No regrets … really??
Best selling author Dan Pink has turned his attention to the ‘absurd culture of No Regrets’ and he has some interesting insights to share. See https://www.danpink.com/the-power-of-regret/
There is so much scope for regret, so many opportunities for us to mess up. Be assured though, there is no such thing as a life without regrets. The only people who have no regrets are those so young that their brain is insufficiently developed, or those with such grave conditions that they cannot grasp the concept. Immature or sick brains (DP’s term, not mine).
Attempts to minimise every regret would maximise the importance of all decisions, and this could easily lead us down a rabbit hole. Our intention should be to minimise regrets in the following categories, where possible:
Foundation regrets, which relate to not doing the work or messing up early in life. You can’t fix this but you can learn from it and try to help others to not do the same (big tick!).
Boldness regrets, which are about playing it too safe and not taking chances (tick!). Inaction regrets outnumber action regrets. We are far more likely to regret not doing something than doing it and realising it wasn’t worth it.
Moral regrets are about not doing the right thing (tick!). You can fix this by ‘extracting the lesson’ not repeating the same mistakes again and repairing where possible.
Connection regrets are about not doing enough to save or maintain relationships (tick!). This is the most commonly experienced regret, and is often easily repairable. Go fix this!
So, nearly all of us have regrets. What should we do with them? The answer is to neither ruminate nor attempt to control or suppress them by pretending they don’t matter. Far better to disclose them, and use them to help both yourself and others in the future, extract the lesson, work out the function or purpose of regret (or any of the so-called ‘negative’ emotions). There’s always a message, a question, something to learn.
“These four regrets operate as a photographic negative of the good life. That is, if we understand what people regret the most, we also understand what they value the most. And so, this negative emotion of regret gives us a sense of what makes life worth living.”
Dan shared the story of a man who regretted his ‘No Regrets’ tattoo. It took longer, cost more and was more painful getting it removed. I wonder if he regretted that too? Oh there are some corkers out there! Please do google ‘no regrets tattoos’.
Thank you EP for introducing me to this – you’re an inspiration.