The Top 5 Regrets People Have on Their Deathbeds

Hi folks, Mindy Tyson McHorse here. I’m thrilled to be taking over The Writer’s Life this week.

I’ve got a somewhat unusual series of essays planned for this week. Instead of new beginnings, I want to talk to you about the end. About death.

Even bolder than that, I’ll explain how you can outsmart death – sort of. My plan is to show you how to live a life of such fantastic satisfaction that death won’t ever scare you again.

It’s a timely topic since your neighborhood is due to fill with ghosts and goblins tonight. From goofy skeletons and friendly trolls to Death Eaters and Grim Reapers, they’ll haunt the streets and make strange noises. Then they’ll parade right up to your door and ask for candy.

Aside from Halloween fun, death is rarely a comfortable subject or welcome topic of conversation. A lot of us are flat-out afraid to talk about it, which is the case with most things that scare us.

Why is it scary?

Probably because the thought of not doing everything you want in your lifetime is terrifying … I know it is for me.

Plus, the thought of not knowing what happens next can be overwhelming. It’s a fact: fear of the unknown makes people uncomfortable.

That’s why, this week, I’m going to walk you through the top five regrets people make on their deathbeds.

Then I’ll show you how to avoid them.

Here’s the first one:

“I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”

Just about every freelance writer I know has faced this dilemma.

We all grow up with expectations placed on us: Find a stable job. Get a steady paycheck. Do something respectable.

Some of it comes from family members. Some of these expectations we place on ourselves.

Jobs that fit the mold are things like teacher, doctor, auto mechanic, banker, fireman, business owner, etc. They’re professions people understand. Safe paths, well-traveled.

“Freelance writer” doesn’t fit that bill … or at least, that’s most people’s first impression.

The plain truth is that most folks don’t know a lot about freelance writing. That makes it scary to them.

They don’t realize it’s a bona fide occupation that supports families, pays mortgages, and funds retirement accounts. They don’t “get” how this is possible if you work from home without the things “real jobs” require, like an ID badge or a timesheet.

If you dream of the writer’s life, avoiding that first deathbed regret means being brave enough to not live an average life.

It means courageously stepping out of line to say, “Hey … I can do this.”

It means putting aside your initial fear of the unknown so you can really live before you die.

Although, let’s face it … that’s easier said than done.

I’ve thought a lot about how I got to where I am now (six-figure freelance copywriter) from where I was (crabby manager with hyper-controlling boss).

It’s not because I’m fearless. I’ve actually never been the “plucky” type that swims upstream.

The only reason I got to where I am now is because I’ve always gotten priceless assistance from Circle of Success. It’s how I get the motivation to keep on going. It’s where I learn the tricks that keep me current. And it’s how I made friends with a network of fellow freelancers who keep me afloat with their support and mentorship.

What are your “deathbed fears”? How do you plan to live a life true to yourself? Please comment below.

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Published: October 31, 2011

17 Responses to “The Top 5 Regrets People Have on Their Deathbeds”

  1. I am looking forward to the rest of your series Mindy. I came home from Boot Camp with the realization that it is my "mental demons" holding me back. This is just one more nudge to get me to jump off the cliff.
    Thank you P.S. Congratulations!

    Kristen DaltonOctober 31, 2011 at 8:23 am

  2. I have a few of them, but there's nothing I can do about most of them. I want to make sure I gave copywriting a shot. I joined COS on Saturday at lunchtime, and got my validation a little while later (and the pics of you look great, too.) A lot of demons got scared off when I walked on stage.

    Congratulations, too, Mindy!


    AmyODonnellOctober 31, 2011 at 4:39 pm

  3. I hope there is a continuation, because that was one of five.

    Most mental demons come from the fact that we have been taught lies, which have been reinforced over time by either our own thoughts or those of others.

    Find the truth to escape them.

    They are the reason not everybody succeeds at the same time.

    Kristen, Amy. You've made your decision, and once you've made it, you'll still be a little scared of challenges, but not the same way you were before. Keep it up.

