What are the keys to success in life? What will ensure success? Listen to those at the end of their life. Learn from their experience, from what they did right and what they regret.

An interesting blog I recently read is Regrets of the Dying by Bonnie Ware, who worked in palliative care. She lists 5 regrets of the dying. These are:

  1. Not having the courage to live a life true to themselves, rather than the life others expected of them (most common).
  2. Having worked too hard (all the males).
  3. Not having the courage to express their feelings.
  4. Not staying in touch with friends.
  5. Not allowing themselves to be happier.

The keys to success in life are to take action to prevent this from happening. Obvious isn’t it?

So why do so many of us fail to act on this knowledge? I often wonder.

Rather than trying to analyze ourselves and trying to root out some real or imagined deep-seated psychological blockage, or try to get the definitive set of keys to success in life, let’s take some simple actions. Here are my suggestions for (1) something to reflect on and (2) practical suggestions.

  • First, allow yourself to be happier. Realize that happiness is a choice, not an externally imposed condition you have no control of. Notice the sheer joy and happiness of children in some poverty stricken areas of this world? If they can be happy so can we.
  • Practical suggestion: Put a deliberate smile on your face and keep it up for 5 minutes. Reflect on what difference you feel and why.
  • Second, phone three friends. One friend that you contact regularly. One that you have not contacted for a few weeks, and one you have not contacted in a year. Just do it. Mention this blog or Bonnie’s blog.
  • Practical suggestion: Schedule the time for this if you cannot do it now. Tell a someone close to you (that your trust) what you intend doing and ask them to call you to account.
  • Thirdly, list three feelings you tend to suppress. Determine how you could express them (avoid hurting others in doing so), and then do so with three people.
  • Practical suggestion: Pick one person that is easy to talk to, one that is slightly uncomfortable to talk to and one that tends to be difficult to talk to.
  • Fourthly, reflect on how much you work. Reflect of what you may be doing that is unnecessary.
  • Practical suggestion: List three things that you do that are unnecessary. Resolve to stop doing one of them for one day a week, then gradually increase this to 2, 3 etc. days and even add more things in later weeks, 2nd, 3rd etc .
  • Fifth and last. Reconsider the previous four suggestions. If you apply these suggestions you should already be on the road defining you own keys to success in life. Reflect on this and start designing your own idea life. The free program download has some material that will be useful in this, even if you do not want to do the whole program.

I think the keys to success in life is not a matter of a magic solution or recipe, but listening to the wisdom of others, especially those that have the least reason to lie to you, and take steps to avoid what they regret.

So what are the keys to success in life? Whatever gives you what you value and treasure in life.

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