The Rocking Chair Test

What is the rocking chair test?

I’ll give you a hint; it’s not a method for choosing the best rocking chair in the store. This test is a great tool to help when it comes time to making those difficult life changing decisions.

Decisions like

  • Should I quit my job and start my own business?
  • Should I follow my childhood dream and be an artist?
  • Should I pack up my car and drive cross-country?

We all come across questions like those during our lifetime. Often we just shut them out, choose the safe choice, and go with the familiar. The rocking chair test is a great way to ensure you can live your life without regret.

Next time you reach a fork in the road and are not sure which way to go, do this.

Imagine yourself as an old man or woman. I usually imagine myself in my 80’s. Then sit yourself down in your rocking chair, get comfortable and look back at your life. Look back to where you are right now struggling with the decision of what to do.

Then as an 80 year old, imagine

  • What if I never did this?
  • How would I feel?
  • Would my life be different?
  • Do I regret not taking the chance?

Continue with questions such as- is this something that would haunt me?  Would I always wonder what if? Do you find yourself with the feeling like something is missing? Is there a sadness or longing?

Then continue with some general questions, such as:  How do I feel about my choices and the life that I lived?  What are my regrets?  What do I wish I made time for?  What do I wish I had tried?

Get specific and really feel your way through the answers.

What if I stayed here in my hometown, would I regret not taking the chance to explore when I was younger?  What if I didn’t at least try to follow my dreams would it be something that I always looked back upon and wondered, what if?

In life, we find we are more disappointed by the things we didn’t do then the ones we did. So if you are feeling regret as an imaginary 80 year old, take it to heart. Use this tool as a shot of courage to go for something you really want.

Live your life fully and release regret.

Regret for things we did can be tempered by time;
it is regret for things we did not do that is inconsolable.

-Sydney Harris

That’s it, that’s the rocking chair test. Next time you are trying to decide which way to go, put the rocking chair test to work for you.

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