5 Ways to Seize the Moment and Live Without Regrets

The Jubilant Man

“Accept your past without regret, handle your present with confidence, and face your future without fear.” ~Unknown

Samara is my colleague at work. She is one of the most pleasant ladies I know. She always has a smile and an encouraging word to give.

She really is the kind of woman you want to speak to on the days you feel like life has dealt you a bad hand, because she always has something comforting to say. As we got closer, I confided more and more in her about the challenges I was going through in my life.

I envisioned that her life must be perfect since she has such inner strength.

But I was wrong.

One day I noticed she had a sad countenance. That was strange because Samara was like sunshine itself. However, her sad countenance did not last, and before long she had her signature smile back on.

But I was not deceived. I knew that deep inside her, she was experiencing some pain, so I asked her what was wrong.

At first, she smiled and said that all was well. But I insisted that she confide in me. She looked me in the eyes, thanked me for caring, and then dropped the bombshell.

“My six-year-old daughter has been in a critical condition for the past six months because of my carelessness. I saw her yesterday and her situation seems to have worsened. I think she is going to die.”

For a second, I could not speak. I was in shock.

“I am so sorry,” I managed to stammer, trying not to let her see how shaken I was by the shocking statement I had just heard.

She explained to me that six months ago, she had stopped at a supermarket to get a few things. And because she was in a hurry, she had left her daughter in the car with the engine running. Her daughter had managed to engage the gear and the car had sped into the road, right into an oncoming trailer, and she had been seriously injured.

The tears rolled down my face as she narrated this horrific story to me.

She assured me that she had managed to forgive herself and had replaced regrets with gratitude for the six years she spent with her daughter.

I recalled with a sense of embarrassment all the fuss I sometimes make over little things that, in light of what I’d just heard from Samara, now seem really insignificant.

My marriage was not working out the way I wanted it to and everyday I lived with regret that I married my husband. I made a career change, which has turned out to be a very poor decision, and I have not been able to forgive myself.

I realized that I spend too much of my time dwelling on all the mistakes I have made in the past. I spend too much time regretting things that I have no power to change. I spend too much time wishing things were different. I spend too much time beating myself up over what I’ve done.

Over the years after that encounter, I determined to live a more positive life, free of regrets. Here are five ways I’ve learned to do that:

1. Live your life with purpose.

I realized that my career was doing badly because I did not have a career plan. I just drifted through my days without something to look forward to, so my life lacked momentum.

Determine to live a life of focus. Today, take a stand on one thing you want to achieve in your life and draw up a plan to accomplish it.

2. Stop making excuses.

I blamed everybody else for the way my life turned out. I blamed my husband for the failure of my marriage and I blamed my boss for not promoting me.

I am responsible for my life and not anybody else. Instead of making excuses, I need to take responsibility.

It doesn’t matter what the obstacles in your life are. You can achieve almost anything if you put your mind to it. Helen Keller and Jon Morrow are examples of people who achieved excellence despite physical disabilities.

Look within yourself. There is something waiting to be birthed. Find what that something is and do it, without excuses.

3. Choose not to be a victim.

At a point, I thought I had made such a mess of my life that there was no point trying to put things right. So I gave up trying. I mulled over my mistakes every day and went deeper into regrets.

None of this helped me. I only started making progress when I embraced my mistakes, determined not to make them again, and resumed chasing my dreams.

Life is not fair for any one of us. There will be storms and you will make mistakes. But be determined to get up as many times as life pushes you down. Forgive yourself, learn the lessons, and go on working toward your goals.

The more time you spend feeling sorry for yourself, the less time you have to pursue the life of your dreams.

4. Stop comparing yourself to others.

I could not stop comparing myself to others. Everybody seemed to be happier than me, their marriages seemed to be faring better, and I seemed to be the only person with a less than fulfilling career.

This made me feel even worse. I wondered what others were doing that I was not. Their progress in life seemed to dampen my spirit.

Over time, I realized that comparing yourself with others is one of the greatest mistakes anybody can make. No matter who you are or where you find yourself in life, always remember that you have your own unique path to walk.

