Regrets

by Lance Ekum on · 54 comments

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“I like the dreams of the future bet­ter than the his­tory of the past.” ~ Thomas Jefferson

Regret: Pain of mind on account of some­thing done or expe­ri­enced in the past, with a wish that it had been dif­fer­ent; a look­ing back with dis­sat­is­fac­tion or with long­ing; grief; sor­row; espe­cially, a mourn­ing on account of the loss of some joy, advan­tage, or satisfaction

On my last Sun­day Thought For The Day post, I included the fol­low­ing quote:

“Twenty years from now you will be more dis­ap­pointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow­lines. Sail away from the safe har­bor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Dis­cover.” ~ Mark Twain

This sparked a lot of con­ver­sa­tion, some of which touched upon regrets.  This was a dif­fer­ent angle than I had thought about when I posted the quote.  I viewed this quote by Mark Twain as forward-looking.  Where are we going with our lives from here for­ward.  Another angle to this, though, is our past.  Our past has cre­ated who we are to this day.  We have become who we are because of all the things we’ve done or haven’t done in our life.  Or all the things that have been done to us.  The deci­sion we’ve made.  The places we’ve been.  Or haven’t.

And some of those things that have hap­pened in the past may have led to regrets.  You might say that we shouldn’t have regrets in our lives.  That we are shaped by the choices we’ve made, and that has led us to where we are.  But I ques­tion, are there not cer­tain things you may have wanted to do dif­fer­ently?  For me, that is regret.  And I don’t see that as nec­es­sar­ily bad.  It’s a learn­ing moment for us, when we can look back, learn from our past mis­takes, and move forward.

For instance, I regret not get­ting more involved in more extra cur­ric­u­lar activ­i­ties in col­lege.  I became too focused on two things — doing well aca­d­e­m­i­cally, and hav­ing fun with friends (do they really go together??).  And I missed out on devel­op­ing both new inter­ests and new friends.  Look­ing back, I wish I had tried more activ­i­ties.  So, I regret that.  But I can also learn from it.  I can take away from this that try­ing new things is a great way to get out of my com­fort zone and find new interests.

In the com­ments from Sunday’s post, Stacey Ship­man pointed me in the direc­tion of another quote that really speaks volumes.

“As you grow older, you’ll find the only things you regret are the things you didn’t do.” ~ Zachary Scott

The things we typ­i­cally regret the most are the things we didn’t do.  It leads to the point, that many regrets stem from not doing, from not tak­ing action.  And the take away on this is that in our daily lives, we should do those things which take us out of our com­fort zone, those things which bring us great joy, those things which chal­lenge us.  Even if we fail.  Our lives will be more ful­filled know­ing that we DID instead of did not.

Another recent arti­cle on this is from Jamie at Blue Duck Copy, talk­ing about what you would do dif­fer­ently if you knew you only had 30 days to live.  What would you change in your life, so you would have no regrets?  This is pow­er­ful, if you really, deeply think about it.  What changes would you make today?  Are there things in your life you would change if you knew you would only be here for one more month?  Think about it.  And then make these changes in your life.

Regret.  Whether it’s from your actions or inac­tions, things that you wish we had done dif­fer­ently.  But also things that have hap­pened in the past.  The past you can­not change.  You have this moment in time where you are at right now.  You can use your regrets as knowl­edge of where you’ve been.  And then move on.  Take each moment of your life and be fully present.  Live today, to be fully alive and con­nected with what mat­ters to you — every day.

Your future does not have to be tied to what has hap­pened in your past.  You can choose, now, how you want to live your life.  The choice is yours!  Live the life you want, going for­ward.  While you can­not change the past, and any regrets that you have from it, you can choose how to live your life today.  Choose to live the life you are pas­sion­ate about!

Lance writes sto­ries from his heart, aim­ing to inspire and moti­vate, as you align more fully with YOUR true peak. When he’s not here, you can find him hang­ing out with his fam­ily, rid­ing a bike, or just gen­er­ally act­ing goofy.   Sign up for the Thoughts from the Tree­house newslet­ter and get addi­tional inspi­ra­tion in your email inbox!
Lance Ekum
View all posts by Lance Ekum

{ 54 comments… read them below or add one }

Dave Fowler October 7, 2008 at 5:47 am

Lance, it was indeed a good discussion and you caused me to rethink my regrets. One good thing I can say is that my regrets don’t come from not having done something. I’ve always done something. My regrets come from having not followed up on what I started.

