The secret to living a great life is to do more than you don’t.
For many years Bronnie Ware worked in palliative care. Her patients were those who had gone home to die in the comfort of their familiar surroundings. Some incredibly special times were shared as she was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives. She ended up writing an insightful book about her experiences called The 5 Regrets of the Dying. Here are the top 5 regrets as explained in her book…
- 5 – “I wish that I had let myself be happier.”
- 4 – “I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.”
- 3 – “I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.”
- 2 – “I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.”
- 1 – “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
What a powerful statement…I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself. These insights remind me of what Mark Twain once said, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
There are two kinds of people in life: Doers & Don’ters. Doers are people of action, Don’ters are people of apathy. It’s the Doers that truly experience life to the fullest, while the Don’ters experience life to the emptiest.
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
To live a life of intentionality you must have an extreme bias to action. A drive to make your life count. The good thing is, I believe everyone has this desire, it’s just a matter of putting it into action. The goal of life is not to arrive safely at death, but to arrive sparingly at death. Live full, but die empty. Pour out so much of yourself that you have virtually nothing left to give. Life is too short to live with a could of, should of, would of regret. Doers hold nothing back. They live out of their faith, rather than living from their fears.
Here are some of the different characteristics that make the difference between Doers & Don’ters…
1) Doers ask, “How Can It Be Done?”…Don’ters ask, “Can It Be Done?”
Ronald Reagan had a sign on his desk that simply read…It Can Be Done. The sign on his Oval Office desk was Reagan’s constant reminder that great things, impossible things, were within his grasp. Reagan came into office on the platform of three basic tenants: defeating Communism, cutting taxes, and shrinking the size of government. While he will be celebrated for his leadership and strength in these areas, history will also show one of his greatest achievements to be his revitalization of the American spirit, and the cultivation of American pride. I remember when I was growing up there was a popular education system called “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” This was based on the idea just like the president’s sign..there is always a way.
- Don’ters ask, “Can I?”
- Doers ask, How Can I?”
There is a world of difference between these two approaches to life. The Don’ter will always question their potential and ability. The Doer will rise to the challenge and reach greater opportunities while stepping out in faith. Don’ters are stuck in the question, “Can I?” while the Doers are looking for the answers to “How Can I?”
Always seek solutions to challenges. Don’t be a thermometer who just reads the environment, be a thermostat who has the ability to change the environment.
2) Doers Embrace Experiences…Don’ters Embrace Excuses
Life is a series of experiences that shape us and teach us for our betterment, if we allow it too. Doers embrace the life lessons they learn from every encounter…good or bad. They see experiences as a stepping stone to refine themselves and therefore are willing to step in faith as a result. They are not afraid to make mistakes, knowing that the road of success is paved with failures anyway. Doers see themselves as students who are always learning and growing into greater possibilities.
Don’ters see opportunities as a pass or fail type of endeavor. The event is greater than the experience. They perceive failure as fatal to their future. They don’t see the growth opportunity, they only see what is in front of them. They fear making a mistake and therefore make excuses to talk themselves out of stepping out. These excuses are even rational to them, because they are trying to keep themselves from the pain of their worst fears. But excuses are just lies in disguise. They keep people from their potential and their ultimate destiny. Don’ters will come up with every reason why not to do something. Their self-limiting fears keep them from opening up to new opportunities.
Don’t be a critic, be a student. Critics are always looking for what’s wrong, but students are always seeking an opportunity to learn and get better.
3) Doers Are Very Decisive, Don’ters Are Very Distracted
To live life with intentionality you must be decisive. Indecision to action kills opportunity. Analyzing every detail stalls forward progress. Many people are stuck in the paralysis of analysis. They are paralyzed by distractions. We were never called to be a Las Vegas odds calculating analyst. We are called to be faith-filled, risk taking, obedient disciples of Jesus. But it is very difficult to be decisive when we are distracted by trying to figure out every reaction to our actions before we just do it. I am not saying we should make decisions without patience at times, but most of us make that argument an everyday excuse, not an exception. Remember, 2/3rds of God’s name is Go.
The word distraction means to be pulled apart. The word depicts a medieval type of torture method that would pull someone apart at the seems of their limbs by being tied to four horses going in opposite directions. This became known as Death by Dis-traction.