Never compare yourself, your struggles, and your journey to anyone else, for that would only distract you from your own.

We are all different. Forget about others and focus on fulfilling your own life dreams.

5. Take action now.

After I drew up a career plan for myself, I still lacked the courage to follow my plan. I wasted a lot of time because I was afraid that I would fail and I did not have to courage to start. So I continued to push things off.

It’s funny how so many people seem to think that tomorrow is better than today for getting things done. We put off those things that are important to us and we lie to ourselves by saying that we will do them later.

Whatever you need to do, do it now! Today is the tomorrow you planned for yesterday, so start today.

My chat with Samara that day was a wake up call. I promised myself that day that I would not waste any more precious moments of my life regretting. I have been able to do that and have discovered inner peace in the process.

So I urge you to do the same. Don’t waste any more time on regrets. Learn the lesson and move on. There’s still a lot of life in you. Go out there and live it!

Photo by Benson Kua

About Seyi Obasi

Seyi Obasi is the founder of The Realities of Life where she writes about how to create a life that's filled with purpose, love, happiness and success. If you enjoyed this article, you will also love her EBook: "The 47 Habits That Prevent You From Ever Being Successful", which you can download for free from her website.

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  • Josh

    thanks for the great post 🙂

  • growthguided

    What are some tips you have to relieving people from ‘comparison’ in point 4?

    How did you manage to remove yourself from this automatic thinking?

  • Erika

    Love the article! I do wish, however, that there were more “how to’s” along with your suggestions. Most of us know that changing these things would be beneficial, but get stuck on the HOW part. Any follow up on how you implemented these suggestions would be terrific! 🙂

  • Discouraged

    All these are great, but I’ve found that anything I do (or don’t do lately) brings me back to a final thought of ‘what’s the point?, we’re all going to die anyway, and in the end..who cares?’

  • Sylvia Gautier

    Thanks for sharing. I would like to add another idea to the discussion. To live with no regrets, I always tell myself that I have made the best decision at the time, based on the information I had and on my intuition.

  • iamthisage

    What helps me to not compare myself with others is to know that I’m usually comparing my insides to their outsides which is definitely an unfair comparison to begin with. Regardless of how other people present themselves publicly, I’m ultimately responsible for living my life with integrity, so I have to pay attention to what I’m doing.

  • Nick Egglington

    Fantastic article. I recently learnt to understand the several elements of awareness and acceptance you suggest. Since I have taken responsibility for my life, things have only been improving and getting better everyday. It really has been about my mindset and my ability to be grateful for everything that happens in my life.

  • Seyi Obasi

    Absolutely. When we compare ourselves with others, we do not see the full picture. we have no idea what they are struggling with so this is usually a losided comparison and not fair to ourselves. We just need to pay attention to being better everyday

  • Seyi Obasi

    Hello Nick, changing our mindsets is definitely key in having an improved life. Glad to hear your are improving everyday and all the best to you

  • Seyi Obasi

    That’s correct. There is usually no need beating yourself up once you know you didthe best you could with the information you had. I do the same too.

  • Seyi Obasi

    I can understand how you feel. I used to feel the same way. Even though we will all die one day, life still has a purpose. We are all here to do something unique. Just reach into yourself to get and find out what makes you unique and what your purpose is. What are you good at? What do you love doing? Once you fond that out, life suddenly becomes brighter and you will be glad to eb alive. Life is a gift. Unwrap it and live it. I am hooting for you.

  • Seyi Obasi

    Hello Erika, I would love to do a follow up on this. I agree that the ‘how’ is so important. A lot of times it involves drawing up a plan and ensuring we stick to it every single day. I will work on a gfollow up post. In the meantime, if you could download my free ebook from my site, it would also be helpful in the meantime

  • Seyi Obasi

    The first thing that shocked me out of this was that a couple I admired and
    believed had a perfect marriage, did get a divorce. When I inquired, I found
    out that they were only putting up a show all along. In fact my marriage which
    appeared so troubled now seemed really good when compared to theirs.