After reading and getting involved in a little discussion with you, I changed my perspective to follow your original intent for the post.

What you’re describing here is exactly what I’m going through right now. I’ve massively changed things in my life so that I don’t have any regrets in the future.

Very thought provoking. Thanks.

Dave Fowlers last blog post..Flaps. Check. Undercarriage. Check.

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Stacey / Create a Balance October 7, 2008 at 6:26 am

Lance, this post hits home. The actions I didn’t take in the past usually visit me in my dreams at night. I am learning from them. I’m reaching out to people from my past. I’m breaking through past barriers and taking action now.

Stacey / Create a Balances last blog post..Spa. Dinner. Drinks. Quiet.

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Julie October 7, 2008 at 7:15 am

Hi, Lance. My regrets have always been of not having done something. But then I learned (the hard way, of course) that indecision (my usual excuse) is really a decision, too. That was eye opening (insert wry grin).

Then I realized that every single moment begs a decision: How am I going to be/What am I going to do/Who do I want to be?

The next big breakthrough that emphasized that every-moment-is-a-decision is Jamie’s point. Wow. Does that make a difference!

And the clincher is exactly as you say, to start looking ahead from where we are right now, this very moment. Every moment IS a choice. The past is back there, to be used as a reference. We can give thanks to our experiences for leading us to where we are today, and now we can look forward to a brighter tomorrow!

Julies last blog post..I’m Becoming Someone Else

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monica October 7, 2008 at 7:29 am

“Your future does not have to be tied to what has happened in your past. You can choose, now, how you want to live your life. The choice is yours! Live the life you want, going forward. ”

This gives me some comfort. My biggest regret stems from something I DID do, that I can never take back. It took me to some very dark places, but several years ago I decided to change. I turned off who I was who did those regretful things and someone else took its place. It was almost instant… like you and Julie said, I started looking ahead from that very moment. I still deal with the regret, every day, but I try not to let it eat me alive. I’ve tried to make myself a better person for it, and I keep trying. I hope that Zachary Scott is right… that by the time older I’ll have little regret about the things I’ve done in the past. In the meantime, here’s to looking forward…

monicas last blog post..Organise a workout with your friends

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Stacey Shipman October 7, 2008 at 7:45 am

Thank you for the link!

I took a workshop last summer and we spent some time talking about guilt and worry. Worry is thinking about the future, guilt about the past. When I think regrets, I think guilt. During this workshop the instructor told us guilt is an excuse we use to stop us from moving forward. This really hit home. The past is all about learning. And I truly believe it’s never too late to start something. If there is something you wanted to do years ago, get creative and figure out how you can achieve that now! There are some things I never did, but I’m working towards those goals today, knowing that I’m still young enough to give them a go.

Stacey Shipmans last blog post..Allowing Room for “No”…From Someone Else

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BC Doan October 7, 2008 at 8:09 am

I have plenty of regrets, and one of them is that I wish I knew what I know now. Does it make any sense? However, those regrets have no hold on me, I’m with you on this: “Your future does not have to be tied to what has happened in your past. You can choose, now, how you want to live your life. “

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Urban Panther October 7, 2008 at 8:38 am

But I question, are there not certain things you may have wanted to do differently?

Well, yes. I wouldn’t have had my kids so close together, such that I could have spent more dedicated time with each of them. BUT then I wouldn’t have the exact children I have now. Perhaps I should have waited until I was older to have my children so that I wasn’t a baby raising babies. BUT then I wouldn’t have the exact children I have now NOR would I enjoy being an empty nester at 45. You see? As soon as you even contemplate having done something differently, it changes your entire life as it is now. And that I would definitely regret!

Urban Panthers last blog post..Youthful optimism

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Jamie Simmerman October 7, 2008 at 8:44 am

Hi Lance,

I’m really pleased to see this idea catching on. It has drastically changed the way I live my life!

