I don’t know about you, but I cringe each time I see an old fellow who appears defeated by life. They’ve lost that spark in their eyes; that erectness in their carriage. They have lost the most valuable assets life has to offer; Time. And they don’t have much to look back or forward to. Sadly, these people are not hard to find.
Most of our viewers on this channel are still young. So you still have some time to avoid the old years of intense regret. I once read the saying, “hell on earth is meeting the person you could have become, when you’ve lost strength and time to dream again” Now that’s a terrible place to be. Look out for these signs that you may have a regretful life when you have eventually exhausted your time and strength due to old age. Before we get to it, be sure to subscribe to After School Africa for more insightful videos like this.
1. Your career does not inspire courage
In the words of Maya Angelou, “Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We cannot be kind, true, merciful, generous and honest”.
You can never achieve anything to be proud of without courage. It takes courage to put yourself in situations that allows you to learn and grow. What does it take for a career to inspire courage? Your career should take you out of your comfort zone consistently. It should challenge you to test your limits. It should afford you opportunities to discover yourself and grow. And it should give you opportunities to learn within your sphere of interest. If you are stuck in a routine job, that encourages complacency, you are setting yourself up for a late life of regrets. As you get older you’d wish you had the courage to live a life true to yourself, not the life others expected of you.
2. You think you already know all you need to know
Look back 10 year ago and imagine how different your life would have turned out if you knew what you know now back then. As biased as your confidence in your present experience are, your 10 year older self will definitely know better than your present self. Thinking you already know all you need to know about your career or about life is a show of ignorance. You deprive yourself the opportunity to learn and grow today.
At retirement, people who think they know too much, get to realize that they didn’t know so much. They ignored the advice of their high performing friends. They failed to heed the guidance from mentors. They made no effort to learn the basics of personal finance. Why should they? If it wasn’t important enough for their school to teach the subject, it certainly wasn’t important enough for them to learn on their own. Right?
Wrong. In fact, you’ll discover that you don’t learn most of the important life skills in school. They are your responsibility to learn in the real world. Now that you are still young, there are plenty of opportunities and resources to quickly learn the skills and education you need. If you think you already know all you need to know, you are setting yourself up for a life of regret.
3. You live above your means
The lure of immediate gratification can distract you from the needs of your future. A common regret people have at retirement is that they didn’t start saving for retirement early enough. And this is a regret that grows with age. It will be even more regretful, if you had the chance to save but were too buy keeping up with the joneses.
A very important thing about money people take for granted is opportunity cost. For every income you earn, you have the power to decide for the benefit of today or for benefit of the future. Each time you spend to maintain a lifestyle; you miss the opportunity to use that money for something else like develop your skill or invest into your future. People can make mockery of someone who is meticulous with their spending and praise the lavish spender. But in the long run, they envy the result of the frugal spender and mock the lack of wisdom of the lavish spender.
4. You are playing too safe with money
I read a story about a man who missed a great opportunity! His friend took him for a ride one day. They drove off the main road & drove through groves of trees to a large uninhabited expanse of land. The friend, Walter started to describe with great detail the wonderful things he was going to build. Walter wanted his friend Arthur to buy some of the land surrounding his project, in order to get in early at the bottom of the growth curve! But Arthur thought to himself: “Who in the world is going to drive 25 miles for this crazy project?” Walter explained to his friend that where they are now standing will in just a couple of years, be jammed with hotels & restaurants & convention halls, to accommodate the people who will come to spend their entire vacations here at his park. He continued: “I want you to have the first chance at this surrounding acreage, because in the next five years, it will increase in value 700 times.” However, Arthur was so shortsighted that he was certain his friend was just being unrealistically ambitious! So he rejected the offer with the excuse that he had tight-money situation. And so the story goes that Arthur turned down the opportunity to buy up the land that surrounded what was to become Disneyland.
The consequence of playing too safe is that you miss out on a lot of opportunities that could potentially change your life. Many people today are going to wake up one day and realize that they lived through a golden age of opportunities without taking part in it. That will be a very regretful position to be. Remember that you are more likely to regret the shots you didn’t take than the shots you took.
5. Your career doesn’t allow you to express your true self
Many people may not admit it, but one of our biggest fears is to live through life without people getting to see our true self. You may not care for the world to know that you walked this path, but you do want the people around you to know and experience the package you came with. Unfortunately, a lot of people are in jobs where they are not allowed to think but to just take orders. You are not allowed to express your creative self. You hate and resent your job and your boss because you feel entrapped. Your dream only exists in ‘someday’ instead of ‘today’. You are relegated into the class of cold and timid souls because getting a monthly paycheck is more important to you than listening to you dying soul. You are setting yourself up for a life of regret. And regret at old age is a deadly poison that kills slowly. You don’t want to end up like that.
6. You give up too quickly
One of the most regrettable decisions current retirees said they made was to give up when they didn’t think they were making progress. It will be disheartening to see someone else succeed at the thing you gave up on. If you have the habit of not finishing anything you start, you want to get more disciplined.
7. You Believe Everything Will Just Work Out Without a Plan
This classic mistake occurs in nearly every aspect of life, and retirement is no different. A plan helps instill the discipline necessary to avoid all the mistakes mentioned in this video. Unfortunately, just as money is a scarce resource during the early part of your career (which makes saving a challenge), so, too, is time. The lack of time may be the greatest impediment to planning. Your plan may be as distinct as setting specific savings goals, developing skills and ability to earn more or choosing a career that aligns with your purpose and passion. There’s failing to plan, then there’s failing to have a “Plan B.” You can’t predict the future. You can only develop an array of possible scenarios. Spread your risk and never settle. Retirement is a goal you get only one real shot at. There is no second chance if done wrong or carelessly. If you are fall within any of these signs, it’s time you reexamine your decisions.
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