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I’ve recently been inspired by Scott Berkun’s book The Myths of Innovation. In particular, the quote at location 3278 on the Kindle Ebook that reads:

“Once a week, imagine being on your deathbed (it can be fun: think Mexican Day of the Dead). Ask yourself: what will I regret not having done if I knew I was going to die today? Make a list and get to work.”

Additionally, I’ve always been inspired by Buster Benson’s dedication to self-reflection and transparency. In particular, Buster’s Codex Vitae.

Note: With full apologies to Buster, I’m inspired to create my own list of beliefs as well.

I’ve recently decided to marry the two of these ideas (the general idea behind Scott’s quote and Buster’s display of transparency on Github) into a public list of post mortem “regrets.” The idea being, of course, that I won’t regret these things if I take action.

I’ve also decided that I want to update this list as often as I see fit, but with the goal of not having this document become too unwieldy. Review will consist of adding and removing items to this list, and I’ll be giving myself a friendly reminder to re-read and update on a regular basis.


If I die today, I’ll most likely regret that I have not done the following (mostly) concrete things:

Note: my aim for this list is to preemptively enumerate dying regrets, not a list of tasks or goals that should live in a to-do list.

  • Practicing Beginner's Mind within every endeavor of my life
  • Being kinder, more patient, more empathetic and more loving
  • Being more daring in daily life
  • Taking more risks and embracing more challenges
  • Carrying on with a meditation practice
  • Living outside of the USA
  • Learning conversational Japanese
  • Reminding myself, with regularity, that someday me and everyone I know will eventually die.
  • Having worked harder to maintain my friendships over time
  • Drinking less
  • Caring less about what people think of me
  • Working harder every day
  • Becoming known for the work that I produce
  • Having spoken at a design conference
  • Having personally made something that people use on a regular basis
  • Starting my own company
  • Writing about the work that I do with regularity
  • Travelling to all 7+ continents
  • Visitng every US state, at least once
  • Taking more time off of work
  • Learning the basics of scuba diving
  • Staying lower on my learning curve, and continuously focusing on reinvention