The book is powerful. I was looking back through my copy last night, and saw all the passages I had highlighted as I read. There is a wealth of knowledge and wisdom to be gleaned from this concept. Thanks for sharing your take on regret, and for the wonderful quotes. And thanks for the mention! :)

Jamie Simmermans last blog post..The Dash

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Munchkins and Music October 7, 2008 at 11:09 am

Yes, the chioce is ours! I love the quotes. I try not to reflect back and wish I would have done something different. It is what it is. I look forward and try to live my life just like Thomas Jefferson said to do!

Munchkins and Musics last blog post..Halloween Songs for Children

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Ari Koinuma October 7, 2008 at 12:13 pm

Hey Lance,

I had heard the quote before, but as I reflected on my life, I realized how true it was. The two regrets that pop into my head are both from college — (what is it about college that have us expect a lot from it?) of not having enough fun, and not working at the radio station the college owned at the time.

I do think of many things I wished I rather didn’t, but then, I learned something from most mistakes I’ve made — so they apparently don’t linger on like those inactions do.

An interesting realization. Thanks for making me think.

ari

Ari Koinumas last blog post..The Only One Who Can Teach

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M October 7, 2008 at 12:35 pm

Regrets are so tough to overcome. What if, should, could and why are so often crossing my memory path. I choose to make every effort to learn and grow and yes hopefully something good can come moving forward. I am pondering….

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Wendi Kelly-Life's Little Inspirations October 7, 2008 at 1:04 pm

Lance, I think of my mistakes and failures as learning experiences. I haven’t really spent much time pondering the idea of regrets. I once married a man who almost killed me. I regret having done that, but I don’t regret everything that I learned and how much I grew as a person and as a woman from that experience. So…Am I really sorry? Do I really regret it?

I’m not sure.

Wendi Kelly-Life’s Little Inspirationss last blog post..Tealights and Time

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Tammy Warren October 7, 2008 at 1:58 pm

Sure life does have regrets. I have always called mine “crises.” Crises is a test of your will. You are forced to test your faith, patience, understanding, and forgiveness. Not only with yourself but with others. Crises generates change. Regrets fall into this category of “crises” for me. I look back sometimes and “wish” things could have been different for me. They weren’t. I have learned through my regrets and crises that there are blessings in disguise in the greatest of tragedies. I seek to go beyond the dark days and bad times. 20 years ago…I had none. Along the way since then yes….I love living. The key is to always keep hope alive during a crises. Look for the light and the good.

Tammy Warrens last blog post..My "wound" heart

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Davina October 7, 2008 at 2:17 pm

Hi Lance. Excellent reframe of your previous post. Isn’t it great to explore new perspectives? What a view! I enjoyed this reading and the conversation.

Davinas last blog post..Creative Luny Landing In The Sand

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Cath Lawson October 7, 2008 at 3:09 pm

Hi Lance – I hear what you’re saying. It’s fine to have regrets, so long as you’ve learned from them. And as you say, your past doesn’t have to shape your future. The trouble is, the older you get – the shorter that future seems to be. You have regrets about college. For me – college is something I vaguely remember from the very distant past.

Cath Lawsons last blog post..Be A Business Success Story, No Matter What Your Age

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Jean Browman--Cheerful Monk October 7, 2008 at 3:43 pm

I just wrote a long comment and it didn’t go through. WP-SpamFree (I think that’s what it was) says to tell you.

Jean Browman–Cheerful Monks last blog post..Creating a Sacred Space

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Jean Browman--Cheerful Monk October 7, 2008 at 3:45 pm

Try again. The very truncated comment was see http://cheerfulmonk.com/2007/09/17/living-every-every-minute/ It’s about living every, every minute, a lesson I learned from Thorton wilder when I was 12 years old. It touched me to my core.

Jean Browman–Cheerful Monks last blog post..Creating a Sacred Space

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Laurie October 7, 2008 at 4:06 pm

Regrets? This is not a good day to ask.

Looking back over my life I would do most of it differently. I made major decision-making errors. There have been times that I felt very wasted, not in the “ah she’s wasted man” drug theme but with the idea that I had a lot to give and to receive from the world and from people but I short changed myself. But I can’t change what has been. I can’t get a do-over. So I will make the biggest effort to not feel wasted in my future. I will be more intentional with the directions I take my life. I will continue to look introspectively and try to figure myself out. It’s always nice to know why we do what we do when the behavior doesn’t help us but we continue to exhibit it. So I will try to figure it all out and grow. Like I said, Not a good day to ask.

