anthropology · behavior · brain · community · happiness · health · mental health · psychology

Life Lessons Passed On

English: Elderly Muslim during the Republic of...

I was really inspired by that blog post I shared a couple of months ago about cancer survivors and what they’d learned about life. I also posted a survey done with older folks last year giving advice on what NOT to do.

Well, thankfully all of that hard-earned knowledge is coming out in book form. Many of the interviews can also be at legacyproject.human.cornell.edu. From the NYTimes:

Eventually, most of us learn valuable lessons about how to conduct a successful and satisfying life. But for far too many people, the learning comes too late to help them avoid painful mistakes and decades of wasted time and effort…

Enter an invaluable source of help, if anyone is willing to listen while there is still time to take corrective action. It is a new book called “30 Lessons for Living” (Hudson Street Press) that offers practical advice from more than 1,000 older Americans from different economic, educational and occupational strata who were interviewed as part of the ongoing Cornell Legacy Project.

Its author, Karl Pillemer, a professor of human development at the College of Human Ecology at Cornell and a gerontologist at the Weill Cornell Medical College, calls his subjects “the experts,” and their advice is based on what they did right and wrong in their long lives.

You can also read a summary of their advice in the article: Advice From Life’s Graying Edge on Finishing With No Regrets

What are your life lessons?

behavior · happiness · Me

The top 5 regrets people make on their deathbeds – inspired by Lifehacks

WLA moma Henri Rousseau The Dream 3
People's #1 deathbed regret: not being true to themselves. Image via Wikipedia

They say hindsight is 20/20, and I find it very informative to find out what people wish they had done or are very happy they did, either at the end of a school year or sitting in a rocking chair on a porch in retirement. So this bit of anecdotal evidence is interesting, and while none of the regrets are surprising it’s good affirmation of what people’s priorities in life should be.

…the following regrets were first posted in The Observer in 2010, and we’ve recopied them for you here below. But instead of just the grandmotherly bits of advice about dreams having gone unfulfilled, we’ve supplemented each regret with some rockstar advice on how to not have these regrets in the digital age.

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people have had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.

It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.

TNW Advice: We interview so many entrepreneurs here at The Next Web, some of whom will succeed, most of whom will fail. But it’s about going out and creating a reality out of what was once just an idea in your head.

read all 5 regrets, plus the added bits of TNW advice at The top 5 regrets people make on their deathbeds – Lifehacks.

What the five regrets basically constitute are making time for themselves, their friends and family, taking risks rather than playing it safe, and just giving space in their lives for happiness.

This is a really good exercise to do at any time, to see if you’re really living the life you want and what you can do to change it.

If you were told you were going to die tomorrow, this evening, whatever, what would your regrets be?

Mine would be:

1. Not taking that hiking vacation through Europe.

2. Not taking a sabbatical, more time for me.

3. Not finishing my thesis.

4. Not spending more time with my sister the last couple of years before she died, which translates into generally just spending more time with others I love before they kick the bucket.

5. Not starting a family.