There’s an interesting article of research from the Journal of Social Psychology, (Kowalski and McCord) May 2019 that you might find interesting. It’s an on-line survey of people over the age of 30 about what they regretted and what they might have done differently. I’ve taken the core results and put it into positive actions you may want to consider. Given the Covid-19 pandemic, I thought these insights were important.
Take a measure and assess how you might want to make adjustments:
- Relationships – Probably one of the most important aspects to your career and life’s journey is your relationship with others. Relations with others become more important as you move up the organization. If you can get those above you to pull you up, and those below you to push you up the organizational ladder, the faster you’ll move ahead. The most important relationship you will have is the choice of a significant other. The right mate is a precursor to a happy and satisfying life.
- Education – This item usually determines what you do, how far you go, along with financial wealth. Those that find their direction early usually have more time to reach their ultimate goal. Choosing the wrong major/college can hamper your direction, but not the outcome. Complete your education as soon as you can, then add advanced degrees, special certifications, professional designations, and so on.
- Listen to your inner voice rather than what others tell you about the path you should follow. Those that follow their passion usually excel at what they do. You can’t please everyone, but you must please yourself. Professionals who are content and immersed in their work outshine those who are unhappy or dissatisfied.
- Balance your time and energy between your life’s work and your life’s loves. Enjoy what’s around you, especially family and friends. Seek out non-work interests, like a hobby, community service, travel, sports and maybe live in different places to experience diverse cultures, locations or even languages.
- Be careful about money. Be more conservative with your finances and save for both the short and long term. Make the assumption you will retire early and plan your finances around it. Buy fewer cars, smaller houses, with less extravagances. Reduce the number of depreciating assets, and increase the number of appreciating assets. Prepare for the unexpected, like Covid-19.
Careers and life never move in a straight line. There are dips and impediments. Optimize the positives and minimize the negatives and you’ll come out a winner. Some mistakes are irreversible, while others can be fixed over time. When you experience a negative, put an action plan in place to reverse the misfortune.
Get over regrets quickly. Don’t look back and say, “I could have, should have….”. Focus on what you need to do next. Careers, as in life, are not on automatic. It takes planning, preparation, and execution. And yes, some luck.
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