17 methods for dealing with any of the regrets in your life!
Inspiration Thursday from TPC
We all have regrets or things we wish we had never done or done differently. Jobs that we wish we had never taken or never left or maybe the same with some relationships. A real estate investment that we wish we had never bought or stocks we wish that we had never sold or that we had sold a year ago. It can go on and on.
To not have any regrets is actually impossible because even doing nothing in the hopes that nothing will ever go wrong (omission versus commission) can be a regret in and of itself!
I found these 17 ways for dealing with regrets at a financial blog but these thoughts are really universal!
1) Ask yourself, “What am I doing TODAY?” Today is the day we care about. Where we can improve ourselves, help people. Move forwards. What are you doing today? This is a good mental discipline. When regret comes up about yesterday, ask yourself, “What am I doing TODAY?” Practice this. Then practice it again.
2) Make friends. Make sure you don’t talk about your regrets with your friends. Are your friends trying to improve their lives? You can be inspired by them and they can be inspired by you.
3) Don’t judge people. The other day I wrote about a dinner I went to. I was surprised how many people wrote me disparaging the IQ of one of the people at the dinner even though they didn’t know that person. In order to judge someone you don’t know you have to have a lot insecurity and ego. It’s hard to get rid of that insecurity. One way to do it is to never judge people. Particularly people you don’t know. That’s a good way to practice not judging yourself.
4) Honesty. Honesty can lead to wealth. Being honest also helps you avoid denial about your regrets. Stop blaming others. It’s important to realize that many things don’t work out and often; it’s your fault. I was often in denial about both of those things. They are both truths.
5) Laugh. Watch a funny movie. When I was going through a period of deep regret I watched the movie “Superbad” probably about 20 times in a row and I wish I could say I am exaggerating. That movie saved my life. Laughter reduces stress, brings you to today and helps to leave behind yesterday.
6) Deal with Failure. When I was a kid everyone told me I was a genius. Expectations were really high for me. It was extra hard for me to realize later on that I was far from it. Everyone had told my dad he was a genius also. When it came time for his regrets he couldn’t get over it. It sunk him like a bag of cement in the ocean and he never swam again. I’m always afraid to be like him. It’s ok to fail. Hey, what are you doing today?
7) Good will. Practice this: everyone you see on the street today – wish them well. Wish that they all make a lot of money and have a lot of health and that they are all having passionate sex with someone tonight. I never watched that movie “the Secret” but I imagine this is the real Secret: wish enough people good will and eventually good will happen to you.
8) Stop being brainwashed. A lot of my posts (don’t go to college, don’t own a home, abolish the Presidency) are there because I like to think in opposites. Some people write me and say, “are you just trying to be sensational?” No! I’m trying not to be brainwashed all the time. I know that with 10,000 ad and media impressions hitting my eyes every day that I am constantly being brainwashed by the Zombie Recruitment Machine. Training your mind to think in opposites helps you avoid being brainwashed. This includes reducing the number of ad impressions and media impressions you see each day. Replace that time with time with friends. Or time sitting by yourself. The more brainwashing, the more regrets.
9) Should have, could have, would have. These are never useful phrases. Even when analyzing a situation that led to a regret (and it’s important to analyze your losses). Instead of saying, “I could have done X” (a regret) say, “Next time I’m in a similar situation, I’ll do X”. If you know you’re never going to be in a similar situation then no reason to do the analysis. Historical is hysterical. What are you doing today?
10) Don’t deal with Crappy People. I don’t care if you have to see them every day. At the dance I see every girl but I don’t have to dance with every girl. Don’t dance with the crappy people. Always check yourself on each interaction – did I just dance with them? You don’t need them to like you. Who cares if crappy people like you?
11) Don’t drink. I know a girl who is filled with regrets. “Was I bad to my ex-husband?” “Did I eat too much?” “Did I miss this opportunity?” I asked her, “What did you do last night?” She tells me she hung out with people she’s constantly trashed to me in the past, she ate at the fanciest steakhouse in town, and she drank and had a hangover in the morning. I said, “can you stop doing that?” And she was honest and said, “I don’t think so.” That was one of the last times I spoke to her. I used to drink all night with her. I know what it’s like. She won’t be able to stop the regrets. People don’t usually give this as advice because it’s so built up into our culture to have a drink occasionally. Fine, have a drink occasionally. But the drug is a depressant so just limit the number of depressants you put in your body.
12) List the positives. List all the good things that came out of the moments you regret. If I had never lost all my money a decade ago I never would’ve started other businesses, this blog, I never would’ve met all the amazing people I’ve met since. I never would’ve met Claudia. I never would’ve had the relationship with my daughters I have now. I probably wouldn’t be living right by the river, in relative peace.
13) Mourn. We often regret actions we’ve done that caused us to lose things that were important to us. In most traditions, there’s a mourning period when people die and then you are told to move on. So mourn for those things that were important to you. Mourn the money you lost or the people who left you. Pray that everything works out for the best. Give yourself a time period for mourning. Then move on.
14) Look to your left and look to your right. When I was in school a common refrain used by professors was, “look to your left and look to your right. One of the people you just looked at is going to fail this class.” You can do the same here: look to your left and look to your right. Both people you just looked at have done things they later wished they could undo, have done things they deny in order to survive the pain, have done things that have cost them severely. Just acknowledging that helps you to deal with your own regrets. We’re all trying to be happy. We all have expectations that are probably too high. We all do stupid things along the way. It’s not the stupid things that make us worse people; it’s how we deal with them afterwards. What are you doing today?
15) Sorry. Say “I’m sorry” when you can. It doesn’t matter if your apology is accepted. That’s the other person’s issue. But if you say you’re sorry, you’ve at least acknowledged that you’ve made a mistake and you’re ready to move on. If you regret something you did to yourself, say you’re sorry to yourself. Accept the apology. Try to be friends again with yourself.
16) Eat What You Kill. Reduce reliance on others. Even a boss or a job. Learning how to eat what you kill will reduce the things you will later regret. It will also force you to focus on what’s going on today instead of the past. Else you don’t eat.
17) Be passionate about your work. If you aren’t, then quit. Don’t blame the recession or the job market. Those are media myths. They aren’t about you.