A Life Well Lived Has No Emotional Or Financial Regrets


At a recent social evening, the discussion turned to the long hours one of the folks at the party put in at his job. Questions ranged from: why do this, does your employer care, will you ever be thanked for all the extra hours, did anyone ever wish they’d worked more on their deathbed?  As I listened, I recognized many of the questions may have been relevant to the person writing this blog.

Like most of what I think are my enlightened thoughts, it did not come to me until the following day. It occurred to me that the answer to whether we should work the long hours, and if it was ultimately rewarding, was not the right question. The right question is: are you working toward what is important to you personally? My guess is that many upon their deathbed did not give a thought about how many hours they worked. But rather did they achieve anything that truly mattered to them? 

I write on top of the hours I put in at the office.  I don’t do it because I have to; I do it because I want to. I’ll rattle out my thoughts and share them for a number of reasons, one being: I’m paid to answer questions. The questions can be very diverse. In order for me to have an intelligent response, I have to do two things: read and write.  I constantly consume a wide variety of information, then I try and put it into a sensible order in my brain. So hopefully I can share it intelligently when appropriate. I’ll often write what I am thinking to understand it better and also so I have a reference I can look back on. A blog seems a sensible thing for me. I see these extra hours as time well spent - no regrets. So do we squander our time when we work extra hours?

Maybe, if they don’t add value to your life in a meaningful way. I’m reminded of the quote:

If you just work on stuff that you like and are passionate about, you don’t have to have a master plan with how things will play out.
— Mark Zuckerberg

I know, pretty easy for a multi-billionaire to say. But I doubt he will have regrets about any of the long hours he put in getting there. And he hasn’t stopped working.

Passion and enthusiasm are contagious. So are boredom and apathy. This is our life - we get to make the choices. If in doubt, add more passion, take away the room for apathy. See how this starts to change your life. If I get the opportunity to look back on my life, and if I see a life filled with passion, my regrets will be very few.

Investing is just like this. There can be a million reasons that get in the way of investing. Ultimately, the less we invest or the later we start, the more likely we will have regrets.  A life well lived has no emotional or financial regrets.