270: 9 Life Lessons to Learn (and Apply) Before It’s Too Late
Monday December 9, 2019

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“We have the choice to change our life, to be courageous and to live true to our heart, one that will see us die and live without regret.” —Bronnie Ware, author of The Top Five Regrets of the Dying

Dying, death and loss has unwantingly been on my mind this past fall. Rest assured, today’s episode will uplift, inspire and remind, but the reason I share what has been occupying my mind these past few months is because I likely would not have picked up Bronnie Ware’s new book The Top Five Regrets of the Dying. But I am very grateful that I did.

Ware’s entire book shares her experience working in the palliative care system in New South Wales, Australia, which sprung up from what was originally a blog post. Subsequently, after more than three million people viewed the post, it was thankfully turned into a book which shares detailed five lessons and those special individuals she had the opportunity to spend time with in their final days. Along the way, Ware shares her own journey of self-growth and discovery and how she has applied the lessons she has learned.

It is not lost on me that often the books we need find us, and after the loss of a special woman in my life who was very much akin to a grandmother, who having lived a wonderful life of nearly 95 years reminded me with each visit and time spent together the power of a happy heart, and after a cancer scare with one of my parents (they are in full recovery now), along with my beloved boys (my dogs) each in their double digit years, it quickly becomes apparent that life is short, precious and up to each of us to make it something we are proud to have lived, shared and experienced.

While we will all make mistakes in our lives, that is the gift of being a human :), we do not have to suffer needlessly if we are willing to open our minds to the stories and life experiernces of others. In the past ten years I have come to enjoy reading biographies and autobiographies to soak up as many life lessons as I can that I would have otherwise not known about (Julia Child is one of my favorite teachers, but so are many others). Today what I would like to share with you are nine Life Lessons that caught my attention as I was reading Bronnie Ware’s book. While her book focuses on five overarching regrets, interwoven amongst each are smaller, no less important lessons, to understand and apply to our lives moving forward.

As I was reading, I began to celebrate as I discovered that much of what is shared aligns with living a simply luxurious life, and especially if you’ve read TSLL’s 2nd book, you will know that nearly all of these topics are explored in depth. I cannot fully understand the emotional strength Bronnie exercised in each of her experiences, as well, and more importantly, the individuals who shared their stories in their final days, but I am determined to make sure their lessons are learned and applied forward as we go about our daily lives. Let’s take a look at the list.

~Reader/Listener Note: Each point shared below is discussed in more detail in the audio version.

1.Extend Kindness and Forgiveness to Yourself as well as Others

“The bravery needed to change your life is easier to find when you are kind to yourself. Good things take time, so patience is also required.”

2. Appreciate the Daily Journey – Find Joy in the Everyday

“Things fall into place when happiness is already found.”

3. Let Go of the Need for Validation and Share Yourself with the World

“Taking risks requires courage, but we cannot control everything . . . learning and daring to think without limitations, and not trying to control how things will flow to us.”

The most common regret: “wishing they had been true to themselves”.

~YOU MIGHT ENJOY: Why Not . . . Get to Know Yourself? (3 part series)

~Explore TSLL’s 1st book in which a detailed conversation is shared about how to tap into your true self.

4. Simplify to “Untrap” Yourself

“The things we often think we need are sometimes the things that keep us trapped in an unfulfilled life. Simplicity is the key to changing this. Letting go of the need for validation through ownership or the expectations of others also brings freedom.”

5. Make the Scary Changes

“Just as [trappings] were created over time . . . they can be undone over time. It is a delicate process of determination, bravery and, at times, letting go. It is having the courage to stop unhealthy relationships in their tracks and say ‘Enough’. It is treating yourself with respect and kindness, both of which we deserve.”

~YOU MIGHT ENJOY: Your Fear is Speaking

6. Overcome and Become the Master of Your Mind

“It is the heart that guides us to joy, not the mind. Overcoming the mind and letting go of others’ opinions allows us to hear our own heart. Having the courage to then follow it is where true happiness lies. In the meantime, keep cultivating the heart while mastering the mind. As the heart grows, life brings more joy and peace. A happy life want us , as much as we want it.”

~YOU MIGHT ENJOY: How to be the Master of Your Mind, episode #20

7. Be honest with yourself, and get out of your own way

“My lessons had been in how to allow [fulfillment and pleasure], which was through faith and self-love. I just had to get out of my own way first. That was where the real work lay — learning to own my own thoughts, by clearing away the debris that stopped me [from] letting it all flow.”

8. Smile at your humanness, let go of perfectionism

“If occasional blockages now surface, I am patient and loving with myself while working through them. Self-discovery is more joyful. I can smile at my humanness.”

~YOU MIGHT ENJOY: Why Not . . . Stop Getting in Your Own Way?

9. Understand Being Yourself Will Require Great Courage

“It takes enormous courage sometimes. But being who we are, whoever that is, sometimes cannot even be articulated at first even to ourself. All we know is there is a yearning within that is not being fulfilled by the life we are currently living.”

~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate:  iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify


Petit Plaisir

~Maison Balzac mini candles

~Personalized/Customized Holiday Cards from Papier

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6 thoughts on “270: 9 Life Lessons to Learn (and Apply) Before It’s Too Late

  1. Hi Shannon, this is such a thoughtful discussion. Situations we find ourselves in sometimes bring our lives into sharp focus and help us to see what is working, not working, or where we are holding ourselves back. While we want to focus on the joy of living, sometimes we need that comparison to help us move forward. What would our 90 year old selves want to be celebrating as we near the end?

  2. Shannon, I’m really appreciating your content, podcast, Instagram and especially the Friday This and That which I can’t wait to see in my inbox every Friday morning. I need your help, though! I was looking to get a Firstleaf wine subscription for my parents (as advertised on your podcast- a good reason for me). The link you mention, firstleaf.com/sophisticate, doesn’t seem to work. Can you please let me know if you have any feedback from the company that may point us in another direction?

    1. Thank you for letting me know. I do not know why it isn’t working, but you are correct, it is not working. I have reached out to FirstLeaf via my team and will let you know what I find out. What a great gift to receive!

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