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5 Regrets of The Dying Summary: A Must-Read Book

Having regrets about life on one’s deathbed isn’t a good thing. No one wants to experience such. But, it might be inevitable if we don’t start fixing our lives before old age.

This 5 Regrets of The Dying summary reveals common regrets people have on their deathbed. It is a book written to inspire us to live fulfilled lives, a life of no regrets.

The Top Five Regrets of The Dying is a book written by Bronnie Ware. She shared her experiences after many years working as a palliative care nurse. It is not a business book. Instead, it’s a life book.

Bronnie Ware felt her dying patients’ regrets during their last moments. Even though all her patients found peace before their demise, Ware wants to use her experiences working with dying patients to charge everyone who cares to listen to avoid mistakes that may lead to similar regrets.

Here are the Top Five Regrets of The Dying, a life book. Read and be inspired to live a fulfilled life. Learn from the regrets of the dying!

Top Five Regrets of The Dying: How It All Started

Life is a journey. And just like every journey, we all have the freedom to decide our direction in life’s journey. For instance, if you dream of becoming a medical doctor, you must follow a clear path.

In this case, you must attend medical school and study hard to become a doctor. If you don’t, you may have regrets at old age. You’ll feel like you have failed in life. You’ll feel you have lived an unfulfilled life. It might not be a dream of becoming a medical doctor, but something else.

Our final destination is death. We will all die one day. I know this is a hard pill to swallow. I know it seems harsh. But that is the simple truth. Whether you achieve your dreams or not, the reality is that death awaits everyone.

But the question is, do you want to live an unfulfilled life and have regrets on your deathbed? Or do you want to achieve all or most of your dreams and have no regrets on your deathbed? The latter should be everyone’s primary goal.

What inspired Bronnie Ware to write this book?

Ware started looking for a job with a heart after several years of unfulfilling work. She had no experience but was able to land a palliative care job, which transformed her life.

As a palliative care professional, Ware’s job involved providing end-of-life care to patients and their families. She worked with hundreds of dying patients and learned much from this experience.

The years spent with dying patients humbled and taught Bronnie Ware essential life lessons, which she was glad to share with her audience and those who care to listen. However, what was most inspiring were the regrets expressed to her by the dying.

Many of her patients expressed regrets over how they lived their lives. They felt they didn’t accomplish much in life.

Bronnie’s past has been diverse and colorful, but her experience with the dying shaped her. The lesson she picked up from caring for dying patients was that people will die with peace of mind if they make the right choices in life before old age.

She expressed how significant the regrets were and showed why people must work towards addressing the issues now that they have time.

Her book, “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying,” gives us hope for a better world. It’s a story of her honest and inspiring journey, which will give you a reason to re-examine your life and make the needed adjustments to avoid regrets in old age. It’s a book that will change your life.

The Top Five Regrets of The Dying From The Book 

Here is a summary of the book, “Top 5 Regrets of the Dying.” We provided a detailed overview of the book, lessons learned, and quotes from each chapter. Read on!

1: “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”

This chapter focused on the importance of genuineness. It emphasizes why you should live a life aligned with your dreams, values, and desires. In the book, Bronnie Ware explained that many people suppress their aspirations to please others.

They accept and do whatever others tell them to do because they want to please others, even if achieving that thing would make them unfulfilled in life.

The “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me” is the most common regret people have on their deathbed. Ware explained how people denied themselves happiness, forgetting that a time will come when they must review how much of their dreams they have achieved.

The painful part is most people don’t even achieve half of their dreams. They have spent their life pursuing goals that make them look good in the eyes of the people around them, neglecting their goals.

Unfortunately, on their deathbed, you find them expressing regret for failure of not achieving their dreams. Nothing can be more painful and dissatisfying than this.

Here is an example to help you understand this chapter.

Imagine a medical doctor who loves football but couldn’t pursue his dream because his family and friends persuaded him to pursue a medical career. On his deathbed, he starts regretting. He regrets spending his entire life being a medical doctor when he could have played football.

In most cases, peer pressure or pressure from family members may have played a role. In most instances, some parents can even threaten to withdraw support for their children if they fail to study a specific course in school.

It might not be football. It might be music, dance, or something else. You might have wanted to be a sailor but were forced to do something else to please others. You cared about what people would say when you should have cared more about what makes you happy.

The moral lesson is for us to be true to ourselves. Remember, on your deathbed, the people you thought cared about your career or how you lived your life won’t come around to offer encouragement when you start regretting.

You have an opportunity to correct things now. There is an opportunity to do the right thing and avoid regrets in the future or on your deathbed, like Bronnie Ware’s patients. Time doesn’t wait for anyone. Use your time well before it’s too late.

Live for you. Block out noise from relatives, friends, neighbors, and colleagues, questioning your decisions in life. Do things that please you so you won’t have regrets in old age.

A Handy Quote: The only way we can find peace within is to be true to our own calling, our dream and own nature.”

2: I wish I hadn’t worked so hard: 

In this chapter, Ware discussed some of her patients’ regrets after working so hard and spending little or no time with their children, spouses, and relatives. They prioritized work over experiences and personal relationships with the people around them.

Ware shared stories of how most of her patients regret missing precious moments with families, friends, and everyone around them. They regret spending most of their time working.

No one is saying working hard is a bad thing. With the bills rising now and then, one has to work hard to be financially stable and meet the family’s financial needs.

The challenge is dedicating more time to your work and neglecting the people around you. Most people may even use their job as the reason they are not spending enough time with their partner or children, only to regret it on their deathbed.

The moral lesson from this chapter is for people to balance work and their personal lives. And prioritize what matters the most to you.

