Sunday, May 16, 2010

Regret Factor

I know someone who spends a significant time and energy on regrets. After making a decision, he will think of 10 other things he could have, should have, would have done. He tends to look at all options and consider all viewpoints. However, the more viewpoints you have, the harder it is to gain a solid perspective. When you have regrets, you can't move forward. Anger and frustration at oneself sets in.

I once had a friend who questioned her own judgement and it led to fear and paralysis of action in the greater schema of her life. The incident that I recall clearly is when we were ordering lunch. Once she placed her order, she questioned herself and regretted not ordering another item. I had reminded her this was one meal. There would be another meal in a few hours. Not every decision is critical to warrant the worries and stress.

I'm not here to declare I don't have regrets in life. Definitely there were some decisions made that I did not agree with, but I didn't have much control. For those decisions that are under my control, I always reminded myself that when I take an action, it's based on the information I had at the time. If you know a Stock A and Stock B are certain values, you buy Stock A with the best intentions. You don't know that 4 months from now there's going to be 15 minute DOW dive that will happen and your stocks are going to plunge. You can't regret not buying Stock B, which was untouched.

There will always be opportunities that seem better than what we have in hand. However, we have to remember why we made certain decisions and need to stand by them. Of course, if we're given the opportunity to steer into another direction, we should. We have to look at the decisions we make and see how they fit into a larger picture. You have to ask yourself what's the long term impact. A friend told me that you shouldn't make long-term decisions based on short-term situations. People make decisions based on their children ("kids are so young"), forgetting that kids grow up.

So having regrets is definitely tied into the decision making process and the ability to have confidence in yourself. And, if it doesn't work out, we have to learn how to deal with it better. Anger and frustration are a fiesty pair that lead you down a tumultuous path. You're better off not inviting them into your lives.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

wow, I literally just had this conversation with someone a few nights ago.

I said the same thing....that we we make decisions at a particular time with information that was available at that moment.