Monday, January 24, 2011

5 Questions with Marc Muchnick, author of No More Regrets


1.     How'd the book come about?
No More Regrets! came about as a result of a conversation with one of my best friends from college just six months before his untimely death.  Gary, who had Stage 4 cancer and was going through a brutal regimen of chemotherapy at the time, out of the blue asked me, “What’s your biggest regret?” The question sparked an intense conversation about how life is short and sometimes you don’t realize that until it’s too late.  Essentially, our regrets go with us to the grave.  Gary asked me to promise him that going forward I would live my life with no more regrets, and part of my commitment to doing that was to write this book so I could share Gary’s message with others.

2.     What's the main message of it?
The main premise of No More Regrets! is that while most of us have regrets, there is no time like the present to start living life without any more of them.  Regrets are the things we do that we wish we hadn’t done and the things we fail to do that we wish we had done, both of which result in unhappiness, disappointment, or remorse.  Thus, to avoid having regrets in the future, we need to ask ourselves two very important questions as a routine part of our decision-making process:
·      Will I have regrets if I do it (or don’t do it)?
·      Will I avoid having regrets if I do it (or don’t do it)?
I provide 30 practical ways in this book for banishing regret from our lives altogether.

.    Why do people live with regret?
Most people live with regret because they can’t find a way to forgive themselves. Essentially they become prisoners to their regret, which takes a lot of energy and can be both stressful and depressing.  If we want to free ourselves from the chains of regret, we must move on from the past because we can’t change what’s already happened.  Instead we need to focus on what we have the power to change today as well as in the future.

4.     What's the biggest regret people have on their deathbed, and how can it be avoided?
My research shows that there are some common themes to regret:
·      We get stuck in ruts.
·      We take some things or people in our lives for granted.
·      We sacrifice our authenticity.
·      We stop growing, learning, and evolving.
·      We become overly self-absorbed, insensitive, and judgmental.
As people get older, especially as they near the end of life, our regrets tend to be more about the things we haven’t done but wish we had done.  Some examples include spending more time with family, taking more vacations, following a lifelong dream or passion, and being more authentic.  One thing is for sure, you don’t hear too many people in their final days of life say that they wished they could have worked harder or missed fewer days at work.

5.     Do you have any regrets?
Of course, but I’m trying not to have any more of them!  The year I missed my missed my kids’ first day of school is one of my biggest regrets. Every year prior to that it was a family tradition for my wife and I to make the kids a big breakfast and take pictures of them in their “first day” clothes. It was one of those times where work just got in the way – perhaps it couldn’t be helped but I sure felt disappointed. Not only had I let my kids down, but I had let myself down. Since then I’ve tried to plan ahead so that I can avoid repeating this scenario. I realize I can’t be there for everything in my kids’ lives, but I don’t want to sell my soul to my job either.

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