Action Catalyst Blog

How to Live With No Regrets

A reporter recently asked me a question that made me think about regret… “Tell me about the time when you lost the World Championship of Public Speaking,” he said.

“Oh, yeah, it’s one of my favorite things to talk about!” I said half jokingly.

The reporter said, “You came in second out of 25,000 contestants in the world and it was a two-year-long journey for you and you had this goal of winning and you made it to the very end and then you lost. So what did you learn from that?”

It’s a really good question, because we all like to talk to the winner, the champion, whoever is number one. But this was a meaningful moment in my life, losing at the World Championship, because my effort really was huge.

As part of my training for it, I spoke 304 times for free. I had spent thousands of hours watching and studying film. I read dozens of books. I spent thousands of dollars on coaching and training.

Then, I made it all the way to to the World Championship – the top ten speakers in the world – and then was first runner-up. Or as Jerry Seinfeld would say, “number one loser.”

People, like that reporter, sometimes ask me about that day. I say, “That experience taught me the key for how to live life with no regrets.”

Because I didn’t feel that bad that I didn’t win. Sure, there were a few moments where I was disappointed, and I would have loved to have won. But I wasn’t angry, or depressed and to this day I’ve never felt bitter or had any regret about it.

Why?

Because I did every single thing I could that was in my power.

I controlled as much as possible about what I could control.

I completed every little thing that I was in charge of as part of my preparation.

I did every single thing I knew how to do leading up to that major moment in my life.

That’s how you live life with no regrets – by doing everything in your power, taking complete charge, going all in, and putting 100% of your energy, effort, prayer, money, resources and talent into pursuing the thing you want most in your life.

And if you do that, if you go all in with your effort, and you go all in with your discipline, and you go all in with your energy, you let the results just shake out on their own. And then you don’t feel upset about the outcome.

When you do your best, there’s a great payoff, knowing, “if things didn’t turn out the way you wanted, it must be because God has some other plan for you, right? It must be because things were meant to go a different way.”

That brings you a tremendous amount of peace. That’s a life with no regrets because you know you did everything you could do, and so it just wasn’t in the cards this time.

Contrast that with a person who doesn’t lay it all on the line. That person who sets a goal, but then doesn’t show up, doesn’t go all in, and doesn’t do the work.

That person doesn’t get the same payoff.

That person, when the results don’t shake out in their favor – and they likely won’t – won’t know if it’s because it wasn’t meant to be or because of a more likely truth that they didn’t do everything in their power to hit that goal.

So how do you live a life with no regret? You focus on controlling what you can control, you take action on all the things you can take action on, and you do the very best you know how to do.

You go 100% all in.

If you do that, usually you’ll win. But even when you don’t, you’ll look back and say, “You know what? Maybe it didn’t work out the way I wanted, but I know the reason it didn’t work out the way that I wanted wasn’t because of me. I did everything in my power.”

And so if you’re struggling with a decision right now, maybe letting go of one commitment to go after another, my question to you is: Have you gone all in? Have you done everything in your power to make it happen?

If you do that, you’ll feel good at the end of the day – and you’ll have no regrets.

PS. If you think you might benefit from having someone in your life who can hold you accountable to working as hard as you can, request a free call with one of our coaches.

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