No Regrets: Don’t Fear Decisions
I have done a lot of dumb things in my life, some days I am pretty amazed I lived through them. The thing is, very few of those decisions are ones I regret. Each stupid decision I made taught me something and made me a better person in one way or another. Like Mater’s dents from the movie Cars, the bad stuff that happens in life leaves a mark, but it also makes us who we are today.
My Biggest Regrets
Even though I don’t regret most of my decisions in life, there are a few that I do regret, and guess what, I even learned from those
Saying YES to Often
I might look like a big tough girl on the outside, but on the inside, I am mostly a cream puff. This has always led me to say yes to things that I knew I shouldn’t.
- The Bad – saying yes to often led me to spread myself way too thin. I learned the hard way that I cannot please all of the people all of the time. Instead of making everyone happy, I did a crappy job for all of them because I was spread so thin. That made me feel worse than saying no in the first place would have.
- The Good – I learned to grow a spine and just say no. If someone asks me something that I really don’t have time or money for, I am much better at saying NO. As a bonus to you I wrote No is a Complete Sentence. Now you can learn from my mistakes too.
Putting up with people that made me miserable
The drama llamas, the negative Nancy’s and the guilt trip gurus all made my life seem much worse than it actually was.
- The Bad – For a long time I overlooked the issues that I had with these folks just so I felt like I had people around me. These types of people filled my life and my head with all of the reasons why I couldn’t do something. They made mountains out of molehills and made me feel bad if I actually did something I wanted to do.
- The Good – When I ditched these people and started to surround myself with a more positive and supportive crowd, I started seeing life in a much better light. I felt happier and more positive. Even when I have to work with or deal with this type of person, I have learned to keep them at arms length so they don’t block my sunshine.
Hurting someone else to look cool
I think this type of thing is part of growing up, but I still feel bad about some of the things I did. My ‘friends’ laughed, but hurting someone really isn’t funny.
- The Bad – This one is pretty obvious, I hurt someone else, sometimes I hurt people I really cared about.
- The Good – I learned that being nasty to someone is never cool, even when it might seem like they deserve it. That said, this one is the biggest of my regrets and the one I wish I could have learned a different way.
What Fear of Regrets Really is.
When someone tells me they don’t want to do something because they fear that they will regret it in the long run, my first question is always “why?”. Let’s say you want to quit your job and do something else with your life. You fear in the long run you will regret it because you will have less money, retirement, security, etc. That is not a fear of regret, that is a fear of failure. 9 times out of 10 what you are really feeling is fear of failure not fear of regret.
In my post “Why You Need Failure in Your Life” I talk about how failure can help you, even if it feels crappy at the moment. A true regret is something that you won’t have for long after you make the decision, don’t put your life on hold because of fear.
Decisions, Decisions, Decisions
We make decisions every day, but some are really tough. These tough ones are the ones that usually makes us worry about regret or failure. In the post 3 Steps to Conquering Fear I talked about a 3 step process to help you conquer any fear that you may have, here is a similar process to help you make decisions.
- Learn about your options so you can make an informed decision.
- Talk it out with a trusted friend. Bouncing your thoughts off of a friend can help you clarify how you are feeling, and give you some good feedback on what you should and shouldn’t be worried about.
- Go with your gut. If you really feel one-way particular thing is the right thing, and you have done your research and found nothing to suggest otherwise, trust yourself and go for it.
- Stick with your decision. Sometimes the results of a decision are not immediate, and sometimes things might even get a little worse before they get better. Stick with your decision for a while before you abandon it so you have a chance to see how it will really work out in the long run.
Never be afraid to try. I encourage you to talk to some of your older friends and ask them what they regret in life. My bet is it won’t be what they did but rather what they didn’t do. They may have some regrets like mine where I hurt someone, or where I feel like I let someone else take up to much of my life, but most regrets are “I wish I had done…”
Don’t wish you had, DO.