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Vered - MomGrind October 7, 2008 at 4:29 pm

Regret, just like guilt, is a waste of time. Of course, we can’t completely avoid these emotions, but I agree that it’s very important not to let it hold us back.

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Jennifer October 7, 2008 at 7:59 pm

Lance, I too have regrets from college. I wish I had spent less time studying and more time with friends. College was the single best time of my life, but I know I could have enjoyed it more if I could have figured out how to manage my time better. I had the greatest friends ever and we did spend time together, but I wish I would have spent more with them. Now, I don’t even use my degree. Was it really worth all that time I spent studying for it? The answer is no. But forward thinking…. I work to better spend my time on the things that are important. No, we can’t let it hold us back because it will. It’s certainly not worth it.

Jennifers last blog post..I’m a Star!

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Sagan October 7, 2008 at 8:17 pm

Love this discussion. We have that ability to choose what to do, and if we accept the past then we can get on with the present and make our future amazing. And regret-free!

Sagans last blog post..How about a new take on celebrities?

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Lance October 7, 2008 at 8:58 pm

@Dave – See, that’s good. You’ve done. You’ve started. Maybe something else came up at the time (think black belt) that became more of a priority. And, now with the changes you’ve made, you’re well on your way to living the life you want!

@Stacey/CreateaBalance – That’s a really positive way to look at the actions you didn’t take – to say – if I can still do something about these, I will! By re-thinking them, you’re giving them life in new and positive ways! A great example for all of us…

@Julie – Powerful thought – indecision IS a decision! In other words, we always have the ability to decide – even if it is indecision. What we have is the now. And, it’s our choice in how to use that “now”. To do and be what we desire.

@Monica – Thank you for sharing part of your story here today. While I don’t know the whole background, I do really believe that you are taking the right steps in order to move forward with the life you desire. Change can be a very hard thing, even if it’s going to take you to a better place. Taking that step was probably not easy, but at the same time, a very important step it getting you to where you are today. Here’s to looking forward…may your future be bright…

@Stacey Shipman – You’re right, with a bit of creativity, most things that we “regret” or feel guilty over – are still possible. We just need to be open in seeing how they can become possible. If it’s something we want badly enough, there is usually a way to make it happen – an important point to remember.

@BC Doan – The thing is, the older we get, the wiser we “usually” get also. It makes much sense. Although, it’s not something we have much control over… So, yes, let’s look forward to what today, and the future, hold for us!

@Urban Panther – You’ve said that so well Panther. We may regret certain things, but then, we wouldn’t be who we are today had we done things differently. And some of those things are great things (like kids – great example). And we wouldn’t change them for the world…

@Jamie – Thank you for helping to take this conversation one step further. The whole idea of what I’d do different if I had only 30 days to live – and without regret – is a powerful exercise in what really matters most in our lives. So, thank you giving this concept wings…

@Munchkins and Music – I think there are lessons we can learn from the past, but beyond that – looking to the now, or to the future – and living the life that brings the most meaning to you – is a great way to remove regret from your life – and it really sounds like you’re doing it!

@Ari – Inactions — that which we regret the most. It’s not in what we do and fail at, it’s in what we don’t do – that causes us the most heartache. Thanks for sharing a part of your life story with us. It helps me and others to realize what it is that matters most to each of us.

@Mark – What if…there is much we can ponder in these two words. And beyond pondering, we can learn and grow from our past. And move forward in the present…

@Wendi – Looking at these moments as learning experiences is a great way to move on and move forward with our lives. Wendi, it sounds like you had some hardships earlier in life (I’m really glad you’re ok). You have much strength to look at these times and see them as learning experiences. That is a testament to you, and your attitude! If we can just say – this was a mistake – and I learn from it – then we can move forward in the direction we want to go. You have, and that’s great!

@Tammy – To wish things were different in our lives – thank you, Tammy, for your honesty. I have to think most (if not all) of us have had these moments. None of us have had perfect lives. We live in an imperfect world. To be able to see that dark days can really be blessings in disguise – is a gift. And I like the thought of looking for the “light”. There is good that can come from almost anything, if we look deeply enough. Thanks so much for your insights here today Tammy.

