transform common regrets into commands for life

In the last  month or so I have repeatedly seen a list of the 5 most common regrets a hospice nurse has heard people express at the end of their lives. Julie’s 100 year old grandmother had just two items which overlap “spend more time with family” and “listen more”. It’s worth noting that there were two regrets absence from every list “I wish I made more money” and “I wish I spent more time at work”.

Paul Graham smartly turn this into a short list of commands which he keeps at the top of the todo list. It’s rare that I feel  I can improve any article Paul has posted, but this time I would suggest a more active and expansive version of Paul’s commands would be appropriate. 

Top RegretsPaul’s CommandsMy CommandsReasoning
I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.Don’t ignore your dreamspursue your callingbecause your calling often goes beyond what you can dream, and true integrity is more valuable than gold
I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.don’t work too much1. spend your time on what really matters
2. practice sabbath / always have slack
because not working is not the same as resting and you want to invest your time in what is most important to you.
I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.say what you thinkspeak the truth in lovebecause we want our words to be heard and effective
I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.cultivate friendshipscultivate friendships, but be receptive to all peoplebecause people are more important than things and people can surprise you (in a good way)
I wish that I had let myself be happyembrace joy and gratitudewhich is independent of circumstances. Remember happiness = experience – expectations
n/an/astay fit and take care of your healthyou will have more experiences to share at the end of your life

All of these commands feeds into the most important command: grow in love

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”
And Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Matthew 22:36-39

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