Avoid Failures Of Regret
November 26, 2020
In our lives, we experience two types of failures.
The first type is failures associated with results.
Imagine a game of Badminton. You are facing off against an opponent. Both of you play a tough and competitive game, and you eventually lose. This is a failure because the result did not go in your favor. You lost to your opponent because he was better on the day.
Another example. You are a salesperson competing for an order from a big client. You pitch your solution, and so does another salesperson representing a competitor in the market. After a protracted sales process, the prospective client decides to go with the other company’s solution. This is a failure because the result did not go in your favor. The client liked your competitor’s product better.
You may feel bad at losing in this first type of failure, but you don’t feel regret.
There is a second category of failures that is more sinister and can cause a lot of distress.
These are the failures of regret where you rue the choices you made and the decisions you took in the past.
- Failure of courage. You had a choice of walking out of a toxic relationship, but you held on because of fear. Looking back, you regret the lost time.
- Failure to anticipate. You left a really good job without thinking about all the possible implications for a job you now can’t stand.
- Failure to listen to your heart. You pursued the profession your parents wanted you to take up, and you became miserable.
- Failure of kindness. You dealt with a loved one with arrogance, and the relationship broke up. It is now filling you with deep regret and remorse.
- Failure of decency. You lashed out at people with no regard for how they felt, causing hurt and unhappiness in others.
In the failures of regret, there are no external frames of reference. They are entirely internal.
Deep down in your mind and heart, you know you did something you should not have done, or you did not do something you should have done. This “knowing” looking back creates a regret in your mind- a feeling of disappointment, repentance over something you did or failed to do.
There is nothing more painful than having a sense of regret at a decision or a choice that feels wrong with the benefit of hindsight.
There is no point in wasting our life regretting what we did wrong yesterday. But there is undoubtedly an opportunity to learn from the regrets to live our lives today in a manner that we don’t enter tomorrow regretting today. Regret is a powerful teacher.
So, if you come face to face with a choice or a decision to make, ask yourself this important question “Tomorrow, will I regret the action I take today, no matter what the outcome is?”
This question will help point out the right course of action and hopefully avoid a failure of regret.