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Can you use regret as a compass?

 We’ve previously written about Daniel Pink’s book The Power of Regret.

Today we want to highlight some key findings of his research of over 16,000 regrets of people from cross the globe in the hope that it can help you navigate your life.

Young woman looking over a valley

From his research, he found that all regrets fall into one of four categories.

  1. Foundation regrets. Foundation regrets are “if only I had done the work” regrets.  These are regrets people have about not studying hard enough at school/university or not taking care of their health or smoking or not eating right or not saving money.  Small decisions that accumulate to bad consequences. 
  1. Boldness regrets. These are regrets that people have that say “if only I had taken the chance”.  They didn’t start a business, they didn’t ask that crush out on a date, they didn’t travel.  They had an opportunity at one point in their life to do something other than play it safe and they chose not to do it and now they regret it.
  1. Moral regrets. These are “if only I had done the right thing” regrets.  These are instances in life where people could do the right thing or the wrong thing – they do the wrong thing and it still bugs them for years down the track.
  1. Connection regrets. These are “if only I had reached out” regrets.  Instances where relationships drift apart and you think reaching out would be awkward so the rift becomes bigger and sometimes, they don’t get the chance to reconnect.

So now you know the four types of regrets people have, you can consider those as a bit of a compass as you face your daily choices (both the big and the seemingly insignificant).


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