@Davina – It is great to explore new perspectives. Sometimes a conversation ends up going in a completely different direction than you planned, and it just leads to more insight! Great stuff!

@Cath – OK, college is starting to seem a bit distant for me too! Our future may seem shorter the older we get, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still go out and tackle whatever it is we desire. I think you do…

@Jean – I”m sorry you had trouble posting. I “think” that problem should be gone now (hopefully). I just read the link you posted. Very powerful concept. Taking things for granted – how many times I’ve done that. I want to explore this whole concept more, as I can see how it can deeply affect you. Thanks so much for sharing this here. We can all learn much about what is important when we really, truly value every, every minute…

@Laurie – Some days are bad days. I’m sorry to hear you’re having one today Laurie. I can’t speak much to the past, but I know that the work you are doing now, you seem very much alive with it. To me, you are embracing the “now”. You are living out your dreams. I’m in your corner, pulling for you Laurie.

@Vered – Regret, guilt, mistakes – whatever we call it – do not help us to take steps forward, unless we can use these as lessons in our life. And learn from them. And go forward living an intentional life…

@Jennifer – Well…you’re not alone Jennifer. I don’t use my degree either! And still, college was a very formative and important time in my life. And one I wouldn’t want to give back (even though I have some regrets about it). So, maybe all the studying wasn’t worth it, but it was definitely worth it to be there (for me, and I’m guessing for you too). To spend time on what’s important to us – I like that – and that is a real key to happiness. If it’s not important, or doesn’t touch us in some special way – is it really worth our time? That can be a tough question to ask in some of the things we do (maybe for a long time). Tough, but important…

@Sagan – Very well said – “…if we accept the past then we can get on with the present and make our future amazing. And regret-free!”

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Evelyn Lim October 7, 2008 at 9:30 pm

To have regret is to live in the past. The question that keeps churning in our minds: what may have been? But the past is long gone. We can’t change anything yesterday. We can only effect changes today. Let’s not live in regret going forward, but pursue everything that makes us feel alive!

Evelyn Lims last blog post..What Enneagram Profile Type Am I?

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meleah rebeccah October 7, 2008 at 9:47 pm

“You might say that we shouldn’t have regrets in our lives. That we are shaped by the choices we’ve made, and that has led us to where we are. But I question, are there not certain things you may have wanted to do differently? For me, that is regret.”

Honestly, I do think my choices have made me who I am today, but YES there are a few things I would have liked to do differently ….

meleah rebeccahs last blog post..I Need To Know

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Audra Krell October 8, 2008 at 12:12 am

Lance, This is so encouraging. I hated college. I really didn’t know what I wanted to be, who I wanted to be or where I fit in. I decided to get an English degree, just to get by. I never used it, but was glad to have a degree in something. Fast forward 16 years and I’m now a freelance writer, using my degree every single day and loving it. Finally living with passion. I believe a lot of our regrets are redeemed, of course some never are, but it’s an adventure, the journey is so exciting to see how everything will turn out!

Audra Krells last blog post..Laptop in the Kitchen

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Rob October 8, 2008 at 12:28 am

Jeesh! I have a lot of regrets – I thought everyone did!! Usually things I regret are due to coasting through life rather than taking it by the horns. I try to change that mentality in myself every day.

Robs last blog post..5 Practical Ways To Motivate Yourself To Go Running

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Lance October 8, 2008 at 4:09 am

@Evelyn – Regret does speak of the past. I agree that it is best to try and set aside regrets, and look to the now and beyond. We can’t change the yesterdays’ of our life, but we can accept them. And I think that sometimes we must get to this point before we are ready to move on and really live.

@Meleah – Yes, the choices we’ve made – are what make us who we are today. I think all of us have some things we would do differently were we to live it over again. But it doesn’t take away from the fact that we can be happy with who we are today, and what the future holds for us!

@Audra – That’s so interesting Audra. While many people get a degree and then end up not using it, the opposite has happened for you. And there is redemption in that! The key to remember is that life is a journey – and we learn and move on. Continue to live your life with the passion you have for it!

@Rob – That’s a great point – the coasting in our lives – and how that can lead to regret. And…it is something we CAN change! Good on you for working on it everyday!

