Living with regret is a choice. Chances are, there is a large number of you living with regret. If not, you know someone who is. I was once asked by a high school football coch after a playoff run that left us one game shy of state if I had any regrets. I immediately answered “no.” Judging by the look on his face that that moment, I’m quite sure my answer shocked him. I simply chose to not have regret.
Dictionary.com gives this definition of “regret theory”: a theory that says people anticipate regret if they make a wrong choice, and take this anticipation into consideration when making decisions. Fear of regret can play a large role in dissuading or motivating someone to do something.
How do we get to the point of regret? A starting point is asking “what if”. Asking “what if” is fine as oong as you look at the positive and negative side of the equation. Too many people focus on the negative side of “what if” and decide to “not.” Fine if you are considering committing a crime, not so good if you are trying to make the world a better place. If they “not” they are not vulnerable, don’t fail, and as a result, cannot be ridiculed. Pretty easy, huh? Until regret sets in and you have to live with that feeling.
Then the “if onlys” start. You hear this all the time: if only I invented ‘xyz’. If only I finished school. If only I was thinner or made more money. If only I waited to have kids, get married, waited to buy a home, etc. etc. etc. You get the point.
Too often the “what ifs” turn into “if onlys” and then you have regret. Some regrets can be avoided by exploring the “what ifs” (see example of committing crime above), but the “if onlys” are the poison that turn into regret and a loss of confidence.
Instead of wasting time with regret, choose to live a life without regret. Sure you will stand out. People may think you’re crazy. People may not like you. People my ridicule you, and you will definitley fail at some point. But you will be happier for it, and your blessings will follow…if you choose to recognize them as such.
Guess what? you might even do something remarkable.