Who Likes Regret?

Most don’t— it feels terrible. But, is it really something that you should actively avoid?

Regret feels terrible

Many people make decisions based solely on the fact that if they do something else, or nothing at all, then they will regret it later. Starting from childhood, parents guide their children to make sure they don’t regret things they say or do.

Thomas Oppong writes in his post that you should, “Improve how you make decisions to prevent or reduce regrets.” By adopting this approach, it forces you to think about the consequences of your choices. This helps prevent you from being blindsided and will almost certainly improve the quality of your decisions. 

I was sharing Oppong’s perspective with my intern recently when he brought up something important that needs to be considered as well. He argued that people should not base their decisions solely on what will cause them the least regret. In fact, he often found that he could learn more from experiencing regret that accompanied some of his decisions.

In his opinion, limiting regret would reduce the number of learning opportunities.

Moreover, it is often better to make these mistakes and regret them and learn from them while the repercussions are less significant, like in high school or college.

During my video interview with Dean of the year, Idie Kesner of the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, she emphasized the importance of using the time in college to make mistakes and learning from them, as opposed to making mistakes in their careers.

Dean Idie Kesner - Kelley School of Business

I find that making a choice and experiencing the negative repercussions of this choice yourself can be more conducive to your personal growth than if you were to go all your life running away from things that you may regret in the future, wouldn’t you agree?

Would love to hear your reactions.