Top 5 Regrets Of The Dying And How We Can Avoid Them

Regrets Of The Dying

Here’re the regrets of the dying that will make you ponder life and change the way you think!

Part of Kathy Caprino’s series “Finding Brave To Build Your Happiest and Best Life and Career”

Each year for my work, I review and study a large amount of material—from blog posts and articles, to research studies, books, papers, TEDx talks, and more. Much of it shares important information aimed to help people overcome their challenges and live a happier, more fulfilling life. And a good deal is beneficial for us.

But every once in a while, I come across something that’s even more impactful and life-changing for me than all the rest, that makes me stop in my tracks and think (and rethink) very hard about my own life and how I’m operating in the world, and what I truly want. And even more rarely, I’m moved to actually change how I’m living.

Bronnie Ware’s Regrets of the Dying blog post did that for me. When I first read it, I found it so simple yet so powerful and poignant. It was imbued with critical life lessons that most of us just never seem to heed or understand until it’s too late. After reading it, I was compelled to do some research of my own about The Top Five Regrets of Midlife Professionals and wrote a now-viral post on those regrets and what they mean for me and many of us in midlife.

Related: What Happens After Death?

Six years ago, I lived through watching my beloved and brilliant dad slowly die of cancer that had metastasized throughout his body, and it was a devastating experience for all of us. To see this vibrant man suffer from dementia and cancer and lose everything that had made him who he was in life, and to spend time in an amazing hospice facility that cared for him so beautifully, I saw firsthand what the dying feel and think as they’re nearing the end. I heard the questions he asked me over and over again (forgetting that he had just uttered them a minute before) and I saw what he was most worried about.

Ware’s post grabbed me by the collar and made me want to change some things about how I showed up in life. Her powerful book that followed, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed By the Dearly Departing became an internationally bestselling memoir, read by over one million people in 32 languages, with a movie in the pipeline. Ware, who lives in northern New South Wales, is also an inspirational speaker and a passionate advocate for simplicity and leaving space to breathe. Her book is a courageous, life-changing memoir inspiring you to embrace your power of choice and the sacredness of time.

I was thrilled to catch up with Ware recently on my podcast Finding Brave and hear the lessons she personally learned from her years of working with and supporting those who are dying. These are messages that need to be heeded if we’re to live the lives we truly long for and to ensure we come to the end of our time here without painful regret. 

Related: Life Lessons From The Joker: What We Can Learn From The Clown Prince of Crime

Below are some key highlights from Bronnie’s beautiful work, messages and insights: 

Kathy Caprino: Bronnie, how did you find yourself compelled to write a book about the top regrets of the dying?

Bronnie Ware: I’d just finished working with dying people for 8 years and had set up a songwriting program in a women’s jail. A music magazine asked me to write an article about it, which inspired me to start a blog. As the regrets of the dying had changed my life so much it was the first thing I was called to write about. More than a million people read the article in its first year (and at least 10 million since).

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