Regrets? What would you do differently

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Wayne

BCUK Welfare Officer
Mod
Dec 7, 2003
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I have been asked to give a lecture on life lessons.

Sort of graduation speech type thing.

So my question is what in life do you most regret? If you were a teenager again what would you do differently.

There is a vast amount of collective wisdom on here. Successful salesman, business leaders, medics acedemics, teachers, nurses all walks of life

We should be able to come up with a list of 5 key lessons in life.

Don’t eat yellow snow isn’t going to be on the list.
 

Toddy

Mod
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Jan 21, 2005
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Study, find a focus and pursue it. It's one rock solid stepping stone to whatever you want to do. Even if you never use it in your career, it's a whole set of skills learned.

I have a butterfly mind. I'm intelligent, but harnessing that, tied in with interminable creativity is a right royal pain in the backside :oops:
I still find it incredibly difficult to keep to one task at a time.

M
 

santaman2000

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Jan 15, 2011
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There are loads of things I wish I'd done, things I wish I'd tried, and things I wish I'd known. I wish those things because i'm still curious and as adventurous as my health (age) allows. That said, if I'd done anything differently then my current life: my friends, my accomplishments, my memories would all be different too. So what would do differently? Not much. I'd probably tell my loved ones "I love you" more often.
 
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Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
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Lancashire
Toddy had it summed up in one sentence for me.

My longer version is my reflections on my life. Whilst I've so much to be grateful for, the greatest is my young son and partner, my regrets have defined me in many ways.

I was lazy but clever at school. GCSE exams at school was too easy. I didn't need to work so I didn't. It came easy and I got good grades if a little below average for a grammar school. A levels are harder so whilst I didn't struggle I still didn't work for them so failed to get the grades needed to study what I wanted to study for years. This leads to my first new bit of advice...

Don't be afraid to take a step back to find a new direction.

In my case I should have taken a year out and re-book my a levels. Doing that I'd be motivated to work for something. But I didn't because it felt like failing. I was the bright one with university expected from primary school.

So I rolled the dice and took the first course offer I got, a very difficult course but one that had no future. Mining in this country? We're talking metal mining not quarrying and coal was as good as dead.

That led to no career direction, lots of focus and ultimately into a rut. Then redundancy and a low paid job. Not bad for someone with two degrees right!

So my greatest advice to school kids would be to find your interest in a career then study towards that. Work when you're younger to make it easier when older. Get a good career and life in many ways becomes your oyster.

If you don't then you might be lucky or might not. It's better to make your luck through hard work early on in your life. If you've not made a good grade by 30 it's hard to make it by 40 IME.

PS of anyone's got words of advice for someone in their 40s more that is something I need!

TL: DR
See Toddy's post, first sentence.
Study, find a focus and pursue it.
 
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Stew

Bushcrafter through and through
Nov 29, 2003
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There are many things I regret but really most are only notable in hindsight. I try not to live by what may have beens though - if I had changed some of teh negatives, some of the positives may not have worked in the same way! I could easily go for 'study harder' but if I had then I likely wouldn't have met my wife, etc.

In the words of Morpheus:
"I remember that I am here not because of the path that lies before me.. but because of the path that lies behind me!"
 

Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
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One thing about me is my completely useless ability to remember every seriously embarrassing moment of my life and think about them late at night while trying to sleep. I still do that but with age comes acceptance.

I am what I am. The product of successes and failures. Accept both and learn from both. You can't change the past but the future... Well moving on from your past failures can only be positive right?

Learn from every experience. Lifelong learning is a tool for life.
 

Chainsaw

Native
Jul 23, 2007
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I'm with Stew on this, I am the man I am today due to what has gone before.

I have no regrets, everything I have not done or bad thing that has happened to me has had a positive effect on me or I have come to accept and move on. From my long term girlfriend breaking my heart when I was 19 (and my mates trying to help by setting me up on a blind date with my now wife of 25 years) to my alcoholic father walking out on my mum and leaving her with debt and 3 kids under 16 to raise on a secretaries wage which taught me responsibility, hard work and love.

Don't make it about regrets, make it about independence, resilience and confidence, that's what kids need help with these days.

Good luck!
Alan
 
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oldtimer

Full Member
How long have you got?

