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The Power of Regret – an Interview with Daniel Pink

The Power of Regret - an Interview with Daniel Pink

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Everyone has regrets. They don’t feel good but, if you can learn to understand them properly, they can actually help you to live your best life. I recently interviewed bestselling author Daniel Pink about his new book, “The Power of Regret.” Here are some of the top takeaways:

Around the world, people have the same four core regrets.

A foundation regret:

A foundation regret is that feeling of ‘if only I’d done the work.’ This regret is often experienced by people who make small decisions early in life. These choices aren’t cataclysmic on their own but, over time, they accumulate into bad outcomes. A classic foundation regret would be spending too much and saving too little.

A boldness regret:

A boldness regret is when you feel ‘if only I’d taken the chance.’ This regret is often suffered by people who are at a certain juncture in life and who now regret not traveling, not starting a business or even not asking somebody out on a date.

A moral regret:

A moral regret is feeling ‘if only I’d done the right thing.’ Sometimes in life, you’re presented with a choice and, instead of doing the right thing, you do the wrong thing instead. This type of regret often relates to marital infidelity or bullying.

A connection regret:

A connection regret is when you look back and think ‘if only I’d reached out.’ These regrets are all about relationships that have come apart, usually in slow and undramatic ways. When a relationship breaks down, people often hesitate to reconnect, fearing it will be awkward or that the other person won’t care. As more time passes, it becomes too late to take the vital step and they end up regretting their inaction.

The great news about regret is that it can be a pathway to the good life if you know how to deal with it effectively. Instead of ignoring or ruminating on the regrets you experience, you need to confront them. Reflecting on what you regret most can help you to clarify what you value, make smarter decisions and deepen your sense of meaning and purpose in life.

When you truly understand how to manage regret, it can become a compass to the good life. To learn more, listen to the latest episode of “It’s a Good Life”.

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