regrets and doing things differently

People often say that they have had no regrets in life. That seems rather odd to me.

I can’t think of one day in my entire life that I wouldn’t do at least a little bit differently. It is a rare day that I don’t make a mistake or wish I allocated my time differently.

So to say one has no regrets strikes me as one who does not want to improve. Wishing one did things differently does not mean one isn’t happy … it only means he strives to be better.

As we all can improve, a better question than “do you have any regrets?” would be “would trade you trade your life with anyone else in the world” (I wouldn’t)

you can be extremely happy and extremely grateful for your fortune and place in life … but still would have played out each day of life a little differently. More importantly, by looking back at how we acted in the past, we can strive to do better in the future.

3 thoughts on “regrets and doing things differently

  1. Chris Yeh

    Auren, there is a big different between “regrets” and non-optimization.
    I doubt that many would apply the term “regret” to choosing the wrong line in a supermarket. It’s simply too trivial.

    Reply
  2. Bernadette

    Auren.
    I’ve been reading your blog and I agree with you completely. It is an impossible goal to limit/control the experiences and regrets we encounter in life but we can control the AMOUNT of regret we feel by making inspiration out of those regrets and be satisfied with what we have now.I believe that without regrets, we will never be able to fully cherish life.
    On the other note: REGRET is contextual. The nature of regret is ambiguous. There is cruelty and horror and there is mistakes. Like ” I sure do regret that i dropped a bomb on Japan and kill 135679000 people”, or ” i sure do regret not buying microsoft stock in 1979″ or ” i regret not having 16 vestal virgins massaging me and 100 tons of gold in my basement.”
    I say for 90% of the people there is more regrets in romance than in business. But pleasure and pain are extricably intertwined, you cannot enjoy one without suffering the other. There are the most powerful of human feelings.The source of greatness. The only contender is fear, the source of failure. The greatest artist are primarily amongst the most miserable people to have ever lived-some exceptions are some happy fellowes that did things in a luckier way.
    I will leave you with 2 quotes I live by daily to minimize my regrets.
    An ancient Indian scripture: (For things i cannot change)
    If this how it is supposed to be,
    let it be, let it be.
    and
    Yoda in Star Wars:( for things i cannot decide upon)
    “No! Try not!.
    Do or do not. There is not try.”

    Reply
  3. Ben Casnocha

    First, I’m flattered the previous two commenters are Friends of Ben.
    Second, when I turned 18 I emailed all my friends and asked “what do you regret not doing when you were 18?” Several people responded and said “No regrets, that’s not how I lived.” I shook my head.

    Reply

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