personal health choices, and or risky behaviors they’ve made. As each day goes by (and each minute, each hour) we have the opportunity to make substantial life decisions. This post provides wonderful insight into the power of choice. Personal accountability for choice is not easy but it’s necessary for happiness. No one can make you happy but the person you see when you look in the mirror. A profound realization, that too many people are unable to experience before they die.

  10. Bhuvanesh

    May 17, 2012 at 3:01 am

    This is the best article that I ever read I always worried about what others may think about me but from now on I’ll be who I’m and I’ll do what I like

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