People regret inaction more than action
- Consistently- people regret not doing. Example : people regret NOT asking out someone, rather than asking out someone.
- Actions can be undone. Inaction is harder.
Daniel H. Pink describes 4 consistent categories of regret seen across different ages and cultures.
1. Foundation Regrets
‘If only I’d done the work’
- Not taking care of health
- Not studying harder in school
- Not saving enough money
2. Boldness Regrets
If only I had taken the chance
- Asked out guy/girl
- Spoken up / spoken my mind
- Starting a business
3. Moral Regrets
If only I had done the right thing
4. Disconnection Regret
If only I had reached out
- Not connecting with an old friend/colleague
Getting over regret
You have to reframe and disclose the regret. The main way is to say
Next time - I will do X : Specific action.
For example - if struggling with boldness regret - be specific - and say next time I would be more direct and ask that person out.
The two most stand out for myself depend on the stage in life.
At university : Boldness regret. Should have taken more chances
Currently : Disconnection regret. I should reach out to more people. Act as a host.
Aim to minimise regret. You will regret inaction rather than action.
I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than regret the things I haven’t done