By Jaymon Meikle, Wealth Advisor
Does this time of year make you want to get everything organized for the coming year? The end of the year sometimes compels people to create checklists to wrap up and start the next year anew.
The Power of Regret
I recently had the opportunity to listen to Daniel Pink give a keynote at a conference where he reviewed his latest book The Power of Regret. Pink discussed how many well-known figures in have said things like “I regret nothing” or “I don’t believe in regrets.” Although this might seem progressive or empowering, this is not actually a good way to think about regret.
Pink went on to discuss how regret can be a powerful motivator if we stop framing regret as a negative in our minds. Regrets make us human. Regret can help us if we allow it tobe a powerful motivator to do better next time. Regret clarifies what we value. Nobody regrets something that isn’t important to them – regret revolves around what matters most to us.
The Four Types of Regret
Pink found in his studies that all regrets boil down to four basic types of regrets.
Foundational regret, which is the regret of not doing what you should’ve done over a long period of time. Such things as, “I regret not exercising more and now, I have health issues.” Foundational regrets don’t come from just a single missed opportunity, but from an accumulation over time..
Boldness regret, which is the regret of playing it safe instead of taking a risk to obtain or achieve something great. This could be anything from, “I regret not asking that person out on a date,” to “I regret not starting that company.”
Moral regret, which is when we took the easy route instead of doing the right thing, or when we made a poor decision.
Connection regret, which is when we missed the chance to make a connection with someone important to us, such as not having the relationship you wanted with a child or a parent. This type of regret could also come from delaying reaching out to someone who came across your mind because you thought they wouldn’t care, only to find out later that they passed away.
Turning Regret into a Tool
In the keynote, Pink gave five take-aways to help turn regret into a tool for the future, but I’ll let you read what those are in his book. For our purposes, I’d like to focus on what popped into your head when you read through the different types of regrets.
My bet is there was at least one, if not more, specific regrets that came to mind. Now, some of those may be ones that are in the past and that’s where they’ll stay. But what about the others? Some regrets may have even come from New Year’s resolutions that you weren’t able to see through as far as you wanted to.
So, instead of getting a list of tasks to do by the end of the year, my challenge to you is to create a list of the regrets that came to mind, then use those regrets to motivate you into action. Turn those past failures or missed opportunities into something positive on which to end your year.
I love helping our clients live their ultimate potential and limit the number of regrets they have. If you would like to talk through your goals or big dreams that you haven’t been able to see through yet, give us a call and we’ll help you come up with a plan to see them through.