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Betsy Wuebker October 8, 2008 at 6:16 am

Hi Lance – Headed over here from Writer Dad’s last and your comment. I posted on somewhat similar train recently, citing my father’s homespun wisdom:

Never say ‘if only.’ “You must always go for it. You don’t want to look back and wish you had done something you only dreamed of doing.”

And other great advice, which I regret not taking sooner. The irony! Regret can keep us beating up on ourselves for too long, too. Attempting to live without regret makes more sense – but – you have to experience it to know.

Betsy Wuebkers last blog post..BAIL-OUT — YOUR TRAVEL BUDGET AND YOUR LIFE

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Robin October 8, 2008 at 6:49 am

Hi Lance – I used to have regrets all the time. I missed out on this in my teens… and that in my twenties…

I don’t now – ever. I know I have plenty of time, and I can allow things to happen when they do (with a little guidance from me)

Robins last blog post..Why We Want To Live

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MizFit October 8, 2008 at 7:18 am

Ive read this more than a few times and am finally outing myself as being regret free.

I just dont have any

Ive done a number of things I wouldnt wanna announce from the rooftops but that 100% make me the MizFit I am today.

and.

scene.

MizFits last blog post..Viewer mail. The Office (fridge), breakfast & freefood edition.

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Andrea Hess|Empowered Soul October 8, 2008 at 7:37 am

This was an interesting article … I have to say that I regret a few things I’ve done but have no regrets I can think of about things left undone. But when it all boils done, we do the best that we can with our choices in the present moment. Even if a choice seems “wrong” in hindsight, it was probably the best choice we could make in that moment, given who we used to be.

Blessings,
Andrea

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meleah rebeccah October 8, 2008 at 9:16 am

Agreed. In fact for my birthday I bought myself a necklace.

On one side it says:

Live The Life You Love

and on the other side it says

Love The Life You Live.

How fitting!

meleah rebeccahs last blog post..Happy Birthday … To Me

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Pink Ink October 8, 2008 at 12:26 pm

There a few things I would say I wish I’d done differently when I was younger, but at the same time I wouldn’t be who I am had I chosen to do things different. :-)

I think in the long run, everything works out for the best.

Pink Inks last blog post..Not Guilty

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Marelisa October 8, 2008 at 2:44 pm

Hi Lance: I think in a way this is also tied to the concept of forgiveness, in that you need to accept that you did the best you could in the past and you should forgive yourself for the things you passed up because you were not courageous enough, disciplined enough, or whatever at that period in time. Then simply resolve to do better in the future.

Marelisas last blog post..Three Incredibly Effective Creativity Techniques

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Brian October 8, 2008 at 3:29 pm

Lance…
I have spent much of the past year regretting the things that I had not done for years previous. As Marelisa said, I did the best that I knew. As we grow we learn better ways of coping and totally different concepts of living. I now see that the past is over and it does not matter if we liked it or not.

It seems to me that if we use our time regretting the past, we will regret it when the present becomes the past (and then we will regret it ……..).

Enough of my rambling, I just wanted to comment on a great post.

Brian

Brians last blog post..Thanks…

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Lance October 8, 2008 at 4:42 pm

@Betsy – Very wise, your father was! And what you’ve said about regret being us continuing to beat up on ourselves. At some point, we need to get to where we are no longer beating ourselves up, and take steps forward. Learn and grow…

@Robin – That’s interesting Robin. My take on what you’ve said is that we have the choice on how we react to setback or “if only’s” in our life. We do! If we let these setbacks pull us down, then they are regrets. If we look at them as opportunities to learn and grown, then they are just that – and not necessarily regrets…

@MizFit – Regret free! That doesn’t surprise me MizILiveMyLifetheWayIWantTo! Getting to that point is a big step for many. And the truth is, we are who we are because of the life we have experienced up until this point. Good to remember…

@Andrea – That’s right, we do the best we can. Sometimes we make mistakes. Sometimes we hold ourselves back. And in the end, that’s how we are shaped – from our life experiences. And going forward, we have the choice of how we want our life to unfold…

@Meleah – That necklace is a perfect fitting for living and loving life! Thanks for sharing it with us here!

