Using Regret to Your Advantage

Are you at a point in your life at which you are very content and satisfied with the way you do things in the time that you are allotted each day?

This post is for those answering both ways.  Maybe you are not.  Maybe you are.

For those of you who are not

Let’s explore some of your routine that you feel you are not satisfied with.  Imagine all the hours you have spent in your life so far dedicated to this routine. Is it truly time wasted?  Do you regret it?

Maybe it is just life calling.  What you’re doing may be meaningful, but it isn’t pleasant. Perhaps you are taking care of a loved one who is failing rapidly.  It isn’t fun.  It is a LOT of work.  It is taking away from your day, and you would love to be doing other things.

But do you regret helping this person?  My guess is that you don’t feel regret.

You shouldn’t.  It is meaningful, loving, and compassionate.  Let this fulfill you.

For those of you who are

Let’s find an area of your life which you are spending some of the 16-18 hours you are awake each day to focus on.  This area should be a place in which you are not necessarily proud, but you don’t feel that guilty either. You may have to think deeply for this to find an example, but for this post, let’s use the act of television watching.

Think about all the television you have watched (or other activity that you have come up with) in your lifetime.  If a magical genie appeared and gave you the opportunity to trade in a proportion of those hours for some other activity of your choosing, would you take the opportunity?

What activity would you choose? Learning a musical instrument? Learning a different language? Taking up a specific hobby?  Maybe you would choose something else.

How did you answer that question?  You should use this desire for trade off as motivation to build a new habit. Take advantage of that pang of regret.

2 thoughts on “Using Regret to Your Advantage

  1. I’m currently working on using my smartphone less and repurposing that time to read, think deeply about an interesting problem, or simply be present in the moment. The regret I feel about mindless smartphone use is definitely a sharp pang, and I don’t want to waste more of my life!


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