    People have different challenges that we don’t know about. If we were in their shoes, our lives may still be challenging. Samara in the article is an example. So impractical terms, I wrote down everything in my life that I am grateful for and pasted it somewhere visible. And everyday, I found something to add to this list. This boosted my confidence in my good fortune.

    And yes, the inclination to compare myself with others didn’t disappear overnight. But everytime it came, I reminded myself of why I was special and unique and of all the things that I am grateful about.

    And the few times that I still have the opportunity to compare myself with others, it gets easier to pull myself from doing it. Yes, there will always be people who are richer or happier or prettier than me. But they don’t have my job or my kids, or my hobbies or my faith or my ability to write etc. these things make me special. And these are the things I choose to pay attention to.
    Hope this helps.

  • Seyi Obasi

    Thanks Josh. Glad you like it

  • Jules Youngberg

    I have struggled with pretty much all of those things you mentioned and have slowly learned those same lessons. A big one for me was comparing myself to others. Everything seemed to be easier for everyone else until I stopped comparing myself like that. Thank you for the insightful reminder that every moment is a gift and should not be taken for granted.

  • lv2terp

    GREAT post!! Love your learned lessons/advice! Inspiring message, thank you! 🙂

  • Jeevan/Mirthu/Gupt

    This is an inspiring story…Thank you for sharing! By the way…how did things turned out for Samara’s daughter & your marriage; if you don’t mind me asking??

  • Great article! It’s just sooooo easy to blame others… but we have to charge and take responsibility of our lives….Thank you for this great reminder.

  • Nikki

    I’m happy yall found happiness or whatever, but for me, life sucks more balls than a $2 hooker. I don’t even wish I was dead, I’m past that. I wish I didn’t exist and that I wasn’t even born in the first place. But whatever, to each his own.

  • Hi Nikki,

    I just saw your comment and my heart breaks for you. If you feel like sharing, what’s going on? I don’t know if I can help at all, but I would love to try…


  • pryingmimi

    I can not explain how much I enjoyed this story! Samara and your story are reminder to stay sweet and positive 🙂 Thank you for these kind words

  • noritha

    Hi Seyi…
    Thanks for a very beautiful post!!! I do love it!
    I just wanna share mine, since this post remind me of my just ‘past’ situation.
    I made a mistake by resigning from my job, where I want to change my career path, then surprisingly my boyfriend left me.. it was like boom!!! just happened! Lost two important things in your life in one second.
    It took two months crying almost every night, and did the same thing just like you did, blaming everyone, comparing my self to others and getting down.
    But I was aware, there’s more to life than only regretting. So, the first thing I did, is came closer to God, whatever your religion is, please ask for God for help, bcoz He is the only one that can help you, stand besides you when others not, and giving his hand to wash your tears. This is really really helping!!!
    Then when it come to the wisdom, I aware that we always can start our new life with grateful, confidence, full of hope and love…
    And after all the crystal clear, God is preparing us with a new life, with no fake and more meaningful life for ourselves and for others.
    Guess what, I write this with smiling face and with peace because on this Monday I will sign my new job contract letter…
    For those who feel hurt now…Please be patient! Everything’s great will come to you in the right time…I pray for all of us for Happiness and Peace..

    With millions of Love,

  • Anika

    Thank you Seyi, these are 5 very valuable things to do in order to live your live fully!

  • y3shuA imMANu3l

    “For to all that covet and desire the kingdom of God, is the old man made of Nature, to be put off” and laid down ; yea, to be buried in an absolute abnegation and oblivion, as well of himself as of all those things which he hath, possesseth, studieth, knoweth, learneth ; and the new man is to be put on, which is created according to God, where ” there is neither Jew nor Greek, neither male nor female, neither bond nor free, but the new creature.”
    I say, the new creature is required to possess the kingdom of God, wherein there is nothing left of the old.”

  • y3shuA imMANu3l

    The Spirit is being tested. ⏳

    By a very small request. Simple. #13+______