@Pink Ink – It’s a theme I’m hearing over and over again. We may make some mistakes along the way – but they are also what have shaped us into the persons we are today. And we all have much to be thankful for in our lives…including the person we’ve become. And if there are things we don’t like about us, we also have the power to change ourselves going forward….

@Marelisa – Interesting, this hasn’t been brought up yet, and yes – I agree – we sometimes have to forgive ourselves before we can move on. A very important aspect to remember. Because sometimes we do screw up. And before we can move on, we need to forgive ourselves. Thanks, Marelisa – for bringing up a part of this whole equation that we haven’t really discussed – and yet a very important piece in the whole scheme of things…

@Brian – That’s it, sometimes we can only do the best that we know how. Regret can become like a vicious circle – an endless loop of failings and regret – unless we break the cycle, forgive ourselves, and move forward with conviction.

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sharon October 8, 2008 at 5:11 pm

Lance , its just very funny how life goes! Its like one will be in deep regrets , but one has to remember that you can’t grab everything at one go! Lance , you have done a big job , “not to be tied on regrets but to just forgive and let it go! l liked your past merce ups, future and regrets equation. I really enjoy being in your site!

Sharon!

sharons last blog post..The Wisdom of Reality Creation- Living In Trance

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Mike Foster October 8, 2008 at 6:47 pm

This post says so much and says is so well…thanks. My websites are all about living your life every day, striving to do all that you can do, while no allowing anything or anyone to stand in your way.
Regrets? Sure, we all have mistakes or miscue or regrets in our past that shape us and make us what we are today. But those so called regrets should be embraced as an integral part of our lives, but never, ever should that stand in the way of our present or future.
Well done.

peace,
mike
livelife365

Mike Fosters last blog post..The Secrets of Flossing

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Leanne Magraith | Forever Change October 8, 2008 at 10:14 pm

Hi Lance
I have been quite ill the last 3-4 weeks so have been laying low on the blogging front – ie posting and visiting others. I have only just caught up on your last few posts – inspiring stuff! I have certainly made some mistakes that I regretted immensely up until a few years ago. A few years ago I realised it was not doing me any good to hang on to my regrets and I let them go.

I have used my mistakes as a positive learning experience. This change in my approach has been so liberating for me, I now focus on the here and now with a bit of planning for my future thrown in for good measure.

Leanne Magraith | Forever Changes last blog post..A Story About a Major Business Restructure – Part 2 – Weird Eco Friendly Intermission

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Lance October 9, 2008 at 4:57 am

@Sharon – We have unlimited capability, but limited time and resources — yes, very true Sharon. We can only do so much. That’s a good point to remember. And, so then – it’s important that we choose what matters most to us.

@Mike – You said that so well Mike – don’t limit ourselves by our past. Our present and our future do NOT need to be predicated by what has occurred in our past. Whatever that may include…

@Leanne – Yes, it can be very freeing to just let go of any regrets you have – see them as learning experiences – and move on. The past is gone. While it was integral in creating who we are today, our past does not need to become our present or our future… I hope you’re feeling better quickly Leanne.

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Dave Jones, CPA October 9, 2008 at 8:42 am

Regrets, guilt, etc. are all negative emotions that cause stress in our lives. Yes, we are all human and are going to have many regrets as we go through life. Even now at 43, I have things I look back on and regret from just last year. The funny thing about life, I bet at 63, I’ll have things that I look back on and regret from the time as was 43 to 63. Regrets, mistakes, whatever we call them have happened and will happen in the future, the key is being able to learn from them and let go.

“……its not how hard you hit, its how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward…..” – Rocky Balboa

Dave Jones, CPAs last blog post..Dave’s Top Ten Quotes

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chris October 9, 2008 at 9:22 am

I’ve regret not pursuing my tennis career more passionately but because of the choices that I made, I ended up with a great family. I guess everything is relative. In the end it’s about moving forward not looking back.

chriss last blog post..GUT CHECK!

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Zandria October 9, 2008 at 11:35 am

Great post, Lance. You’re absolutely right — it’s okay to have regrets about certain things. I try to look at the positives that have happened in my life even when I wish I’d made a different decision, but it makes sense that recognizing the negatives will maybe help me avoid that same situation in the future.

