October 3

How to Avoid “Deathbed Regret” | WT #71

The notion of “deathbed regret” is a haunting one, a grim tally of missed opportunities, neglected relationships, and dreams left unrealized. How do we navigate through life’s myriad decisions to avoid accumulating such regrets? The answer lies not in a product or a service, but in a simple yet profound concept: making better, principled decisions.

Chipping Away at the Marble

You may recall a previous issue of Weekly TRUTH, comparing your best self as a masterpiece hidden within a block of marble. This idea was eloquently illustrated by Michelangelo when he sculpted “David.” He saw the hero already present within the marble; all he needed to do was remove what was unnecessary. In the same way, as we said before, every decision you make in life either reveals or obscures your own inner “David.”

The Role of Truth

In a world awash with information and mixed messages, yet often devoid of wisdom, discerning what is true becomes a challenge. Your ability to make better decisions depends on your commitment to what is true and right, allowing you to navigate life’s complexities. When your decisions align with objective truths, you move closer to a life that you can look back on without regret.

We all Need Authentic Feedback

Truthful self-assessment is difficult. To see ourselves clearly, we often need an “authentic feedback loop” from those who know and care about us. Feedback helps us understand where we are falling short and what changes we can make. It serves as a compass, helping us align our decisions with our best selves.

Character as Your Guiding Principle

In the rush to achieve societal markers of success, we often overlook the importance of character. Yet, character forms the bedrock of all meaningful achievements and relationships. Decisions based in strong character are the ones most likely to lead us away from future regret.

Deathbed regret can be avoided by consistently making better, more principled decisions throughout our lives. It’s a simple concept, yet it’s transformative in its ability to guide us towards a life of purpose, meaning, and ultimately, peace. We are pleased to offer trainings and frameworks that can help sharpen this skill, but the first step begins with YOU: a commitment to live each day authentically, making each decision a step towards your best self.

About the author 

Darren Smith

Darren Smith is Co-Founder of the Authentic Leadership Institute. He is a native Texan and a graduate of Dallas Jesuit and Texas A&M University. Over the past 25 years, Darren has visited 35 countries and led 100 strategy programs. He and his wife have five children.


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