President Dieter F. Uchtdorf spoke recently about regrets and identified these three common life regrets:
I Wish I Had Spent More Time with the People I Love
I Wish I Had Lived Up to My Potential
I Wish I Had Let Myself Be Happier
I agree with the quote from Mark Twain above, to some extent. I can already see that it I will be disappointed at the end of my life if I refuse to accept the challenges to grow that I am offered along the way. I need to say 'yes!' to life wherever I can and should.
I also know that it can lead to a lot of heartache and regret if you 'throw off the bowlines' to sail away from what are actually the best parts of your life. My father sailed away from his family to follow sirens that I think brought no lasting peace to him at the end. He perhaps carried all three of these regrets.
The truth is that exploring and discovering our best potential might usually and best occur in the quiet places of our homes, or in the unlit corners of the world, rather than on the high seas, where the forward movement of the ship may disguise our own standing still. That's a decision we each have to make.
The best guideline I can think of as to how I should make my choices is to make them unselfishly. I cannot imagine Mother Theresa or Spencer W. Kimball, or our Saviour having much to regret at their time of death. I believe that realizing our true potential is more about helping others than anything else. And I think that is the way to be truly happy.