    Guest (David Allen)October 31, 2011 at 10:45 pm

  4. We know it is coming yet we are scared.Our desires and wishes are endless like the sea waves; no use trying to contain them.We get what we deserve; that is karma.Any regrets at the time will only sharpen the pangs of departure. Just say 'thank you,Lord for whatever you had given'

    Guest (k kasturi)October 31, 2011 at 11:00 pm

  5. Kudos to your new responsibilities (sounds like a lot of fun). There are two types of people. Those who fear death and those who don't. I find that those in the latter category have had a close call and consider themselves luckier for having come through it. On my third life now, and I thought I'd like to enjoy more of what's left of it, hence the emphasis on copywriting. I'm looking forward to the next year.

    Yours truly,

    Keith Sims

    kasimsNovember 1, 2011 at 12:52 am

  6. I completely understand the fear! I still am hesitant to call myself a freelance writer when people ask me what I do. it is not my sole source of income at the moment, but it is what I want to do full-time someday! Just have to kick the fear!

    Julie McElroyNovember 1, 2011 at 1:43 am

  7. Two years ago I was in a bad accident - the surgeon said he was amazed I was not a quadriplegic. Aside from a few more creaks,I’m OK. I’m sure I had an angel looking over me, and that God has more for me to do. During my recovery, I thought a lot about life. Funny how a near-death or narrow escape from disaster experience can change your perspective. I left my comfortable but boring life behind for travel overseas and doing freelance work, with a wonderful new man. I've never been happier!

    Guest (Elizabeth C)November 1, 2011 at 1:55 am

  8. Terrific article, Mindy. Never made this connection before, but it's just so true that the majority of people live their lives fulfilling the expectations of others. I know I sure have. The best thing I have ever done for myself has been to follow this path and it thrills me every day. Nick Usborne talked about the 2:57 moment at Bootcamp referring to the joy Jeb Corliss experienced 2mins and 57 secs into the video. In this freelancing life, those moments come often. Love this article!

    Guest (Cyndee D)November 1, 2011 at 2:03 am

  9. The topic of death is very much on my mine. I'm in my sixties; and I wonder if how much more time do I have. Hopefully I get another twenty years. Men start disappearing around their eighty-sixth birthday. I have a book called Chasing Daylight. The author was only given months to live; and he banged out this memoir. One of his regrets is he didn't spend more time with his family.

    Guest (David P Reader)November 1, 2011 at 6:24 am

  10. Mindy -

    I'm 62 years old. Always, always, always, when I've contemplated making an "important" decision in life, I ask myself this question: If not now, then when? It'll never get any easier than now, so why wait?
    It's been said that, in life, people's regrets are filled not with something that was attempted but rather, what was not tried.

    Gene SzajNovember 1, 2011 at 9:57 am

  11. "Deathbed fears"? I don't think so. I find it challenging enough to face my "lifetime" fears. Fear of quitting my "secure" J-O-B"... fear of speaking in public... fear of leaving behind life-long friends and family who cannot support me... fear of success!

    I plan on facing these head-on in 2012, but heck, they've been quite the foes... but I WILL conquer, make no mistake, for I dare not leave them to become my "deathbed fears"!

    Jerry BuresNovember 1, 2011 at 10:42 pm

  12. The thought in itself is a great eye opener. I feel that I have never lived a life true to myself. I have always been living life what others expected of me. The circumstances, the people surrounding me have been the drivers of my life. This is the greatest tragedy of life.

    Guest (shirishsmb)November 3, 2011 at 4:21 am

  13. I have no fear of death... I was not afraid to be born, ..I'm not afraid to die. (past or future lives) I just enjoy every day of life to it's fullest and make the very best of the time I have. Fear has no place in death, ... as it is simply one end of the tunnel of insight and experience. Life is a journey, not a punishment which you need to fear. Now go LIVE your life!

    Guest (George)November 4, 2011 at 12:44 am

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