How examining our regrets can make for a more meaningful life : Life Kit - Deepstash

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People Regret Not Taking Action

People Regret Not Taking Action

Regrets of inaction outnumber regrets of action 2:1, and it goes up as people age. That's because "action" regrets, like marrying the wrong person, can be undone, and you can think about them in terms of "at least." For example, many people who felt they married the wrong person would say, "At least I have these great kids." With regrets of inaction, that's impossible.

One big category of regrets is also boldness regrets. If only I'd taken the chance. Boldness regrets are common, but they're not the only type.

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Regrets Tend To Cluster Into Four Different Types

  • Foundation regrets: These are the regrets from not doing the work: not saving money for retirement, not getting a degree, not exercising, eating right, etc.
  • Moral regrets: Regrets in which you did the wrong thing. Bullying is an example, or choices of unkindness.
  • Connection regrets: "If only I'd reached out," is the telltale sign of a connection regret. It is the largest category of regrets, and they are about relationships — family, friendships, romantic and beyond.
  • Boldness regrets: Boldness regrets are about a chance that wasn't taken. Things like opportunities to study abroad.

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Doing Regret Right

This is a three-part strategy: inward, outward, and forward.

  • Look inward: Reframe how we think about our regrets. We speak to ourselves more cruelly than we'd speak to anyone else. Practice self-compassion.
  • Look outward: Practice disclosure. Sharing your emotions is a form of unburdening. We can make sense of regret through talking or writing.
  • Move forward: Extract a lesson from your regret. You need to create distance to help yourself process. Some ideas: Talk to yourself in the third person. Or ask yourself: what advice would I give my best friend?

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DANIEL PINK

"Our goal should not be to minimize regret. It should be to optimize it."

DANIEL PINK

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DANIEL PINK

"There's a reason we experience negative emotions. They're useful if we treat them right. Regret, you don't want to wallow in it. You don't want to ruminate over it. But if you think of it as a signal, as information, as a knock at the door, it is a powerfully transformative emotion."

DANIEL PINK

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christinsm

Yoga instructor and Fitness instructor

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