If you had to Live Your Life over Again

If you had to Live Your Life over Again, What one Thing Would You Change?

How to Answer The Interview Question: If you had to Live Your Life over Again, What one Thing Would You Change?

Often we feel a sense of regrets over certain decisions and wish we had acted differently. Regrets don’t change much, but they could offer us the opportunity to reflect on our past experiences and decisions. Pondering on past actions is a crucial step in improving one’s life and making changes. As they say “it is not a mistake to make a mistake, but it is a great mistake to repeat it”. Therefore, realizing that you acted wrongly, or below par is the first step towards self-improvement.

This is a personal question in an interview setting and the choice of answer should be discretional, yet it has to be reasonable. You will have to open up and be more detailed about the issue and how it disappointed and let you down. The interviewer is interested in determining how you reflect on your shortcomings, whether or not you make necessary adjustments to reach your goals, and ultimately, to see if there may be any particular impediment that distracts you from your job.

We all have regrets and no single worker has completed all assigned tasks nor achieved all their goals. However, the best employees are always those who identify their shortcomings and make frantic efforts to make up for them. So while answering this question, focus on a shortcoming that has not had a significant impact on an eventual result and do not for any reason select a non-work-related shortfall. Keep it professional; Make it about education and experience. One clever way of approaching this question is to pick a missed opportunity or a key turning point. And let your response emphasize steps you took or are taking to correct the missed chance.

Factors to consider

  1. Your career path: the answer to this question depends on your profession and the industry you operate in. A medical doctor will not have the same kind of work experience as a lawyer, nor should a factory worker’s response to the question be the same as that of a security guard. Therefore, your response should not in any way include unethical or sabotaging actions even if they were unintended. For instance, if a mistake you made as a doctor has led to a loss of life, it will be very demarking to bring that up. Let your answer be on experiences and actions that can be corrected; after all, it is an interview, not a confession session.
  2. Your passion: attaching your response to your passion is a great way to share a broad-based slide of yourself that will impress the interviewer. Employers are keen on passionate employees who love what they do and strive to do it well. You may be vying for this role because of the eventual success you have made after working on that huge shortcoming that has awakened your interest in your career or job. Ask yourself: will I have been this far if not for the particular mistake? Would I have been happier if I was doing something else? Was the experience a turning point in my career or job life? Once you can coin a thoughtful response to these questions, you have found the right experience to use in answering the question.
  • Persistence and consistency: a good impression you can live from an interview is persistence. Use your answer to show the recruiters how you can persevere to achieve set goals; Let them know you will always push to get things done. Equally, use your answer to show how consistent you have been on task completion and how it has shaped your growth. For instance, you may talk about how failure in the past has made you persistent later in your career path because you resolve to find success through completing tasks which in turn results in the achievement of organizational goals. Employers are looking out for candidates who don’t give up without a fight; Creating such an impression will be an added advantage.
  1. Your team: no one can succeed in the workplace in isolation no matter how efficient and knowledgeable they may be. Make sure you acknowledge the role your team members played in your growth and accomplishments. While taking credit for your accomplishment during interviews can be a good selling point, the people you met along the career path that inspired and challenged you to be at your best equally deserve some commendation but not the glory. This may apply to a particular person or team that you were part of at a point. Incorporating your team into your answer shows how appreciative you are and how much of a team player you are.


Sample Answers

After considering all the above factors you can answer the question “if you had to live your life over again, what one thing would you change?” in the following ways:


“Thank you for that question, I realized it can be very convenient to continually look back and wish things had been different in the past. But I realize what is already in the past cannot be undone; Only things about the future can be changed. While at firm ABC I was able to work on my time consciousness with the support of my team members and deliver assign tasks timely, way ahead of the deadline to allow me to evaluate well and make adjustments before transmitting it to my supervisor. If I had been this time-efficient from the onset, I am certain my accomplishments will have been more”

Sample 2

“If I could change anything about my last role, it will be the mode of communication. The firm relies on an instant messaging application installed on all computers, and that is the medium managers use to communicate with employees. This mode of communication always leaves a lot of room for misinterpretation, and miscommunication; Which have sometimes been detrimental to operations. Even as a team leader, instant messaging has misled me once. Since then, I have learned new skills to be more ICT compliant and explored other communication mediums to respond to team members messages”

Sample 3

“I feel that if had discovered my passion sooner. It would have given me more motivation and direction on my career trajectory early enough. This way, I would have gone past this stage some time ago. I guess better late than never”                    

Mistakes to avoid

There are a couple of traps you should avoid when answering this question:

  • Do not blame or badmouth anyone for your shortcomings or perceived failures. Doing so will mean you don’t take responsibility for your actions.
  • Let your answer be devoid of any negativity.
  • Avoid talking about situations, experiences, or topics that go contrary to the culture and values of the organization you are interviewing with.
  • Ignore any incident or situation that can be misunderstood by the interviewers.



It is impossible to eliminate making mistakes in life; That is what makes us better. Preoccupying yourself with preventing or undoing mistakes will only overwhelm you. Making your answer to this question improvement-based is the way to go. Let it be that you have learned from your experiences and have overcome whatever shortcoming there was.


Interview Questions

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