The phrase “if only…” is normally one associated with deep regret and that’s why it’s incredibly sad when we feel compelled to say it. To avoid having to utter those fateful words, we have here a list of bad life choices that ultimately lead to this phrase of regret, as well as how to avoid them:
Pretending to be someone other than who we are in Reality
It’s a big mistake to always think about other people’s perceptions of us and trying to play up to them, as opposed to just being ourselves. If we continuously focus on this, rather than being who we really are, the end result will be that one fine day, we will forget who we are beneath the mask we always tried to project. If we think we are what our friends and enemies say we are, then we obviously don’t know ourselves. We should not let others set our standards. We should forget about who people want us to be or how they see us. The turmoil between our true nature and what we pretend and strive to be is what we call stress or tension. Therefore, stress or tension is what we think we should be, and absolute, infinite bliss is what we are and have always been in Reality. We should be ourselves. We should impress others and inspire them with how we deal with our imperfections instead.
Not having our own goals and dreams
The greatest life’s challenge is the sound discovery of who we really are — not what we think we are — and subsequently discovering infinite happiness and peace within ourselves. We should always stay true to our own goals and dreams to find happiness and peace. If people disagree with us, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing – it just means we are standing our own ground and finding our own way. We should not worry about whether people think we are doing something crazy. When we find ourselves excitedly losing track of time, we will know in our heart that we are on the right path.
Keeping the company of negative people
Negative people are best avoided, because they can foist their negative attitudes on us. Negative people are down and tend to pull others also down with them. We should avoid the company of such people who make us unhappy with their negative attitude. We should always remember that keeping the company of negative people is a choice, not an obligation. Once we realize this and begin to keep it in mind, we will open up our world to compassion over anger, generosity over greed, and patience over anxiety.
Falling into selfishness and egotism
A life that revolves around selfish pursuits and egotism is not a life well-lived. We will be remembered by what we have done for others and the world at large, rather than what we have done for ourselves. Nature’s law is that we should not take anything without giving something in return, if we want to avoid kaarmik bondage (debts we incur in our dealings with the world around us). We can’t live in isolation. We take our sustenance from things and beings from nature as well as knowledge and wisdom from this world through events, experiences and observations. We are obliged to give something back in return. So we need to be selfless, compassionate and try and give back whatever, whenever and wherever we can.
Avoiding change and growth
If we want to know why our life is the way it is, we need to take a look at our past. If we want to know how our future is going to be, we need to take a look at our actions in the present. If what we did in the past has not given us the desired result and if continue doing the same, we can’t expect to have a different result. If we don’t learn from the past mistakes we will be condemned to repeat it. We should remember that, as a rule we should not repeat the same mistake again, but we are allowed to commit a new mistake. Mistakes are wonderful opportunities to learn. If we want a different result we need to do it differently. We should always leave room in our lives for the old to make way for the new. As much as we all like to hold on to that which we know, the truth is that the old is gone, and isn’t coming back. Accepting this fundamental reality and embracing change as it comes will set us up for lasting success.
“He that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils, for time is the greatest innovator.”
– Francis Bacon
Giving up during tough times
Whenever we fail in life, we should take it as a blessing. This is because failures act as indicators that we need to try something else. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Tough situations don’t last, but tough people do. We should learn what we can from a failure and move on. One baby step at a time is what will get us ahead in life. Eventually, these baby steps build on top of each other and lead to our most glorious and defining moments.
“Success will not lower its standard to us; we must raise our standard to success.”
– Randell McBride
“Try and fail, but don’t fail to try.”
— Stephen Kaggwa
Trying to control everything
There is some truth to the notion of creating our own destiny, however this doesn’t mean that we incessantly have to worry about and control everything. There are many things that happen in our personal, social and professional lives which are beyond our control. Moreover, many a times, situations, circumstances and environments are also beyond our control. Wasting our time, effort and money trying to control these will only end up in frustration. Later, we may regret for not deploying these precious resources in more productive venture. Letting go a little will allow us to gain perspective. Once we can see the forest for the trees again, it’s time to take the next step forward. Remember that we don’t always have to be certain that we are headed somewhere great. Occurrences in life happen in perfect order, regardless of whether we understand that or not.
As time goes by in our lives, we all come to understand this principle and see how all the dots are connected.
Settling for less than we actually deserve
We should always make it a priority in life to let go of what no longer serves us. Sometimes we need to be floored by a bad relationship or other situation, as hitting rock bottom can actually be the springboard we need for us to stand taller than we ever did before. The tears we cry can sometimes clear our eyes so we can see the possibilities that lie in front of us. Many of us tend to undersell our own skills, talent and expertise, which we live to regret later. It may be because we are either timid or shy to demand our price or we hesitate due to a friendly relationship, to demand our right professional fees. We should always remember never to settle for anything less than we deserve.
Procrastination: Forever waiting for tomorrow
We all know life is short, but it’s actually even shorter than we think. If we are forever waiting for tomorrow, the window for us to do all the things we have always wanted to do, will silently close and by the time we realize it actually has closed, it will be too late. Procrastination is the worst thing we do to ourselves, whether in personal life or professional life, which we live to regret later. The choice is ours – do we want to look back on what we have achieved with pride or do we want to make a whole myriad of excuses for the things we haven’t because of our procrastination?
Not being assertive and waiting for things to happen
For whatever reason, we may feel hard done by due to the hand of cards that life has dealt us, but that doesn’t mean that we are owed anything – by anyone. Play we must, irrespective of what the hand of cards life has dealt us. We need to focus on developing a backbone, rather than a wishbone. It’s up to us to take responsibility for what transpires in our lives. We are equally important to and just as needed as everyone else in this world. We should not sit around waiting for things to happen, because they just won’t. Our day is now, it’s here. We should seize it and go and create the world we want for ourselves.