I have recently read David Pink’s “Power of Regret” and I fell in love with the concept of “reflect, but don’t ruminate”. David emphasises that “no regrets” is BS (his words), as regret is an emotion, just as happiness, sadness, disappointment or anger are. I am not going to review the entire book here (February in books coming soon), but there is one point that David makes inspired me to write a blog post on regret. This point is the distinction between disappointment and regret.
David states that the key difference between the two is that regret involves personal responsibility for the action or the inaction that led to the emotion. In contrast, disappointment is caused by external forces. This distinction inspired me to consider what are the top five hurtful events or circumstances in my life that I hold personal responsibility for.
I encourage you all to make similar reflection yourself, as I really feel it gave me the power to act differently in the future, hopefully to the benefit of myself and others.
Here we go.
#1 I wish I gained my current level of self-confidence and self-esteem ten years earlier.
If you met me in my adult life, you won’t believe this, but I used to be a very unconfident, self-conscious, anxious kid. In fact, I was not even able to go to any store that required the customer to request stuff from the attendant (rather than just take it from the shelf). I was scared of talking to adult people. My parents hated me for not greeting our neighbours when we met them in the staircase or people in stores when I entered them, but, for real, I was unable. By this day, I have no idea how this anxiety came about, but it was debilitating.
Today, I am living on the other extreme. If someone gave me the phone number or made an intro, I would be more than happy to call or meet the prime minister and share my thoughts about the new tax system. I am the first to speak up in business meetings, I have no problem negotiating or asking completely new people for advice or directions. A very standard dialogue for me is someone asking me “But how actually did you get ABC?” “I just asked”. I have no barriers in requesting stuff. I go by the maxim “the worst thing that can happen is that I do not get what I am asking for”.