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Don’t Regret Regret: Learning from your Mistakes

By Posted on 48 2 m read

We’ve all been there.  You wake up with the same persevered thought, cycling endlessly.  You want to throw things, kick yourself, and most of all, turn back time.  But you can’t.  This is precisely the exact moment the journalist, author, orator Kathryn Schulz explained in her TED talk, “Don’t Regret Regret.

Whether or not you’ve instantly regretted a tattoo such as Kathryn, a moment of enhanced idiocy such as myself, or anything significantly big or small in your lifetime, we’ve all shared the same self-created torture.  The first thing you should remind yourself at this time, as Schulz suggested, is that “the inability to experience regret… is characteristic of sociopath.”  In other words, if you never experienced regret, you’re more-than-likely suffering from a personality disorder.

Regret is the universal reaction of experiencing disappointment.  The most important thing is how one recovers.  The top 3 ways of overcoming regret begins with hearing similar stories.  Google your pain, and see what you find.  Sites like Secret Regrets and F My Life add to the second suggestion, which is laughing at your pain.  Anonymously add your own story or make a deep chuckle at other stories, many of which may be worse than your own.  The third is time.  It may be the first thing on your mind today, but could be long gone from your memory in 2-3 weeks, maybe 2-3 months, or an entire year depending on the situation.  The point is, you will survive it.

The number one regret many feel is relative to education, the second to career decisions and the third romance/relationships.  You’re never alone.  Once you learn to live with the regret, and choose to not beat yourself up for being human, it’ll be easier to move on.  Take this time out to learn from your mistakes.  Be thankful for your them, no matter how grave.  You live and you learn, and that’s all you can ever really do.  Apologize if necessary, do a nice gesture to ease your pain, whether it’s for yourself or someone else.  Let your anger, your embarrassment and/or your frustration be your motivation for the next step.

“Regret doesnt remind us that we did badly, it reminds us that we know we can do better.” – Kathryn Schulz.

Check out her complete lecture on the topic below, and share it around!

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