It suggests that a survey conducted by British Airways with 2,000 US "Baby Boomers" (born between 1946 and 1961) suggested their two biggest regrets were that they:
* Worked Too Much
* Didn't Travel Enough
I am sure this is not just limited to Baby Boomers, but to Generation X, Generation Y, and will include Millennials when they enter the workforce. Sadly, this seems to be indicative of everyone.
The study further revealed that 63% of the women and 48% of the men had never even owned a passport. Additionally,
- 22% said they didn't travel due to work commitments
- 17% of male respondents said that working too much was their biggest regret
- 22% of women said not traveling enough was their biggest regret
- 8% of women respondents said working too much was a regret (though not necessarily their biggest)
- 79% of all respondents said knowing about family heritage inspires them to travel to certain destinations
- 26% of respondents said they've visited a certain place because of the desire to know more about their heritage
- 26% of respondents said losing contact with friends was their biggest regret
- 17% of men said not spending enough time with their children was their biggest regret
It is not enough to be saddened by this data. While BA was definitely skewing this to show how much travel enriches our lives, the truth is that we need to think carefully about how we spend our time if we want to avoid regret.
Regret is not just about feeling guilt for what we did. Far too often it is about sadness over what we didn't do - chances we didn't take in our lives, in our loves, in our careers and in our personal relationships. Many of the respondents probably felt the major reason for not doing these things was lack of money. However, I have found that this is rarely the case. Lack of money makes it convenient to not push ourselves hard enough to understand what makes us happy; to understand what we really want; to stay focused on overcoming fear and achieving the things that drive our personal happiness.
Humans are social creatures. We are MEANT to be together - to share our lives and our experience with each other. We are designed to love and feel compassion.
Don't let the percentages define you. Use your training to be brave enough to stand up for your life - the life you deserve - the happiness you have earned. The success you have worked for, defined by YOU, not by your boss. There is nothing wrong with work. On the contrary, career success can and should be part of a healthy sense of self and respect from peers. Work facilitates the other activities we do, and contributes to society's overall productivity. However, it is NOT a substitute for important personal relationships nor for finding and pursuing our individual happiness.
Most importantly, take the time to live fully and share fully with your loved ones.
There is nothing more precious than this.