Regrets of the Dying and Lessons Learned on our Film Tour — Episode 5 — Man Vs. Debt Podcast


Note: This is a post from Adam Baker, founder of Man Vs. Debt.

In Episode 5 of the Man Vs. Debt Podcast, I get back in the swing of this podcasting thing by talking about “Regrets of the Dying” and the lessons I learned while filming our documentary.

I’ve been away from the podcasting mic for way too long! 🙂

I’m back this week with a more transparent and shorter podcasting format (recorded at our temporary house out here in San Francisco).

I knew my past (heavily structured) format was holding me back from getting back in front of the mic and sharing an update – so I took my own advice and just TOOK ACTION in the face of the problem.

Listen to Episode 5 here!

You can also download the .mp3 file here; simply right-click or option-click and choose “Save link as.”

In this shorter podcast, I start by talking about an article I found this some time ago via Kelly Oxford, and its original source is from a nurse who worked with terminally ill patients.

Read it here: Nurse reveals top 5 regrets of the dying

In this episode I talk about these five regrets – including “I wish I didn’t work so hard,” which really resonated for me right now!

Next, I share the 3 core takeaways I learned while on the road filming “I’m Fine, Thanks,” our documentary project about the danger of complacency and living a scripted life.

Over the last 2-3 months filming this movie I’ve realized:

  1. Complacency is an incredibly universal problem. We talked to dozens of people from all ages, races and backgrounds, and everyone had experienced it at some point in their lives. Most people experienced it multiple times. 🙂
  2. Complacency is challenging to quantify. It’s vague – there are these pop-culture phrases like “keeping up with the Jones” or whatever that dance around the idea, but there aren’t a lot of books and movies that really point to this specific issue. That’s kind of good for us – I mean, we have an opportunity to really tell this story and shine a light on this issue in a new way.
  3. Most people who combat complacency have a specific “AHA” moment. Not everyone, but many, many people we talked to – they had a moment, a very specific question or event, that led them to change their thinking and move away from complacency.

Your challenge this week:

One concept I absolutely believe in is the power of writing down what I call your V.N.S. That’s just a fancy way of saying your Very Next Step, the action you have to take next to move forward.

I want you to, first, pick your one big idea – the thing that sits in the back of your mind that you truly wish you could bring into being. And second, I want you to write down your specific, actionable Very Next Step that moves you toward that goal.

Just write it down. My very next step is: ________________________. That alone is hugely powerful, and I believe you’ll be surprised at how the action of writing it brings it about in your life.

You’ll hear my thoughts and tips on how to make this brief exercise even more powerful at the end of the podcast.

How you can help the podcast explode:

As I’ve been traveling, I’ve had the chance to listen to quite a few really great podcasts, and one thing I heard that I wanted to start in this episode was that the hosts sometimes took the time to thank the community members who had reviewed or rated the show in iTunes.

I gave a shoutout to a few special reviews so far, but mostly, I’m just thrilled with ALL the feedback, because it’s really a large part of what motivated me to really commit to my own VNS – to sit down, record my thoughts on these topics, and get this podcast published.

So thank you VERY much for that. And if you’ve listened and enjoyed any of the podcasts so far, would you consider leaving a quick, passionate review in iTunes?

Click here to view and/or subscribe inside of  iTunes!


It feels great to be back on the podcast!



12 thoughts on “Regrets of the Dying and Lessons Learned on our Film Tour — Episode 5 — Man Vs. Debt Podcast”

  1. Hey Baker,

    I haven’t seen that article mentioned in a while, but it’s nice to be reminded of it!

    I read it first about 3 months ago, and it had a hell of an impact on me – I think out of the (literally hundreds) of blog posts I have read this year, it has been the most compelling. I even wrote my own post about it.

    Do you have a transcript for your podcasts? I just don’t have time to listen to them, and never spend long enough in my car!



    1. Thanks for restarting the podcasts and for the additional reporting. I do not use iTunes because well although on a mac for years (since OS6.x), I am not fond of the “i” that came along so let’s say I still think different while big A had long abandoned that concept :\… anyway that’s a whole different story.