Zandrias last blog post..I’m Going to BlogHer DC

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FitMom October 9, 2008 at 11:37 am

Focusing on living passionately daily. Finding the things in life that truly make me happy and keep me smiling is what I’m after.

FitMoms last blog post..Lean up with these healthy tips

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Bamboo Forest October 9, 2008 at 12:19 pm

The notion that one should have no regrets, to me, is simply an act of being delusional.

Particularly regrets in the realm of things that hurt others. In my opinion, it isn’t noble to try to believe in the notion of no regrets. Nobility instead, would be acknowledging what was done foolishly in the past, regretting it and then moving on.

To regret doesn’t mean to be stuck in the past. It just means you acknowledge a better choice could have been made.

Dwelling on the past, alternatively, is living in the past.

Bamboo Forests last blog post..7 Things That Happen in Movies – But Probably Not to You

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sharon October 9, 2008 at 1:39 pm

You nailed it here Lance! What you have shared resonates with me, and I also wrote about the same thing in a post titled The Power of Now. The past is history and the future is guaranteed to none of us. Someone once said ‘live each day as if it were your last’. If we did that, not only would we treat each moment as special, we would be at our peak perfomance. We would aim to do the best to our neighbours, kids and ultimately make the world a better place. Thanks for sharing, great post!

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Lance October 9, 2008 at 4:36 pm

@Dave – Thanks for sharing that great Rocky quote – it rings true with this. We will not have a perfect life – and it’s in how we handle the mistakes, regrets, low points that can define how we view our present and future…

@Chris – “In the end it’s about moving forward not looking back.” – very wise words Chris! We can’t change the past. We can learn from it and move forward.

@Zandria – That’s really a great attitude to have, focusing on the positives. By doing that, we keep ourselves positive. And, by acknowledging our negatives, we can learn and move on from them.

@FitMom – Yes! If we can all do that, then even when we make mistakes along the way (we will) – we just know that it’s a learning point for us in the life we desire!

@Bamboo Forest – I think part of it just comes from the wording. What I call regrets, someone else might call mistakes. We all have made mistakes. And some we wish we hadn’t. That might be called regret by some. Others, just see it as a mistake. In either case, you’re right – we acknowledge, learn, and move on. And there is much good that can come from going through this process…

@Sharon – There is much power in the “now”. It is all we can be sure we have. The past is behind us, and the future is not guaranteed. And, it would be a much better world, if we all took a belief that we don’t know how much time we have left on this earth – because we would likely focus more on what truly matters – what you touched upon – treating others with more respect and love.

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Grace October 10, 2008 at 6:48 pm

With any fork in the road always comes relinquishment. We cannot go both directions simultaneously, and even if we backtrack at a future date, that other fork has also changed with time.

With me it is not so much regret as wonderment. What would have happened if I’d zigged instead of zagged? Not a better or a worse path, but just an entrance into a different reality.

Thanks for getting me to think! G.

Graces last blog post..The 5 minute shift that saves brain cells

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Lance October 13, 2008 at 8:02 am

Grace, Wonderment – that’s a nice way to look at it. Because we can never know what would have happened had we chose some different path.

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Jenny October 13, 2008 at 2:36 pm

So many regrets, so little time. I believe that is how the world is living right now, people are too busy rushing from here to there that when things come up, they abstain from them and later are kicking themselves for not doing it. I’ve done this countless times and of course I have a lot of regrets, especially when it comes to past friendships and other relationships. Things have failed miserably and I have come to regret a lot of things. I know I need to work on letting go and I am, but it takes time.

Jennys last blog post..Moments

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Lance October 13, 2008 at 9:12 pm

Jenny – It does take time, but letting go of regrets and moving on can be very freeing. And in freeing ourselves from these regrets, we open ourselves up to new possibilities that lie in front of us.

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sel September 11, 2009 at 4:50 am

I am scared that i will regret going back home (AU) to live after spending so much time in the US.
I’m scared of not knowing if i have made a mistake. But i guess you have to live there in order to make such a judgement.
Im flying out next week wish me luck people.
Thank you………… :-?

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x February 16, 2010 at 12:56 am

Intelligent blog man i wish you well.

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Lance February 17, 2010 at 4:17 am

@Sel – I hope your time back at home has been filled with good moments, and that regret is something that has not crept in.

@x – Thanks much for stopping by.

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