“Mistakes will shape us and regrets will haunt us.”
That’s my little lesson for today. I was so proud of myself when I came up with that one liner that I was tempted to take the rest of the day off. But it probably needs bit more of an explanation doesn’t it?
What got me thinking was that list of deathbed regrets. You might have seen it. It’s doing the rounds on email and facebook.
The basic idea is that Bronnie Ware was a palliative care worker, who nursed patients intimately, one on one, through the last weeks of their lives.
As she spent time with her patients they often expressed regrets about their lives – how they wished it had been different – now that it was almost time to bring the boat in.
Over time, she identified 5 key regrets. They were:
- I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
- I wish I didn’t work so hard.
- I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
- I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
- I wish that I had let myself be happier.
(“I wish I had read more of Jon Giaan’s blogs” came in a consistent 6th apparently…)
So what do you notice about that list?
The thing that jumps out at me is how many of those regret are about freedom in one way or another – freedom from social expectations, freedom from work, freedom from self-censorship. The freedom to let yourself be happy.
And that really connects with what I feel I’m trying to do with my work. It’s about helping people realise the financial freedom they need to do the things they want to do.
Of course, money doesn’t buy you happiness. But it does create more space in your life to do the things that do make you happy. If you’re not chained to the 9-to-5 wheel, there’s more time for your kids, more time for your friends, more time for you…
And I would say that that’s the single biggest reason why people come to me. Very few people are in it for the boat and the sports car. Most just want the freedom to do the things that really make them happy.
The other thing about these deathbed regrets is that they’re mostly about the things that people didn’t do.
And that’s consistent with the latest research out of psychology and happiness studies. It’s just the way we’re wired. The things we don’t do in life, those “if only I had of’s”, haunt us. They stay with us. They become regrets.
But the things we do do, if they don’t pan out well, then they just become mistakes. And our lives are full of mistakes. (Yes, even mine… Actually, especially mine.)
And because we’re an adaptive organism by design- because we’re hard-wired to learn – our mistakes become lessons. We learn what we need to learn, incorporate the lesson and move on.
And we are all the more wiser / smarter / braver for it. And in time, even the biggest mistakes just become another course in a long university of life.
And so our mistakes shape us. But our regrets haunt us.
And I see this all the time in property. Most of the really successful property investors I know had some terrible deals early on in their careers.
And the advice they all have for new investors is don’t give up. Don’t let a couple of mistakes throw you off your game. Learn the lesson, and get back on that horse.
Because if you do nothing, not only will you be saddled with a regret to one day offload on a curious palliative care nurse, you’ll also miss out on the rich learning experiences that life offers.
And why am I so passionate about this today?
Because I see an incredible window of opportunity closing out. As I’ve said more than a few times in these blogs, the property market turned about a year ago. There is a clear underlying upward momentum in effect.
And property has fire in the belly. Affordability is great, interest rates are at historic lows, and many markets are under-supplied.
And all the modelling I’m doing is saying it’s a great time to get on board.
Well, it has been. But it won’t last forever.
I’ve only seen conditions like this a few times in my career. The first time was in the late 80s. I was new to the game a still didn’t know what it was all about. I hesitated at the waters edge, and finally let the media spook me out of it.
And I’ve regretted it ever since. I could have doubled my money in just a few years.
But the next time it came around – in the mid 90s and early 2000s, I was ready. I made a few mistakes, but they made me a better investor. And I made a lot of money.
So are you ready? Have you got your strategy in place? Do you know what you in for?
And for those of you still holding back, what are you waiting for? How many booms will pass you by before you take the plunge?
How many of your friends will make their fortune, while you keep buying into media b.s.
And how many days in your kids life will you spend in an air-conditioned box.
These are the regrets that haunt us.
Face the fear that you might make mistakes, and take a bold step towards freedom.
Trust me. You won’t regret it.