      Loved the Nurse’s article… and thanks for discussing it further here… great lessons that from time to time we need to remember to put things back into perspective. But don’t be sour about working hard momentarily. Just make sure you don’t dive into it ;D

      About point #3 got no problems with it myself either ;P. But all the other points in the Nurse’s article were quite common issues. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day living and forget that’s not how things should work for us, no matter how common they’ve become. Unfortunately isn’t just complacency that brings about those challenges. Even being the most frugal and tending to be as independent as one could be to be then able to dedicate one’s life to the real life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is no longer possible in the society we’ve come to live in where permissions are needed for anything and everything, where you can’t own property to provide for yourself and your family as it used to for several communities a long time ago.

      In time we ended up in a society set up in such a way that primary needs can no longer be covered in a non-dependent manner… whether because it has been made unaffordable, difficult or just impossible, the morale is that eventually everyone gets inexorably suckered in and to keep one’s head afloat is then forced to exchanging the above mentioned life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to be able live in somewhat decent conditions especially when one calls home large metropolitan areas… where, short of abandoning everything and everyone and moving to some place where one could at least grow some food and have access to clean water and some kind of safe shelter, makes it extremely difficult to “do what you love”.
      I commend you to have been able and brave to make the move you made, that alone is no small accomplishment, but I am somewhat struggling from time to time with finding ways to change things that I’ve felt are not they way I would want them to be (at least for me and in my life).
      Some I can clearly do nothing about as they are completely out of my control, but for those I could do something about the obstacles I often find in the way to do what I love are unsurmountable… so I am pushed back into slavery as many of us are. Then not to lose even more health obsessing about it, I had to learn to at least come to term with it… although I continue to research in ways to try and do what I love, which is one of the things that helps me to keep going… I fins your story inspiring and, although I haven’t been as fortunate (yet), I’ll keep trying. I wish you the best for the documentary endeavor and wish you can go back to your family soon (you’ve got to, especially being a new daddy) and stop the tour de force you and the film crew are still involved in. Best of luck to everyone, be well and be safe… some of the photos posted by Crank Tank Studio’s via FB are really quite nice, so I can’t wait to see what the documentary will look like once that talented bunch will be done sorting, slicing, dicing through the footage! 😀

      @Tom there is a warning right there in your words that something might be a little off: “I just don’t have time to listen to them”… wait you mean you can’t put aside 30 min. or 1 hour to make time to listen to something you deem worthy of doing so? Maybe try during lunch break… you do have to eat every now and then, no! 😉
      Also it’s not like I have to take a day off to listen to Adam’s pod cast… 🙂 And perhaps I am a slow reader but a transcript would take much longer for me than making just the time to listen to the short podcasts that Adam puts out… plus they flow quite well hence it’s not like I need more than the time it gets to play them to get the whole message in it. 😀 But to each its own… I hope you will eventually set aside some time for yourself on a regular basis to listen to Adam’s podcasts or simply to take a break and reflect on why is that you are so overbooked in your day… peace.

  2. Loved the Podcast, I will be doing the VNS (Very Next Step) this week and blogging about my plan of action. I must say I am always super motivated when I get a decent hit of ManVsDebt. Keep the podcasts going and the regular blog posts coming, each one I get a useful nugget of information.

    Where will the documentary be shown? I’m in the UK but am really wanting to see it.


  3. I’m buying into this ‘Very Next Step’ concept!! Eliminates all the distraction and believe me I’m easily distracted. So tonight the very next step is to start running again having just entered a marathon as the ‘VNS’ to tick one off my list. Thanks for the motivation.

  4. The complacency concept is what got me the most here. I do suffer from that, but thought that it was just me. I mean, I see people going out and doing things, and people talking about the things they’re doing to change their lives… I sorta just thought it was me who sometimes falls into complacency! Guess not…

  5. Hello Adam! I have been following you for about a year now and it has been a wild ride! LOL! I wanted to say thank you for your site and everything you are personally doing. I love that you are so “real”. You make those of us who want to follow in similar footsteps believe we really can.

    There was a part of your post today that really struck a chord with me…the section on complacency. It’s like a disease and it affects all of us, one way or another. I, too, suffer from the disease, but consider myself a recovering “complacent”. I’m “on the wagon” and can tell you that it is a daily struggle. I agree with you that there isn’t a lot out there about it. I have been contemplating starting a blog about my journey with it and how prevalent it is.

    I look forward to seeing your approach to it. I would love the opportunity to chat with you about it sometime!

    Keep up the great work! Congrats on the new baby girl!

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  7. I just read the article and it is saddening. I guess it all boils down to knowing what your priorities in life are. Happiness can only be found when you are able to put first what you hold dearest in life. Make everyday count.

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