Most of us spend time working because we want to purchase expensive things or live a life of luxury. It is okay to want the best things in life, but at what expense?

If your job or business is taking far too much time from you, it’s time to stop and rethink. Ask yourself, is it worth it? Remember, the luxury car you’re buying will become old-school one day. Even the memory you created with the luxury cars will become a thing of the past.

The memories you created with your children, partner, friends, and relatives will remain with you forever. You won’t have regrets as some of Ware’s patients did.

Bronnie Ware claimed most of her patients who expressed regret about working so hard were males. She claimed most patients told her they missed their partner’s companion and children’s youth. They regretted dedicating more time to their career and not spending enough time with the people around them.

Now, they are on their deathbed and have a few weeks to live, clearly not enough time to compensate for the lost time.

A Handy Tip: If you can simplify your lifestyle and make conscious choices, you may discover that you don’t need the income you thought you needed. You might even be more content with what you have.

Another thing you need to do is to create more space in your life. When you do, you’ll discover how happier you’ll become. You’ll even find better opportunities that suit your lifestyle and give you enough freedom to spend quality time with your family.

A Handy Quote: “How we prioritize our energy and time determines the quality of our relationships, experiences, and lives. 

3: “I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.”

In this chapter, you’ll learn how vital it is to be open and willing to express your emotions. You have no reason to suppress your feelings or keep quiet because you don’t want to hurt someone or want peace.

Firstly, you need to ask yourself this. Have you been at peace since you suppressed your feelings about someone or a situation? If not, then why haven’t you expressed yourself?

Remember this: if you keep suppressing your feelings today, you won’t only lose your peace. It could be one of the regrets that could make you look like a failure.

Bronnie Ware even explained that suppressing feelings can lead to bitterness, resentment, and broken relationships. She also explained that the anger and resentment developed due to the suppressed emotions can create room for illnesses.

The moral lesson learned from this chapter is obvious: people should always express their feelings no matter what happens.

For instance, if you’re no longer in love with your partner, let the person know how you feel. It is okay to fall out of love. That doesn’t make you a bad person. It is wrong to pretend to love someone only to wish you had opened up to them sooner.

Be open to people, and communicate your feelings to them. If you like someone, tell them you love them. And if you don’t, please do the same. If you hurt someone or did something others didn’t know you did and want to keep it a secret, you’re making a mistake you’ll regret later in life.

Just pour out your feelings to the person. Forget about what the person or others would say or how much it would affect your relationship with that person. If they decide to eventually leave you because of the feelings you poured out to them, let them go.

At least you have clarified your thoughts and cleared your feelings. You’re no longer holding any secrets or feelings you might eventually regret on the deathbed.

Please don’t feel bad when people leave you because you told them your feelings. If they go, it is because the friendship was never meant to be. If they stay, then the bond will be stronger than it was.

A Handy Quote: “Being vulnerable and truthful about our emotions and experiences is what connects us to others, and allows us to experience true intimacy.”

4: I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends:

In this chapter, the author explains most of her patients’ regrets about not keeping in touch with their friends for many years. Most of the patients prioritized their careers and families over their friends.

Some shut their friends out of their lives completely. They failed to maintain the relationship they once shared with friends who meant the world to them.

There are many things people can learn from this chapter of the book about friendship. Some friendships are gifts from above. They are rare to find, so when you have them, hold them tight. Keep nurturing the friendship by creating time for your friends and keeping in touch.

Friends are essential in life. It is hard to find someone who claims they haven’t had any friends growing up. Most friends stick around for a lifetime. But if they keep showing interest and you ignore them, it is only a matter of time before they finally disappear from your life.

So, if you have genuine friends, keep in touch with them. You don’t have to live in the same state, area, country, or continent to stay in touch with your friends. Technology has made it easier to communicate with people from around the world.

In addition, you can communicate via diverse channels. So, you don’t have any reason to neglect your friends. If you truly value them, keep the communication open. But that doesn’t mean you have to force yourself on people.

Most of your childhood friends may have moved on. You don’t need to force yourself on them if that’s the case. However, you can check up on them occasionally to be at peace with yourself.

A Handy Quote: Friendships are like gardens; they require regular care, love, and attention to flourish. 

5: I wish that I had let myself be happier: 

This is the book’s final chapter, and it’s a common regret. It shows that many people don’t realize happiness is a choice until the end. Bronnie Ware explained that many people trap themselves in a pattern of self-imposed limitations and negative thinking, preventing them from experiencing contentment and joy.

Many people are stuck in their old habits and patterns. The fear of changing their lives has kept them stuck in one spot. They pretend to be happy and content when, deep down, they aren’t.

This chapter tells us we can decide whether to be happy or sad. You can live a happy life even if the people around you aren’t encouraging it.

You don’t need to pretend to anyone that you’re happy when the reverse happens. Be genuinely happy. Even if most of the people around you aren’t, it’s only a matter of time before they get infected by your happiness.

A Handy Quote: “Happiness is a choice, and everyone must consciously and actively choose it on a daily basis.”


The “Top five regrets of the dying” is a must-read book. It is a book that shapes the mind and encourages people to live in a way they won’t regret.

Bronnie Ware shared the regrets of people she cared for on their deathbeds so that readers can learn and start taking steps to avoid such regrets.

You can change your life with this book. It will help you re-examine how you’re living your life and give you the mental awareness to make proper changes.


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Bronnie Ware
Bronnie Ware
Welcome, I am Bronnie Ware. Are you new to this blog or already part of the community? All the same, welcome to this community. Here, you’ll learn, be inspired, motivated, and commit more to life. You’ll have all the information and tools you need to achieve your goals in life. Once again, you’re welcome to this amazing community. I can’t wait to share my knowledge and inspire you to be a better you.

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