I wish I had a wipe facility in my brain that would help me forget all the embarrassing moments, poor decisions and their results. Personally I'd rather concentrate on all the things that have gone right because, on balance the good thing far outweigh the bad.

It has been very interesting watching my to sons grow up with two very different attitudes to life. Elder son has always known what he wanted to do in life and pursued the dream he started at the age of eight with success. Younger son was always very clear about what he did not want to do and took a long time settling on a free-wheeling life-style. Both are happy with their lives and both have achieved independence and self respect.

My one regret is that I was too intent on living up to others' expectation of me and listened to those who told me why I could not do things. As a result, I failed to do what I wanted and what was in my own best interests. I made far-reaching life decisions far too early and wish I had been more like younger son. I caught up in the end coming late to further education. Life has taught me to defer decisions pending fuller understanding, but not to defer decisions indefinitely. Mistakes are inevitable and have to be lived with.

Our present is shaped by our past decisions on the alternatives we are presented with.

Je ne regrete rien!
 
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Macaroon

A bemused & bewildered
Jan 5, 2013
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Whilst human nature and what motivates humans remains broadly the same as it was for most of us, the world that youngsters today will inhabit is a far different place to the one I grew up in. The rate of change is dizzying and the ability to comprehend a broad spectrum of what's going on can be severly compromised by this rapid rate of progress, not to mention the complexity of it all. I fear the age of the polymath is gone and that of the ultra specialist is upon us in many areas of life. Science and technology are at the point already where if you don't have a very good grasp of what I'd consider fairly advanced maths you can't even discuss a lot of it as maths is the only language capable of describing such complexities as we now live with.

I agree with what Stew posted above, regrets are not a good way to go. My advice, when asked for by the younger family members, is that what you learn is not so important as teaching yourself to learn; that learning in and of itself is a skill we will all need to develop as a much more on-going one than most people seem to treat it. There used to be an old saying, ' you can't teach an old dog new tricks', and I suppose what I'm saying is
don't teach the dog any tricks, teach it to learn in a positive and ongoing manner and it'll be capable forever of learning and adapting to whatever comes it's way.

Sorry if this is a bit of a ramble, I have a shocking man flu' and can't quite marshal my thoughts :inpain:
 

Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
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Lancashire
Regrets are just hindsight on what you did wrong. You're the product of your successes and mistakes. Just because you your mistake made you, that mistake prevented in others will make what they become.

If you had made a different decision at 16 then you probably won't be where you are now but quite possibly you could be in a better place.

To say you don't regret your decisions because you're with someone is fair enough but a deviation earlier in life and you could have as good a relationship with someone else, perhaps better. What you're really saying is you're happy where you are. That's a good place to be but you just don't know if you could have been happier.

At least passing your experiences on could allow the next generation to make better decisions. It could work out or make things worse. Nobody can tell but I believe it's better to try and help if you're doing it altruistically.
 

Tengu

Full Member
Jan 10, 2006
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I should have gone to college and Uni when younger.

But I was far too shy and I dont think that would have worked as well as it is now.

Studying hard is a cliche but it does improve...and its fun.

College and Uni days are the happiest of your life.
 

Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
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Lancashire
I think as you get older university work becomes less of a chore and more a fun activity.

I love learning new things and at university I enjoyed my time a lot. However I don't like proving what I've learnt which kind of defeats the object of university degree courses.

Now as a mature individual I am not learning so much and long for the university education again. Degree work would be fun not a chore. At work in happiest when I'm doing the kind of work you'd do on a university degree. By they I mean writing up reports, trest data, etc. It's fun now.

That's why I think university education is wasted on the young. I now think all undergraduates should have at least a few years under their belt in a job before getting a place at university.
 
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santaman2000

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Jan 15, 2011
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.....If you had made a different decision at 16 then you probably won't be where you are now but quite possibly you could be in a better place.

To say you don't regret your decisions because you're with someone is fair enough but a deviation earlier in life and you could have as good a relationship with someone else, perhaps better. What you're really saying is you're happy where you are. That's a good place to be but you just don't know if you could have been happier.....
I've thought about all that too. For me it's not so much about where I would be. As you said I might be even happier with somebody else or in a different place. No, for me it's more the thought that some of the people I'm with now (as a result of those past decisions and actions) might not even exist; such as my kids and grandkids. QUite simply, I just can'y bear the thought of a world without them; no matter how happy I might be anyway considering I'd never have known them. It's like a sci-fi delima about altered time-lines.
 

