3 Questions to Ask on Your Deathbed (and Bad Habits)

Let’s be honest.

We don’t really think about our deathbed, do we?

Who has time for that, right?

Death can knock on our door at any point without warning.

But in our mind, it’s really one of those things that aren’t going to happen… just yet.

So we spend our day like we’d live forever.

Then when we are given a chance to think about our deathbed and spend a few minutes answering profound questions below, we can’t help but mull over the small choices we make every day.

When Iman Aghay went through a near-death experience at 27 (and today’s post is based on his TED Talk), he was confronted with 3 questions when he thought he might be spending the last few minutes of his life with his wife.

Here are 3 questions he asked himself on his (near) deathbed.

(If you don’t have time to read on, I recommend you watch his TED Talk on the bottom of the post.)

Q1 – What would I Regret if I Died Today

According to The Top Five Regrets of The Dying written by a palliative carer, Bronnie Ware, below are the top 5 of regrets of dying people.

  1. I wish I had lived the life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
  2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
  3. I wish I had expressed my feelings.
  4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
  5. I wish I had let myself be happier.

She first shared them in 2009.

Here’s what Wikipedia says about the latest study on the same subject:

A 2018 study reached similar conclusions, finding that people were more likely to express “ideal-related regrets”, such as failing to follow their dreams and live up to their full potential.

This reminds me of what David Goggins said in one of his interviews.

Let me paraphrase his message the best way I can below.

Let’s say you believe in God, the Universe or any Spiritual Being of your choice.

After your lifetime here on Earth, you cross over to the other side and meet the Creator.

He shows you a chart indicating how high you could’ve reached: your full potential; the plan he had for you from the day you were born.

Next, he shows you another chart indicating how little you’ve actually achieved.

You had ONE opportunity to live up to your full potential and was fully equipped to do so.

The chart shows you blew it.


So, what would you regret most if you died today knowing full well you had every opportunity to achieve what you wanted?

Q2 – What did I Make of My Life?

As Iman Aghay said, would you be happy with what you’re going to leave behind if you died today?

It’s a profound question as well as unsettling.

A lady I had met a long time ago once told me she always tidies up her work desk before she leaves her office… as if it’s her last day.

Because it could be, she said, really her last day.

As I write this, I’m thinking about my bedroom, my bathroom, kitchen and workspace.

If I’m drop dead now (ha), watching over the event unfold thereafter, I’d die of embarrassment one more time!

Q3 – What would I Change If I Survived the Deathbed Today

Phew… the most hopeful question of all.

Because it gives us a chance to put things right, right?

By now, you’ve probably thought about a few things in your life that you know you can do better.

The premise of this TED Talk is that many of the regrets that 9 out of 10 people have on their deathbed are caused by small daily choices that add up to regret causing bad habits.

Nobody has regrets below:

I wish I had spent more time on social media.

I wish I had bought more stuff.

I wish I had watched more TV.

Apparently, average adults watch 5 hours of TV every day.

Although no one will have parting words, “I wish I had watched more TV”, on our deathbed, that’s how we spend the majority of our day.

You may feel one small act cannot possibly represent your whole life.

It’s inconceivable to think that way.

Let’s look back on your day.

Remember all the things you did the previous day?

Now, multiply that by 365.

Fast forward a year.

Do you like what you see: the person you’ve become and the life you’re living?

Because somewhere along the way, possibly without warning (and hopefully in the far distant future), we’ll likely end up on our deathbed doing what we did the previous day over and over…

If you don’t like what you see, what one bad habit do you think will cause you the biggest regret if you died tonight?

Start with dumping that one.

I got really passionate about his message and couldn’t wait to share it with you.

I don’t think I did justice to it with this rather hasty post.

Thoroughly recommend you watch below and let me know what you think.

Watch for Inspiration: Nothing to Regret

Nothing to Regret - small bad habits cause lifelong regrets | Iman Aghay | TEDxStanleyPark

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