Let me ask you, do you have any regrets and if you do what are you going to do about them?
While most of you won’t know this, in the last 6-8 months I started to write this blog as a form of a rant towards the different people in my life. The person I am writing about always knows the entry is about them but no one else usually does. It’s my hope that my writing helps them and it’s often a great thinking experience for me. This entry is no different other than the fact, the deserving recipient of my own timely advice is none other than myself!
To start off, I have always believed one should never live with regret. Whatever you do must always begin with the question, “Will it lead you to regret?” We all must be accountable for our actions and decisions and know that a lifetime is a long time to live with the pain of the regret we may cause ourselves. I remember when my brother was going in for cancer surgery and my father wondered if he should fly out to Calgary to be with him. All I said was, “Dad are you going to regret flying out there to find out he is ok?” Then I asked, ”Will you regret it if you stay here and he is not?” He flew out that very same day.
If you think about it, regret is a funny thing because not only can you regret something you did, you can just as easily regret something you didn’t do. So if one is truly to live without regret in their life, there is a fine balance of power between, the action and inaction you may take.
For me, it’s never easy to admit fault or error especially when you know you have others who look up to you, put trust in you and hold you so dear. But its part of the process and it opens the door to forgiving yourself for the regrets you may have.
Whenever you regret something you can always catch yourself asking why. Why did you do it? Why did you let things turn out that way? You can rack your brain for hours and days trying to trace your steps and think about how you could have done things differently. You can pray for a different outcome in hopes you can reverse history and take the pain away but in the end things happen because we are all human and it’s the human in us that makes regret so real. I will be the first to admit I am not perfect. I will go even further and say I can sometimes fall well short. In my life I have made career, money, relationship and business decisions that I will always regret. However, one thing is for certain, I will never regret being who I am as I am clear that more days than not I live with brilliance, integrity and a caring compassion for changing this world.
I wish I could say why people do things that they would later regret. I honestly don’t know the answer, sometimes I am sure its greed, sometimes it may be fear and many times you may be too plain stupid to think about the magnitude of your decision. You can also regret that you don’t regret what you have done. I know for me, many ask if I ever regretted leaving Microsoft or working on my own and the answer is never. It was a choice I clearly made. Whatever your regret might be, it’s most important that you forgive yourself and allow that regret to subside so you can carry on.
I know that as soon as you start to regret anything then that alone indicates it’s already history and you can’t take it back anymore. All you can really do is carry it forward in the context of a lesson learned. How you choose to let regret shape your future is the powerful question you need to really ask. I meet so many people who live in anger and pain because of what they regret but the past is the past and always will be. However, there is nothing saying you have to stay the same course and that you must always do what you have done. As humans we are the adaptable species so we can take our new knowledge and make better decisions.
I am sure I am not the only one who has regrets for what they have done or maybe didn’t do. As smart as I might like to think I am, everyone including me, is more than capable of shooting themselves in the foot once in a while. However, when I find I am living with regret I simply remind myself to hold my head high, look to those I love and those who I may have hurt and let them know I will be smarter and wiser because of the lesson learned in my regret. I do hope they hear me, I do hope they believe me and I do hope they know I will never regret for a moment the decision I made when I invited them in to be an important part of my life.
Final Thought: Regret for something you did is tempered by time but regret for what you didn’t do is almost always inconsolable.