Damascus

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Dec 3, 2005
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I don't know what demographic you are talking to would help a little. My biggest regret in lots of ways, "Not listening to my parents" I have enjoyed my life and made mistakes and those mistakes have been part of my life, its what you make it.
As I approach sixty, my own children have grown up and my youngest daughter had said to me a while ago I wished Id listened to you advice about education and gone to Uni". This is it, my parents had the same conversation with me, get an education, whether you use, it thats your choice but when you are young, its the best time to get one, as an adult with a family its not so easy!
 
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Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
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My mum got an OU degree in the early days of it. While bringing up kids and working during term time. A real hero in my partner's eyes (she's a feminist). I respect her for it because it took a lot to do it. We weren't helping neither being young kids. I don't know how she managed the riot control and coursework. Seriously me and my sis were full on riot at times. It was the late 70s/early 80s so appropriate.

It's an unfortunate trait of developed countries like the UK that education in later generations has less interest. Hundred years ago education was to be aspired to. Kind of like with families in developing countries. Education was viewed as the only way out of poverty, hunger and despair.
 

daveO

Full Member
Jun 22, 2009
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South Wales
It's an unfortunate trait of developed countries like the UK that education in later generations has less interest. Hundred years ago education was to be aspired to. Kind of like with families in developing countries. Education was viewed as the only way out of poverty, hunger and despair.

I think it's a real failing in this country that people aren't made to keep learning throughout their lives. It seems ridiculous that you can leave school at 16 with very few qualifications and be left to coast through the rest of your life with no incentive to better yourself. Part of the problem is that we're so intent now with ramming knowledge down kids' throats at a young age and setting stressful exam goals that they can't wait to give up learning as soon as they can.

So my advice would be never stop learning and always question everything. We take accepted wisdom too readily and these days you can cross check any fact in seconds from your phone. There's no excuse for ignorance.
 
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daveO

Full Member
Jun 22, 2009
1,366
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South Wales
Study, find a focus and pursue it. It's one rock solid stepping stone to whatever you want to do. Even if you never use it in your career, it's a whole set of skills learned.

I have a butterfly mind. I'm intelligent, but harnessing that, tied in with interminable creativity is a right royal pain in the backside :oops:
I still find it incredibly difficult to keep to one task at a time.

M

I struggle with this as well. I've always got at least 4 books on the go at the same time, I end up with lots of internet tabs open at the same time as I flit between thoughts, I struggle to focus on one job and end up having to make a lot of lists to keep me on the right track with things. My wife sends me off to do something and finds me an hour later doing something totally unrelated because I got distracted by something that lead onto something else. I'm supposed to be cooking soup right now as it happens...
 
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Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
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Lancashire
In my school days I reckon I was the last generation to experience traditional school education with corporal punishment (it got banned two years into high school). Other aspects of my early years (called infants and lasted with years but now called reception and year 1) were very poor. Led me to lose interest in education.

No matter what you think about the school system of assessments there is one thing I'm certain about. That is education at school is on the whole a lot better than in my day.

They actively engage with kids not control them. Creativity is welcomed. In my day you learnt by strict methods. It was dull and a real chore. Everyone seemed to be taught the same thing at the pace of the average kid. Above or below that level you assist in one way or another.

Plus things went on that would result in jail time for teachers and loss of employment for head teachers. And I'm not talking about the banning of corporal punishment here. I'm talking about the regime being abusive by today's standards.
 

Janne

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Feb 10, 2016
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My advice would be: Study, study, study.
The more you learn in school, the wider variety of professions and educations is open for you.

Choose what you really want to do, not according to status and money.

Be as skilled in your chosen profession as you can, it does not matter what it is.

If you discover after a few years you do not enjoy what you do, change.

Take offered chances. Do not be afraid of moving, even across the World, as you can always move back.

For a teenager: Do not start a family until you are in late 20's or later.

R\Personal regrets? Not taking an offered post grad education.
Hesitating in moving when I first had the chance, and was single.

(Still regretting I did not buy that BMW CSL Batmobile only because it I did not like the colour...........)
 
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